Stiff back in the morning?

Back problems are super common:

  • Estimates from the Australian Bureau of Statistics National Health Survey show about 3.7 million Australians have back problems in any given year.
  • Somewhere between 70–90% of people will suffer from lower back pain in some form at some point in their lives.

As an Osteopath, I work with people with all types of back issues each day, providing relief and advice about how best to manage their pain.  One of the first questions I ask is: “How does it feel in the morning when you wake up?” It’s really helpful for me in understanding someone’s back problem if they’ve been suffering with back stiffness in the morning, even if it’s minor. There are loads of reasons why this might be happening.  Your mattress, sleeping position, sedentariness, job and level of fitness all contribute.  As a general rule, a stiff back in the morning is a sign of an unhappy back.

A lot of people who end up with an acute back injury have been carrying on with a business-as-usual approach and ignoring their back stiffness for some time.  They are often very busy or stressed and feel they don’t have time to do anything about it. At the very least try to follow some of the advice I have listed below.  It might help prevent you acutely injuring your back and becoming part of the statistics listed at the start of this article.


  • Set aside some time in your day to stretch your back, not first thing, but maybe in the evening.
  • As a general guide when you are stretching your back if it feels good, it’s probably doing you good. If it feels bad, it probably isn’t.
  • Try to relax your back in these stretch positions. Slow your breathing down and deliberately try to relax your back.
  • If you don’t know where to start or things are getting worse then consult with an Osteopath.

Make an appointment today to see one of our osteopaths and discuss how we can create an individualised plan to get you back to optimum health.

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