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causes of nighttime back pain

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I wake up in the middle of the night with lower back pain. I'll change my sleeping position and the pain goes away almost instantly, just to come back 5 minutes later. I'll change my sleeping position again, the pain goes away instantly, only to return in 5 minutes. This has been going on for over a year. What gives?

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replied December 12th, 2008
Back Pain Answer A5079
Your question involves constantly waking up during the night with back pain, and upon shifting your position, your pain is relieved, only to return a short time again.

It is generally thought that pain that comes on in the evening time can be structural, or can be an indicator that there is a sort of "subclinical" issue going on underneath. For instance, with numbness and tingling in the arms, generally referred to as "thoracic outlet syndrome", pain is much more pronounced at night time, and can cause repeated interruptions in sleep patterns.

This is thought to be because at night time, you are moving less, and your mind is generally less distracted, and focus becomes more intense on the pain. This is referred to as the "swinging gate theory" pertaining to pain.

Another possibility may be due to more serious pathology, such as a tumor, which can be related to consistent night pain.

This is definitely an issue you may wish to discuss with your physician. It may be a good idea to have an MRI along with an X-ray, or other visual diagnostics to further evaluate.

Sam Visnic NMT

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