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Why is Your Back Stiff?

By Sara Butler

Sometimes you just wake up with a stiff back. You may think it’s due to sleeping wrong or because you slept in a strange bed -- which could be true -- but it’s likely caused by a condition you may not even be aware of. You need to be aware of the signs and symptoms that can help you and your chiropractor determine if there’s something brewing under the surface that could be contributing to your stiff back.

What Causes Back Stiffness?

Stiffness in the muscles of the back can be caused by a few different things. The most common is an injury that leads to the development of symptoms. These include:

  • Lumbar strain – Back stiffness is often caused by this condition that often occurs as a result of injury to the ligaments and muscles that support the spine. You may or may not know the event that started it, but the symptoms can be quite severe.
  • Arthritis – Arthritis in the back is caused by the wearing out of the joints of the bones in your back. As arthritis worsens with age, discs and cartilage in the spine become less mobile. That leads straight to a stiff back, making stooping, twisting, and bending difficult.

What You Can Do

The treatment of these conditions differs, which is why it’s important to get properly diagnosed by your chiropractor prior to any treatment. But in general, there are a few things you can do at home to try to deal with the stiffness and associated pain you may be experiencing until you get to the chiropractor for proper diagnosis.

You can:

  • Rest – When your chiropractor tells you to rest, it doesn’t mean to lie in bed for several days. That can make the symptoms worse. What you can do is lighten your activity load and avoid lifting or twisting. Remember that light exercise and activity is often very helpful in the treatment of back problems.
  • Apply ice and heat – Ice and heat are simple but effective treatments for back stiffness and pain. Gently heating the muscles and ligaments surrounding the spine can help to relieve some of the tension, and icing it can help to reduce pain. Don’t put heat on an acute injury in the first 24 to the 48 hours.
  • Stretches – Gentle stretching can be very helpful to alleviate your symptoms. Speak with your chiropractor about a simple stretching program to help bring you relief.

Don’t put up with back stiffness or brush it off, it could be due to a larger problem that needs the attention of your chiropractor!

To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Houston, Tex.

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