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Learn about your morning back stiffness, including causes and common questions. Or get a personalized analysis of your morning back stiffness from our A.I. health assistant. At Buoy, we build tools that help you know what’s wrong right now and how to get the right care.

Morning Back Stiffness Checker

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Your Morning Back Stiffness May Also be Known as:
Back stiff in morning
Back stiff when i wake up
Back stiffness in morning
Back stiffness when i wake up
Can't bend over in the morning
Can't bend over when i wake up
Morning stiffness in back

Top 10 Morning Back Stiffness Causes

  1. 1.Ankylosing Spondylitis

    Ankylosing spondylitis is a type of arthritis of the spine. It causes swelling between the vertebrae, which are the disks that make up the spine, and in the joints between the spine and pelvis.

    You should visit your primary care physician, where, based on clinical exam, blood tests, and x-ray, your doctor will likely recommend physical therapy and medications (Ibuprofen or an immune-system modifier).

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, trouble sleeping, back pain, joint pain, pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that always occur with ankylosing spondylitis:
    back pain
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  2. 2.Hepatitis a

    Hepatitis A is inflammation of the liver caused by the hepatitis A virus (HAV) and usually spreads through contact with infected blood. It can also spread through sex with an infected person and from mother to baby during childbirth.

    You do not need treatment as no specific treatment exists for Hepatitis A. You can cope with symptoms with rest, snacking for the nausea and stop drinking alcohol to give your liver a rest.

    Rarity:
    Rare
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, nausea, nausea or vomiting, loss of appetite, abdominal pain (stomach ache)
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  3. 3.Neck Sprain

    The neck is made up of 7 bones held together by muscles and ligaments. Any stretch of these muscles or ligaments causes a sprain, which will cause pain and affect your ability to move the neck.

    You can treat a neck sprain like most sprains - rest (a neck collar if necessary), ice (for 10-20 minutes at a time), pain relievers (like ibuprofen), and gentle massage.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, shoulder pain, pain in the back of the neck, difficulty moving the neck, neck pain
    Symptoms that always occur with neck sprain:
    pain in the back of the neck
    Symptoms that never occur with neck sprain:
    fever
    Urgency:
    Phone call or in-person visit
  4. 4.Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain

    A precise anatomical cause for low back pain is rarely identified. Often, the specific cause of the pain is unknown and is likely due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolonged sitting, or bad posture.

    Back pain often resolves within a few weeks. You can safely manage the pain at home with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetominophen (Tylenol).

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, back pain
    Symptoms that always occur with unexplained acute low back pain:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with unexplained acute low back pain:
    buttocks numbness, thigh numbness, involuntary defecation, fever
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment
  5. 5.Acute Viral Sinusitis

    Sinusitis is an inflammation of the sinus spaces behind the nose and cheeks. These spaces produce mucus, which drains into the nose. If the nose is swollen or if the mucus does not drain, this can block the sinuses and cause pain or infection.

    You can treat your symptoms at home using ibuprofen (for pain) and Tylenol (for a fever). Antibiotics for this diagnosis are not helpful because this is likely a viral infection.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    headache, cough, sore throat, sinusitis symptoms, muscle aches
    Symptoms that always occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    sinusitis symptoms
    Symptoms that never occur with acute viral sinusitis:
    being severely ill
    Urgency:
    Self-treatment

    Morning Back Stiffness Checker

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  6. 6.Chronic Low Back Pain of No Specific Origin

    A precise anatomical cause for low back pain can only be identified in 20 percent of cases. The rest of the time, the specific cause of the pain is unknown, and is likely due to strain on the bones and muscles of the back from heavy lifting, prolong sitting, or bad posture. Chronic low back pain is characteristic of back pain lasting longer than 12 weeks.

    For most people, back pain goes away within a few weeks. Because your back pain is lasting longer, you should make an appointment with a physician. You might find it harder to recover and might need additional treatment such as a program of back exercises. If the pain is not too severe, you can safely manage the pain at home with over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and acetominophen (Tylenol). It is also recommended to stay active and carry on with the things you usually do as much as possible, to help you recover faster. Sitting or lying still for long periods can actually make the pain worse. Your joints may become stiff which will make it harder and more painful to move your back.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, unintentional weight loss, fever, back pain that shoots to the butt, involuntary defecation
    Symptoms that always occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    lower back pain
    Symptoms that never occur with chronic low back pain of no specific origin:
    thigh numbness, buttocks numbness, lower back pain from an injury
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  7. 7.Herniated (Slipped) Disk in the Lower Back

    The backbone, or spine, is made up of 26 bones called vertebrae. In between the bones are soft disks filled with a jelly-like substance. These disks cushion the vertebrae and keep them in place. Although people talk about a slipped disk, nothing actually slips out of place. The outer shell of the disk ruptures, and the jelly-like substance bulges out. It may be pressing on a nerve, which is what causes the pain.A slipped disk is more likely to happen due to strain on the back, such as during heavy lifting, and older individuals are at higher risk.

    For treatment of a slipped disk, you should consult with your primary care physician (PCP). Your doctor will perform a thorough physical examination to localize the slipped disk and rule out dangerous complications. Most people do not require surgery for a slipped disk. Treatment involves pain relief with an over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen (Advil) and/or acetaminophen (Tylenol), using heat treatments, and keeping active. It is best to avoid sitting still for long periods. Walking or swimming may help as well.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    lower back pain, moderate back pain, back pain that shoots down the leg, back pain that gets worse when sitting, leg weakness
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  8. 8.Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow

    Ulnar Nerve Entrapment of Elbow is the compression of the ulnar nerve, causing numbness and/or weakness in the hands.

    You should visit your primary care physician. Diagnosis is made by looking at your symptoms and confirmed with a test of the nerves. Treatment depends on severity. If no weakness, splinting and physical therapy. If weakness, surgery to decompress the nerve.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    hand weakness, pain in one hand, numbness in one hand, weakness in one hand, pain in one elbow
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  9. 9.Obstructive Sleep Apnea

    Sleep apnea is a disorder in which the upper airway is obstructed during sleep, which causes poor sleep quality and frequent awakening.

    You should visit your primary care physician within a few weeks to discuss your symptoms. The physician will likely order a sleep test to confirm the diagnosis.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    fatigue, irritability, daytime sleepiness, trouble sleeping, sore throat
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor
  10. 10.Pinched Nerve in the Neck

    With age, disks separating the cervical vertebrae (which are the bones of your spine in your neck) lose height as well as lose water content, becoming stiffer. The vertebrae move closer together, and nerves that exit between these bones may be pinched, causing pain to travel down the nerve as it passes through the arm. The pain is usually sharp, and some people report a "pins and needles" sensation or even complete numbness.

    You should visit your primary care physician who will coordinate your care with a muscle and bone specialist (orthopedic surgeon). Cervical radiculopathy is treated with pain medication, soft neck collars, and physical therapy.

    Rarity:
    Common
    Top Symptoms:
    pain in one shoulder, spontaneous shoulder pain, pain that radiates down arm, pain in the back of the neck, severe shoulder pain
    Symptoms that always occur with pinched nerve in the neck:
    pain that radiates down arm
    Urgency:
    Primary care doctor

Questions Your Doctor May Ask About Morning Back Stiffness

  • Q.Is your back stiffness constant or come-and-go?
  • Q.Any fever today or during the last week?
  • Q.Do you currently smoke?
  • Q.Have you been feeling more tired than usual, lethargic or fatigued despite sleeping a normal amount?

If you've answered yes to one or more of these questions, check our morning back stiffness symptom checker.

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Morning Back Stiffness Symptom Checker Statistics

  • People who have experienced morning back stiffness have also experienced:

    • 5% Fatigue
    • 4% Bloody Vaginal Discharge
    • 3% Back Pain
  • People who have experienced morning back stiffness had symptoms persist for:

    • 29% Over a Month
    • 27% Less Than a Day
    • 21% Less Than a Week
  • People who have experienced morning back stiffness were most often matched with:

    • 9% Ankylosing Spondylitis
    • 5% Hepatitis a
    • 3% Neck Sprain
  • Source: Aggregated and anonymized results from visits to the Buoy AI health assistant (check it out by clicking on “Take Quiz”).

Morning Back Stiffness Checker

Take a quiz to find out why you’re having morning back stiffness.

Take a quiz