Skip to content
Upper Back Pain After Sleeping For Several Hours...Ouch!
PetiePal posted:
Hey WebMD! I need some advice/insight. About 3 weeks ago my upper back started hurting after sleeping at night. The only thing that has recently changed is that I've been sitting in a higher than normal chair for about a month since my "cubicle" got moved into a room with a workbench counter etc. Since the pain started and I've been trying to address it I've stopped hunching forward towards my monitor and try to sit as upright as I can during the day. However my back doesn't hurt during the daytime at all.
When I go to sleep at night, anywhere from 6-8 hours I wake up in pain usually at 5am or later. If I sleep fully through the night I wake up with it hurting.
-I sleep only on my left or right side (I cannot fall asleep on my stomach or my back) -My pillows are a good neck-supporting height. One is a memory foam, the other a standard pillow -I have since bought a memory foam mattress topper thinking perhaps my mattress wasn't supporting my spine well enough -When I sleep I notice I may hunch my shoulders forward and in, like the fetal position
I have an appointment for a chiropracter consult tonight. I may see my father's spine doctor next week as I have more faith in them than a chiropracter anyways.
Anyone shed any light on this?
davedsel57 responded:

Please read through this Tip at the top of this WebMD Back Pain Community that lists the steps for getting back pain diagnosed and treated:

You do need to see a spine specialist for an accurate diagnosis before having any treatment done.

How old is your mattress? It may be time to shop for a new one.
Click on my user name or avatar picture to read my story.


jennkc responded:
I just saw your post after doing a search for upper back pain during sleep, and my experience is the same as yours. I see this was 3 years ago... did you find the cause or solution for your back pain? Mine just started happening about 2 weeks ago and for no apparent reason...
bj1208 replied to jennkc's response:
Hi JennKc - welcome to the support group -

Unfortunately this is the only posting we have from PetiePal so we do not know if this person received any comfort and/or been diagnosed by a spine specialist.

so let's try this - first things first:

Can you let us know a little more about your spine issues? How long has your pains been going on? Do you have any other back pains (even slightest pains)? Do any of your family members have back problems (parents, grandparents, siblings etc)

How old is your mattress and pillows? if these items are at least a good 5-8 yrs old you may need to look at replacing them. You can go to any store and lay on the mattress for a good 15-30 minutes or longer (believe me the stores are used to this!!). I would say getting a sleep number mattress would be best bet. One of our members, Dave - has one and has spoke very highly of his.

If your back pains have been a discomfort to you for quite a while you may consider seeing a spine specialist - either Orthopedic or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist - they may order some tests (MRI, CT Scan etc) to be done - they are the only ones that can accurately read film reports. Once they have done so, they can go over treatment options. Surgery should always be the last resort after all treatment options have failed. they may send you to a pain doc. Be sure to ask for a PHYSIATRIST Pain Specialist as they go deeper into pain management treatments than regular pain clinics.

This site will help explain what they are and what they do.

I wanted to ask if you were from the KCMO area (noted from your member name) if so let me know and I will give you my personal email address and can give you personal names for surgeons etc. (WEBMD guidelines restricts us from dong soon the board).

take care - Joy
~~ Click on my name or picture and read my story ~~
~~ Joy ~~
trs1960 replied to bj1208's response:
It's not uncommon to sleep wrong and aggravate your neck, elbows and even your spine. If I had a back with discs this is one time I might run to the chiro. I would for sure try ice and/or heat and take anti inflammatories.

Sorry for prescribing guys, but I know this post is old so my advice is just for conversations sake.


Helpful Tips

Snake Venom for Pain
By Jon Bardin October 3, 2012, 12:52 p.m. Nobody wants to be bitten by a black mamba. One of the most dangerous snakes in the world, its ... More
Was this Helpful?
1 of 7 found this helpful

Related Drug Reviews

  • Drug Name User Reviews

Report Problems With Your Medications to the FDA

FDAYou are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.

For more information, visit the Duke Health Spine Center