Skip to content


    Attention All WebMD Community Members:

    These message boards are closed to posting. Please head on over to our new WebMD Message Boards to check out and participate in the great conversations taking place:

    Your new WebMD Message Boards are now open!

    Making the move is as easy as 1-2-3.

    1. Head over to this page:

    2. Choose the tag from the drop-down menu that clicks most with you (and add it to any posts you create so others can easily find and sort through posts)

    3. Start posting

    Have questions? Email us anytime at [email protected]

    pain only when lying down
    zeppelingirl6 posted:
    I have an appointment with my doctor next week, but I thought maybe you guys would have an idea...

    I've been having pain for about a year. At first it was occasional but now it is almost every night and has gotten much more severe.

    When I lay down to sleep at night I get pain in my lower spine and my pelvis/hips hurt a lot. It is like my whole pelvis that hurts. It is a very sharp pain. It hurts to just lay there, it hurts to breathe in and out, I can not get comfortable at all. It doesn't matter if I'm laying on my back, stomach, or either side. It is painful on each. It doesn't matter if I am on my bed, couch, or floor. I have no pain during the day, nothing with exercice, sitting, standing, bending, lifting, it is only with laying down. I have had a really hard time sleeping and getting restful sleep recently.

    I have tried stretching before bed. I have tried sleeping on a firm mattress. I have tried sleeping on a memory foam mattress. I have tried laying on a heating pad. I have tried having massages. Nothing seems to help except putting a pillow beneath me (beneath my lower buttocks or sometimes my lower back) and adjusting it until I can at least get comfortable enough to go to sleep (still hurts, but less).

    Does anyone have any ideas on what could be wrong? I've tried researching online, and at my library but I can not find anything about back pain while only laying down.

    Thanks for any and all help/suggestions!

    zeppelingirl6 responded:
    I guess i should add... I am a 26 yo female. I have a desk job so I sit most of the day. I exercise almost every day and usually it walking.
    Dot40324 responded:
    Hi Sarah,

    Welcome to our little family. I'm glad you have the Dr's appt because I really don't know what could be your problem. It's unusual that you only hurt when lying down. Usually if it's your spine, it hurts when walking, exercising, etc. as well as when lying down.

    If I sleep on my sides, I put a pillow between my knees. That helps keep your spine in alignment. If I sleep on my back, I put a pillow (or 2) under the bend of my knees. This too keeps the spine aligned and keeps from putting pressure on the hip and lower back area.

    Sorry I can't help you more. Please let us know what you find out. We would love to learn more about you. Feel free to jump in anytime....Dot
    hottie1957 responded:


    Porter1971 responded:
    Hey Sarah, I might just have the info you need sadly. Now mine is a side effect of my surgery, but needless to say what you are describing is exactly what I have had and still have somewhat. There is a muscle in our hips(guys/girls) called the pirformis muscle and apparently this muscle surrounds the sciatic nerve in some way. As it was explained to me the nerve runs over, under or in between the muscle.Now what happens is for whatever reason, in m case they cut around it that muscle because limp and starts rubbing against the sciatic nerve which causes you problems. I to had no pain standing or anything but as soon as I laid down it felt like my hips were cracking apart. Now if you have someone who can help you with it, you can try what my therapist did to prove this to me. I laid down on my belly and he push on my back just above the butt cheek but below the midline. While he was pressing he had me lift my leg off the table and when I did I had no pain. He then let go and had me do the same thing. I had lots pain that way. He then put the pressure on again and had me lift again and the pain went away. I said great now you just have to come to my house at bedtime and push on my back while I sleep, lol. Anyhow if its mild like mine is they just have you do exercises to strengthen the muscle and get it away from the nerve. If that fails then they have to go in and basically surgically pin your muscle up away from your sciatic. Hope this helps and if you want to know more just google pirfomis.
    Stephen1965 responded:

    Hi, I was wondering of you discovered anthing regarding this back pain issue. What you wrote describes my situation exactly. I have talked to various doctors and have got no advice. I figure that it has something to do with being a little constipated or bloated because if I can go to the washroom it does not hurt any more. I

    micknmeresmom responded:

    I have had the same problem for over 5 years now. I have had multiple steroid injections and just underwent radiofrequencing 3 weeks ago. Sadly, it was not all that effective. What did you find out about your case? I am searching for anything that may help me. I have not had a good night sleep in 5 years. Please let me know. Thank you.

    Danielle4910 responded:
    I see that this post is from 3 years ago, but I hope you will still see this! I had this same problem that you are describing exept in a different part of my body. When I was 20, the pain you are describing was in my upper back for about 6 months and then went away as mysteriously as it came. About a year later, same pain only this time it was in my chest. That lasted for about 1 1/2- 2 years. Then, about 2 years later, I started having the same pain in my mid back and ribs. That pain is still going on and has been bothering me for the last 2 1/2 years. All of these pains where similar in that they only occur after lying down for a while. The pain is so severe it hurts to breath and no position is comfortable. I have to get up and move around to eliviate the pain. The pain gets better with activity. I researched like you are doing and found nothing. I promised myself once I had an answer, I would search for forums of people with these symptoms and let them know what I found. I have been to Drs, physical therapy, homeopathic, chiropractors, etc. I have had x rays, mri, and ct scan. Finally, after 8 years I have an answer. I'm not sure if this is the same thing you have, but an very sure it is possible, expecially given your age. I have Ankylosing Spondylitis. Google this disease and you will find much info on it. It is an auto immune disease and form of arthritis that occurs in young people typically being diagnosed at age 15-30. It occurs with rest and makes you feel very stiff. It mainly affects the spine. It can affect the lower, mid and upper back. The ribs, neck, sholders, hips and heels. Patterns are different in everyone. I'm not SURE this is what you have, but you should see a Rheumotologist and have them do blood work and check for the HLAB27 gene. Mention Ankylosing Spondylitis to them and see what happens. I hope this is help to you! I know how miserable the pain you are having is and sympothize for you!
    diskit replied to Danielle4910's response:

    hey danielle...i have almost similar symptoms. i am 37,male. pain started in upper back and shoulders almost a year back while standing for some work...chest felt tight like i have a large bandage around it preventing it from expanding. pain only in upper back...and when i lie down for more than 15 minutes...there is no pain when i am lying down...but the pain is there when i get up and move my arms...its then that i can feel the stiffness and the long as i stay lying down , i can turn, toss do whatever...there is no pain or negligible pain....its only on moving after lying down. i have also had the chest the sternum. i have trouble pulling in a deep seems to get stuck halfway through and if i try too hard i feel a pull in my left and right upper back. hla b 27 positive. once in three to four months eye inflammation. doctors have suspected ankylosing spondylitis. out of 10 docs i have been to 5 have said AS, and five said "let's see". also have pain on the lower side of the heel (the one that contacts ground). i think i have it...and just pray that it does not become severe. how are you now? any loss of mobility...any updates? any more elaboration of condition?
    Trinity007 replied to diskit's response:
    OMG, Diskit and Danielle, I have the same issues. I am 37 years old. I started having severe lower back pain about 3 years ago. If I lay flat on my back for more than 5 mins, the pain is so intense when I try to move. I also, have bouts of eye inflammation. The condition is called episcleritis. It is one of the secondary conditions of AS.I have steroid drops for eye. 3 weeks ago, I was unable to sleep for a week and 1/2. My chest would ache so bad at night that I could not sleep. It literally felt like something was pushing down on my chest. I had a stress test and echo done and the results were fine. My back continues to hurt and now my hips have started to hurt.I am having an MRI of my hips and L-3 - S4 tomorrow. As for mobility, I am a runner and it has been severely limited of late. I am going to fine a rhuematologist to ASAP. Thank You both for sharing.
    somesleep replied to Trinity007's response:
    I can relate to Sarah. I hope things have gotten better for you and if so please let me know what you did. I am 48 and work out and train very hard 5 days a week but 6 months ago I have been waking with back pains after about 4 to 5 hours of sleep. I only lay on my stomach or side so I try to adjust the pillows under my stomach till it is tollerable. I have the pain like I ran 5 miles too fast and have a cramp from it on each side. It is between just above my hip boneto where my ribs end in the back. I was thinking maybe it is an organ? I am very healthy and no health or weight issues. Could this be age? Porter 1971 I did try that pressure test and felt it on one side so maybe this is the same thing. Very frustrating.
    bj1208 replied to somesleep's response:
    hi somesleep and welcome to the support group -

    one of the worst things you can do is sleep on your stomach - it puts way too much pressure on your back - believe me I know - I used to be a stomach sleeper til I blew out my disc (you can click on my name or pic and read my story)

    since my disc blew and I had surgery there is no way I can even be on my stomach - I really hate when I have to get a shot as even with a pillow under my stomach it still hurts real bad.

    it's best to sleep on your sides or back - put a pillow between your knees when sleeping on your side and draw your legs up a little - under your knees when sleepin your on back - this takes some of the pressure off and keeps your spine more straight - sleeping on your stomach, even with a pillow under you belly, does not keep the spine straight -

    also, if you mattress if 5-8 years old it may be time to get a new one.

    you should go see your primary care physician and have him/her examine you - may even take an x-ray to see if anything shows up - going to see an Orthopedic Spine Specialist or Neurosurgeon Spine Specialist (does not mean u need surgery) but they are the best at reading film results and they are great at letting your know what the best treatment options are -

    I hope this helps - please keep us posted - take care - Joy
    wendyrx replied to Trinity007's response:
    The symptoms you mention in this post that you were getting an MRI about 9 mos ago... the low back pain after lying on your back for even 5 mins.. I have that. Same with my hips... sometimes I'll wake up to our 1 yr old son who co-sleeps with us.. and it'll hurt SO bad I can't turn to him or sit up.. I end up having to wake my husband to pull me up.. and then it takes at least a half an hour for it to subside enough to even lift our son onto my lap..
    ANYHOW... did you get your MRI? And what did they say... I can't find anything about this particular problem anywhere as of yet.. You're the first I've found to describe my problem so closely..
    I pray you get this and answer me.. its been going on for 2-3 yrs but its been particularly bad since over the last yr & a half..(while I was pregnant, then kept getting worse after...) my dr only did an xray bcs I also had foot drop when I went to see him.. (which turned out to be unrelated to my back, and went away after about 6 wks)... and according to him, my vertebra all looked fine.. except my L5 seems to think its part of my sacrum.. ie: it isn't mobile apparently... but he didn't really explain what this meant.. and kind of blew off the whole back issue since the foot drop i went in for ended up being from pressure on a nerve in my lower leg from the way I sit at my computer for extended periods.
    Sorry to go on & on... just trying to think of everything involved, so I can see just how similar your pain & mine are.

    Mostly it sounds like the severe pain on lying down, particularly on my back, for even short periods.. also i when i bend even slightly, like leaning over to change our son.. by halfway thru the changing- my lower back, (and sometimes what i call my dishwashing muscles in my back-right around bottom of shoulderblades/bra strap area) will be so intense & unbearable that I have to squat or sit down to finish his diaper change. And even then the pain is pretty severe.

    I hope I've described this adequately.. also if anyone else sees this and has the same pain.. PLEASE reply, or post!!! ALSO, I am far from overweight- exactly the opposite.. I'm currently more than 20 lbs below my normal weight.. EVEN though I had a baby just over a year ago... and I have next to no appetite either. If I think of anything else, I'll post again..

    Also depression and anxiety with panic attacks & agoraphobia are major, though, I think unrelated, issues.

    Thank you to anyone who can give me ANY input!
    wendyrx replied to wendyrx's response:
    OH also I'm 38 yrs old! Sorry.. probably should have mentioned that.

    Helpful Tips

    Making the Most of Your Doctor Visit #2Expert
    Here are the rest of the suggestions (had to break into to two parts due to the character limits) 5. Make sure that all records ... More
    Was this Helpful?
    39 of 54 found this helpful

    Helpful Resources

    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