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My back is stiff and it hurts after sleep. What can I do to reduce the pain? I sit in the office most of the day. I don't have an exercise program but I cycle to work.

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closed as off-topic by JohnP, rrirower, Eric Kaufman, Noumenon, FredrikD Mar 18 at 17:27

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Which part of your back? Because you have an office job my guess you're talking about lumbar spine. – maxywb Mar 17 '14 at 15:08
Yes, I think you are right. – adipro Mar 17 '14 at 22:02

4 Answers 4

I have had the same sorts of issue with my back some time ago. I really don't know what is wrong with your back, and can thus only speak from my own experience.

I have used an exercise ball at work for some years and it has helped a lot. I also have a height-adjustable desk and stand up approximately 50% of the day - I do not have a regular office chair any more! Just the exercise ball and the height-adjustable desk.

Every morning, I use 10 minutes for some (very light) core training and stretching which I also think has helped.

I have no ideas how long it will take before you will see any real difference, but I will guess that a few weeks should make some difference (at least, that is how I remember my case).

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I have had this problem for years and years, as well. I tried to strengthen my back muscles, to strecth them on a daily basis, swimming, doing yoga... And although all these techniques made me feel better (of course!), the problem was still there.

In my case, what really helped me was developing my ability to recognize the tension on a muscle or area and to release it. Easy to say, I know : )

I think there are many ways or techniques to achieve this. The point is to work on your proprioception and to learn (living it in your own body) how muscles in many situations are tense because we are tensing them, even if we are not conscious of that. Most of times it is not a physiological issue out of our control.

After several months of weekly sessions of diafreotherapy (other disciplines work on this specific purpose, as I said; not necessarily involving an emotional work) I progressively was able to realise that I had for example my shoulders blocked while walking at home. Like magic, once you feel that it is you who made that, your are plainly able to release. It was like if I had forgotten my coat on, and I just removed it. That shoulder blocking came back some minutes after, but that was a beginning.

One night on the bed just before sleeping I felt the same with my whole back and realised that it was me who automatically tensed it each time, and that I could feel comfortable without tensing my back. It took me a couple of weeks to integrate this procedure so that I directly not tensed my back as I laid. Now I only feel my back stiff in the morning some rare days.

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Make stretching part of your daily routine. Try the shrug exercise (without any weight) everyday. It can done anywhere and everywhere (even at your seat at work).

The beauty of stretching exercises is that most of them can be done randomly and anywhere, even at your seat. Not everyone has the option of seating on a ball at work; however, stretching your back (and generally your whole body) at intervals (every hour or two) will reduce stiffness in any part of your body.

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I agree. Note though that the idea with the exercise ball is the strengthen you back muzzles... – Tonny Madsen Mar 17 '14 at 14:22
I know; I use one at home from time to time. If his office policies allow him, he should do it. Of course, he might be the butt of jokes in his office :) – Kneel-Before-ZOD Mar 17 '14 at 16:39

Some people who do Yoga says morning stiffness is reduced after some years of practice.

Also perhaps Yoga/stretching late in the evening.

(The above relates to a general tendency of getting stiff during the night).

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