In the U.S., between 60% and 80% of the population experiences some form of low back pain. It's the second most common reason people see their doctor. But as debilitating as back pain can be, most instances of it are manageable, and people who get adequate rest and proper exercise often see improvement within a matter of weeks.
As many as 40% of people will get sciatica, or irritation of the sciatic nerve, at some point in their life. This nerve comes from either side of the lower spine and travels through the pelvis and buttocks. Then the nerve passes along the back of each upper leg before it divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet.
Anything that puts pressure on or irritates this nerve can cause pain that shoots down the back of one buttock or thigh. The sensation of pain can vary widely. Sciatica may...
With nighttime back pain, however, people can't get the rest they need because they can't get relief from their pain.
What Is Nighttime Back Pain?
The majority of people with back pain are able to adjust how they sleep to get relief from the pain they experience during the day. But with nighttime back pain -- also called nocturnal back pain -- the hurting doesn't stop when a person lies down, no matter what adjustments he or she makes. For some, the pain actually gets worse. And for others, the pain doesn't even start until they lie down.
A person can actually go through a day virtually pain-free. But then at night, he or she might find it nearly impossible to get a full night's sleep. In one study -- published in the journal Spine in 2005 -- 44% of people seen at a back pain clinic in the U.K. complained of pain at night. And 42% of those people said the pain was present every night. Some study participants reported being awakened as often as six times a night; the average length of continuous sleep for people with nocturnal pain was less than five hours.