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Nighttime Back Pain

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Nighttime back pain is a special type of lower back pain that could indicate a serious problem with your spine.

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.

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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.

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