Back pain worse at night, spreading to rib area

please help if u can. I have been having lower back pain on and off for a long time. The last year it has gradually got worse, especially at night. I cannot sleep with the pain and meds are not touching the pain level. The pain is now spreading to my ribs. In the morning I am stiff and throughout the day the pain subsides gradually. Stretching helps. I also have ibs, painful knees and fingers. Sometimes a burning pain in my big toe at night.i suffer also from migraine and tmj. I initially thought the backache was linked to a weak bladder at night, but the pain is now bad even on urinating during the night. Thanks in advance

17 Replies

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  • You really need to speak to your GP or your Nurse Practitioner. I have severe osteoporosis with lots of spinal fractures. I have not lain down in years now...whenever I do the pain is excruciating. Can't even do it for xrays. I sleep in my recliner, not just for the pain but also for the breathing...just get breathless if I lie flat. have you tried propping yourself up a lot in bed......it is definitely worth a try! Good luck :)

  • thankyou for your reply. I appreciate your help and will book an appointment with my doctor next week. So sorry to hear that u have so much pain in your life

  • Just a word of advice...try to be really truthful with your doctor. I am from the era when we have always said we are OK so the doctor didn't know for ages just how much I suffer! Good luck:)

  • Can't emphasise this enough-if you don't complain - doctors will reckon you are ok.

    Lay it on thick for them to take you seriously.

  • thanks. I will be very honest because this is so painful I cannot sleep and it is affecting my life now. Thanks again for all your help 😊

  • thankyou. I have been researching and have found that there is something called ankylosing spondylitis which has lots of the symptoms that are inflecting me.

  • Have you been taking pain medication

  • hi, yes I have tried naproxen and codeine with paracetamol. Also hot water bottles. It seems to be bad at night and eases off during the day. I'm very stiff in the morning and need to stretch my back out on the floor. The stiffness and pain ease off later in the day

  • check out this website to try and identify if it is inflammatory or mechanical back pain. If inflammatory, then you really need to see a rheumatologist to rule out spondyloarthritis or another form of inflammatory arthritis. dontturnyourbackonit.co.uk/...

  • thankyou earthwitch. That site proved very useful and I am glad that you provided the link. It does appear to be inflammatory back pain. I appreciate your help 😊

  • well the doctor listened to me describing how the pain has got severe at night that I cannot sleep and how I have to stretch in the morning on the floor and all the other stuff I mentioned. Then he basically just prescribed more naproxen. And said see how u get on 😲

  • Unfortunately this is the iterative world of pain diagnosis... you trial and error until you find what works for you.

    If you back is worse at night, I automatically wonder whether your bed is making it worse though - like others suggest, why don't you try sleeping propped up, or in an armchair? Even try a night in a premier inn to see if a good mattress would help? Or is the pain worse regardless of where you sleep?

    Sorry if these are things you've already tried, but i thought it worth suggesting, as they are easy things to tick off your list.

  • thanks for your suggestions. I have tried different beds and mattresses. We now have a firm ortha mattress with memory foam, but maybe I can try sleeping more upright and see I that helps. I have tried lots of other positions but seem to still have a dull ache and then periods of extreme pain. The morning stiffness only eases after stretching for a good half hour. The doctor also suggested Pilates.

  • It did seem like something you'd have considered, but I figured there was no harm in asking!

    My former housemate had back issues, and visited an osteopath/physiotherapist who gave her some good stretches to do at home. Pilates is very good for your back, but you need a good instructor who can show you adapted versions that are safe for you. If you're near glasgow, I know a good place in the city centre, it teaches pilates run by physiotherapists!

  • thanks for the offer but I'm in London.! I will look into an osteopath/physiotherapist like u have suggested. Cheers for that suggestion 😊

  • I have had a bad back for 40 years and Fibromyalgia for the last 20 years, I sleep propped up in bed with pillows and a v pillow, if that does not work I get into my recliner, sleep better there than any where ! Try that, what ever, do not just suffer see your medical practioner get pain killers, if they are not strong enough do not be afraid to ask for stronger pain killers. Good luck.

  • thanks for your reply. I will take on board what u have said and appreciate your help and support 😊

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