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Stiff Back | Causes, Exercises, Prevention, and Treatments

Patients with lumbar spine arthritis and stiffness frequently have worsening symptoms. A sudden injury, such as incorrectly carrying heavy objects, usually induces a strain that can cause stiff back.

Causes of Back Stiffness

Following are the few causes of stiffness in back:

Spinal Pain & Edema

Stiffness can result from inflammation, which causes spine joints to stiffen or bind. There are two notable examples:

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis causes vertebrae to fuse slowly due to spine inflammation. The condition causes lower back stiffness and pain. Activity usually relieves stiffness, while rest doesn't. 

Hip & Knee Discomfort

Osteoarthritis damages the protective cartilage between the facet joints at the back of your spine. This causes increased joint contact when you move, which aches and stiffens them. Stiff back in the morning  improves with movement, but prolonged rest worsens it. Medication, exercise, and lifestyle modifications can treat ankylosing spondylitis and spine osteoarthritis.

Lower Back Strain

Lumbar strains cause the most back pain. Injuries to the back muscles and ligaments supporting the spinal column cause this condition. Lifting a heavy box and completing an exercise incorrectly can strain the lower back.

The following muscles can pull and support the spine:

  • Back and hip extensors.

  • Flexors are hip and abdominal muscles.

  • The obliques, or rotators, are side muscles.

Diagnostic testing is usually unnecessary until the pain and stiffness linger for more than two weeks. If so, your doctor may order an X-ray or MRI to diagnose the problem. Pain management in Dallas can help in identifying chronic pain and treat it effectively.

Bad Posture

We spend more time sitting than our bodies can tolerate. We frequently sit in vehicles, at work, and while binge-watching Netflix. Long durations of sitting stress your spine's discs, weaken your upper and lower back muscles, and prevent your spinal tissue from absorbing nutrients.  Sit with proper posture and undertake simple exercises and stretches to keep your muscles moving to minimize back discomfort and stiff lower back pain from prolonged sitting. Move your shoulders back, so your ears are above your shoulders and your arms are straight. Use the backrest sparingly in an office chair. For core workouts, sit up straight.

Why is My Back Stiff in the Morning?

Ankylosing spondylitis, an uncommon form of arthritis, causes spine discs to enlarge and irritate, causing vertebrae to fuse. Men are more likely to have this disorder, which may be hereditary. Stiff and sore lower back in morning is due to bad sleeping position and an underlying condition like arthritis.

Different Stiff Back Treatments

The American College of Physicians recommends starting low-back pain treatment with non-drug methods. Acupuncture should only be done by trained orthopedic spine specialists in ennis.

  • Cognitive behavior therapy

  • Low-level laser treatment

  • Reducing stress with mindfulness and various therapies

  • Working out strengthens muscles and prevents low back pain.


Over-the-counter analgesics like Advil (ibuprofen) and Aleve (naproxen) can relieve back pain and stiffness. If OTC painkillers and muscle relaxers don't help, a back specialist in Dallas may prescribe NSAIDs like Celebrex.

How to Exercise or Stretch Back Pain?

From knee to chest: Lay back with legs bent and head up. Pull one knee to your chest with both hands. Hold this stretch for 15–30 seconds. Put the leg back on the floor slowly, and repeat with the other. Put this leg on the floor after holding for the correct time. Finally, slowly draw both knees in toward your chest while grabbing them. Lower-back stretch.

Move Chest with Single & Double Knees

Sit on a chair edge with your leg straight out in front of you to complete a seated hamstring stretch. Bend your other leg. Lean forward to stretch your back thigh. Maintain posture. Hold the stretch for 15–30 seconds.

Sitting Hamstring Stretch

Start the cat stretching on hands and knees. Lie on the floor with your back and stomach sagging. Then slowly arch your back and draw your stomach up. Return to the beginning and repeat.

Ice or Heat Packs

Pain and stiffness can be relieved by applying a heat pack. You can reuse a rice bag, a hot water bottle, or a heat pad. Drug and sports stores sell them.  A warm bath or shower can also relax you. You can also use a pharmacy-bought ice pack or frozen peas. Switching between heat and ice several times a day or week may help. Try hot and cold packs to find which works best. Keep your skin away from heat and ice packs to avoid burning or irritation. Place a tea towel over the heat or ice pack. Read heat or ice therapy instructions carefully. Heat or ice for 15–20 minutes typically works. Spine doctors in Dallas can diagnose and treat back stiffness.

Good Posture

When sitting at home, at work, or in the car, stand up. Keeping your back in unnatural positions while working or driving might harm your spine-supporting soft muscles and slow healing. Too much time in one area is harmful for you, so move around.

When Should I See a Doctor?

Contact back pain doctors in Dallas if your lower back has been stiff for more than two weeks. Your back pain prevents you from doing normal tasks. Back stiffness is severe in the morning. You feel muscle or joint discomfort and stiffness. After receiving a diagnosis of arthritis or another illness, your symptoms are getting worse. See a spine dr in plano immediately if an accident causes back pain and stiffness and you can't move. Talk to your doctor if self-care doesn't work and/or your back discomfort interferes with daily life.

Dr. Rao K. Ali M.D.

Dr. Rao Ali, a board-certified pain management physician, leads the clinic, which specializes in nonsurgical treatment. The physician has experience in the emergency room as well as training in pain management and rehabilitation. As a personal physician, he works with each patient to develop a treatment plan that will minimize or eliminate their pain. Providing expert diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions, Pain Management In Dallas, PA provides a comprehensive range of services. These services include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain, fibromyalgia, neuropathy, complex regional pain syndrome, headaches, migraines, and many others.