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Upper-mid Back Pain Only After Sleeping

For about 6 weeks I have been experiencing mid back pain when I wake up in the morning.  The pain is so bad, I cannot go back to sleep, and NO position change helps.  I must get out of bed and start walking around or sit in a chair for the pain to start going away.  After an hour or two, the pain basically disappears.  The pain seems to be emanating from my spine, and tensing up the back muscles nearest the spine.  

I have been seeing a chiropractor/massage therapist for about 4 weeks now, and it has not helped, because the pain is only after I sleep!

I am 23 years old. I help my dad deliver produce 2 times a week in the morning, and I am also a full time sales associate at Sears selling electronics (which I'm on my feet all day.)  That may cause a little lower back pain, but it goes away when I'm not working.

I have used a contour pillow, slept in all different kinds of positions (back and both sides), I always sleep with a full body pillow, and nothing has seemed to help.

I would appreciate any suggestions, thanks!
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Avatar universal
My back pain started as sciatica-like.  For years I dealt with it no big deal.  This particular pain went from: 1)causing me no less sleep, just waking up with pain to 2) waking up an hour or two early to 3) only being able to lie down for a couple hours before pain started and woke me.  From beginning to end about three months.  Then 3.5 years at level 3.

Anyone want to offer life style specifics?  

  At the time this started for me I worked, standing and walking on unpadded concrete floor for up to 15 a day, 4 times a week.  Very similar to the retail job mentioned in the first post.
  I'm 5'10", 220lbs.  Overweight, but morbidly obese.  Doctor does not think it's a factor.
  During the time of the pain I've gone from extremely out of shape, to fairly fit, and back again.  No changes.  No major weight changes either.


  Has anyone tired massage yet?
  Sounds like I don't need to bother with sleeping pills, and better if I don't.

thanks,
Spec
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Avatar universal
Hello Again,
   I really hope that the Rheumatologist can help. I did ask my family Doc. yesterday if we had checked those blood levels and we had w/o significant findings. I am going to repeat the blood tests today. I am getting more anxious as the pain in last two months or so, has begun to be a daytime problem as well. It is what I prayed would not happen. The nights were bad enough but at least the pain subsided when I sat up/got up. My neck and tailbone are also both chronically sore now from the years of sitting upright at night. I am seeing a chiropractor again as, even though she can't seem to help the initial pain site (thoracic area) she does help with the referred pain. I do recommend that.
    It is interesting that both of you have such similar symptoms yet Spectrum's came on gradually. I'd be interested in hearing how Edelweiss's began. I was in Europe with my daughter and awoke from sleep with terrible pain(I have had both labor pain and multiple kidney stones so I know)as I thought someone had snuck in and put a knife in my spine. I have had 4-5 nights without pain since. That was 4 yrs. ago in Dec..The only possible injury was slinging a "too heavy" bag over my shoulder running to catch a train or something (nothing I noticed at the time). The only other question was, whether or not it was a result of a virus, which I had at that time) with a very high fever.
    There is a good article in Women's Health this month in regards to Chronic pain and the fact that sometimes the nerve does not "shut off" long after the injury has healed. At least this would account for the fact that nothing shows on MRI's, X-Rays, CAT scans, Bone Scans etc., etc.. The hope was that the nerve blocks that I had would work "like shutting down and restarting your computer". One worked for 4 days, the next one 2 (they won't repeat them). Some people get as much as 6 mos. relief, so it may be worth talking to you Dr.s about.
Best Wishes, Hurts
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Avatar universal
Sorry I realized you did say how it came on (gradually). Let's hope it starts to leave the same way!
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Avatar universal
It is really amazing that there are so many people experiencing the exact same pain under the same conditions, yet the solution is still a mystery.  I typed "pain mid-back morning" into the search engine which brought me to this site.  I am a 53 year old male of average size and weight.  In my case, the excruciating pain every morning between my shoulder blades and mid-spine area started about 3 months.  It usually starts around 4 A.M.  Sometimes it is so bad that the only way for me to cope with the pain is to get up walk around for an hour.  There is no position change in bed or sitting that helps relieve this pain.  (Sound familiar??) The pain disipates as the day goes on.  By mid-day, the pain is a dull ache in my back.  Lately this dull ache has stayed with me until bed time.  Like many of you, I dread going to sleep because I know I'll wake up in excruciating pain.  Ambien doesn't help me sleep through the pain.  Pain killers like oxycodone (percocet, etc.) provide only minimal relief. Unfortunately I have a very high tolerance to narcotic pain killers.  One 10 mg oxycodone to me is no stronger than an extra strenth tylenol.  

My situation is a little different than others and MAY SHED SOME LIGHT for some -or maybe suggest something to look into.  

About 1 and a half years ago, my lumbar spine was in pretty bad shape and I needed surgery.  As of a year ago I still had not had the back surgery and another serious problem occurred.  I tore the labrums and rotator cuffs in both shoulder joint sockets as a result of incorrect weight lifting....I know...it was stupid to do this with my lower back the way it was......don't ask :(  

I had 3 low-back disks fused about 5 months ago and have recovered fairly well from this through physical therapy.  But just prior to my back surgery as luck would have it, the torn structures in both my shoulders started causing me significant upper arm pain 24/7.  This got significantly worse over time and is now so bad that I can't find a comfortable sleeping position except for sleeping on my back.  That is not ideal for me because: (1) I can usually fall aslepp only if I am sleeping on either side, and (2) I know my mid-back pain will start a few hours after I fall asleep on my back.

I have 5 different types of doctors: an orthopedic shoulder surgeon, an orthopedic spine surgeon, an internist, a pain management specialist (anesthesiologist) and a chiropractor.  They all suggest THE SAME THING....Specifically that my mid-back pain is a result referred pain of my torn labrum and rotator cuffs in both shoulders.  Apparently there is a major nerve coming from your shoulders to your mid-spine.  

I've had recent MRIs of both shoulders and my entire spine (lumbar, thoracic and cervical).  The MRIs confirm the torn labrum and rotator cuffs in both shoulders.  They show that my lumbar spine has healed nicely and my titanium hardware is firmly in place.  They also show degenerative spine disease and arthritis at all levels of my spine that are common in a person my age and with my medical history.  (Fortunately I live in Arizona, so snow shoveling is not a problem!)

I will eventually have surgery on both shoulders (one at a time!).  But timing it right with work and life is a challenge.  For now, I am having Nerve Blocks on both shoulders this Monday.  If this works, then I will have radio ablation therapy on both shoulders.  For those who may not know about this, it is a procedure that "shocks" the nerve enough to stop it from transmitting the pain impulses.  Or I may go straight to the shoulder surgeries.  Either way, I will report the success of the Nerve Blocks next week.    

I apologize for writing such a long entry.  I hope it will help someone.
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Avatar universal
SAME EXACT pain started app. 3 months ago.  2-3 hrs into sleep, pain wakes me up at which point I have to sit or stand, walk around until it goes away.  I've discovered that if I use two pillows, I can sleep through the night so that the pain doesn't wake me up.  It is still present in the morning, but not as bad as it would be if I slept in a regular, horizontal position with only one pillow, which is how I slept all my life.  Sleeping on 2 pillows helps the thoracic area, but my lower back is suffering as a result.  Recent X-rays show no signs of problems.  Chiropractor didn't help.  He thought it was a pinched nerve.  Haven't yet tried PT even though I have been referred by an orthopedic surgeon.  She thinks it is a twisted ligament or tendon since the pain doesn't radiate elsewhere.  In the morning, I can even feel the pain when swallowing as the food passes through that area.  

I am almost 31 yrs old, 6ft, 200 lbs.  No specific injury that might have caused it.  I have a desk job, although I do stand up often and walk around the office.  I play occasional table tennis.  Talk on the cell phone a lot, w/o headphones, often I will feel the pressure in the shoulder area from this, which soon disappears after a long talk.  

Someone mentioned a virus.  I did have a strong case of strep throat, which coincided with the problem.  I'm not sure if the bacteria had anything to do with causing this.  

I get the sense that from reading all your comments, any PT, MRI, etc., might not help.  I've started thinking of perhaps trying acupuncture or s/thing similar.  I'm not sure what.  I will continue posting and updating as I will continue to look for solutions.  
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Avatar universal
I am having the EXACT same problem.  I find that my pain is the worst when I lay on my back.  I can ususally get an extra hours sleep by moving to my side.

I have not yet seen the huge number of doctors that you all have.  Only GPs so far who seem to expect it to go away by itself.  

The only additional symptom I have is an odd peeling of one fingertip that never heals.  This has led me to think that the issue is likely nerve related.

I will be watching this thread closely to see if anyone has any progress, and will let you know if I learn anything myself!
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