Authentic Life Advice For Why Your Lower Back Hurts When You Lay Down

Feb 13, 2023

I’Ve Been There, Burning Lower Back Pain When I Try To Get Some Rest. It’S The Type Of Pain I Wouldn’T Wish On My Worst Enemy. As A Gonstead Chiropractor And A Patient I’Ve Delt With It Myself And Helped Hundreds Of People Overcome Back Pain When Laying Down.


As a Gonstead chiropractor I hear this question come up repeatedly. I’ve also lived through it myself. When I was 16 years old I had the worst lower back pain of my life. I didn’t know where to look for help and I wish someone had told me this back then. You may not realize that the structure of the body directly effects how the body functions. Structural shifts of the spine can lead to a variety of issues that cause people to have back pain when they lay down.



Lets start with some basics. The spinal column is made up of 24 moveable vertebrae. They allow for proper movement like bending, twisting and any athletic movement. This movement also helps to maintain the discs that act as spacers between the bones. Since the discs are ligaments they have very little blood flow so they stay healthy with proper movement. When the discs are compressed they push toxins out and when they stretch healthy fluid and nutrients are pulled into them. This process is called imbibition. When the discs are healthy there is more than enough space for the nerves to travel through without causing obstruction. The ability for the spinal column to protect the integrity of the nerve system is paramount for the bodies ability to heal and function.


Having vertebrae that move have both benefits and drawbacks. The benefit of them being moveable is that we are able to enjoy our hobbies, but the drawback is that they are susceptible to shifting out of proper alignment. As stress is placed on the spinal column these bones can shift and get stuck. And when vertebrae are stuck out of proper alignment the discs are not able to stay healthy. If they are unable to pump toxins out and pull healthy nutrients and fluid back in, the discs degenerate.
People commonly refer to this situation as having a slipped disc. A spinal disc never slips though, it’s the bone that shifts due to a disc injury. The most common disc injuries are a disc bulge or herniation. About 50% of disc herniations are asymptomatic meaning people do not even realize that they have them.


Lets take an example of a disc injury and the symptoms of a (lower back) L4-L5 disc bulge. It would be very common for someone to experience symptoms that include: lower back pain & muscle spasms. The nerves also travel down the legs so other symptoms might include pain, numbness or tingling traveling down the back of the leg and even into the foot. Not only that but the nerves from this area also travel to vital organs like the bladder, bowel and reproductive organs.


One of my favorite quotes is from the Father of Medicine Hippocrates, “Look well to the spine for the cause of disease”. The ancient Greeks understood the importance of maintaining the spinal column & spinal cord… they understood that the spinal cord is the lifeline of the body.


The function of the nerve system is to act as the roadways for communication between the brain and the body. Different nerves travel to every cell and tissue in the body so a patient will experience different symptoms all dependent on which nerve is injured. Many people first realize that they have a disc injury when they experience back pain while lying down.


When the spine has shifted away from a normal structural alignment it can cause neurological stress. Basically, the inflammation caused by the disc injury obstructs the nerve, preventing it from functioning properly. A person may experience a variety of symptoms depending on what nerve is obstructed and where that nerve travels to. This can include back pain while laying down.
Since the body is always trying to protect itself you can have muscle spasms that are trying to pull the bone back into place so the nerve can heal and the symptoms will resolve. The muscle spasms are the bodies way to casting and splinting the spine so that it does not continue to injure the nerve.
Pain is a sign that there is something wrong so you should listen to your body. If you are experiencing back pain while lying down don’t ignore it. Just like anything else in life, if we do not maintain something (like a car) it will continue to get worse and worse until it needs to be replaced. Find a Gonstead chiropractor near you who can take care of your spine before it becomes a bigger problem.