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Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down?

Asking yourself "why does my back hurt when I lay down" is a common question with many possible answers.  Less serious cases can be caused by muscle injury, tightness, or strain.  On the more serious side, back pain when laying down can point towards herniated or ruptured discs causing spinal nerve damage.  Being that muscle pain could be the case, in this article, I will be giving you some tips and tricks on how to fix this annoying problem.

Why does my back hurt when I lay down 

  Quadratus Lumborum - One potential source of low back pain caused by muscles


Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down - Quadratus Lumborum:

Studies show, increased bed rest will not provide any benefit to back injury, in fact laying down for extended periods of time can further injure the affected area.  When in pain, laying down may feel like the correct thing to do, however, not treating the area initially will only prolong the recovery time.  In the meantime, it is important to stay active and in tune with daily routines.

If you have general aches and pain in your lower back, built-up muscle tension is most likely a culprit.  When evaluating pain patterns and asking yourself "why does my back hurt when I lay down", it is important to examine your Quadratus Lumborum muscle. The Quadratus Lumborum (QL) muscle is a deep, 4-sided lower back muscle that has a tendency to develop trigger points and cause pain in the lower back [1].  Treating and relieving pain in the Quadratus Lumborum can be done through a three-step process of massaging, stretching, and strengthening.


Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down - 

Step 1: Massaging

Massaging the Quadratus Lumborum is the first and most important step.  Finding the correct spot to massage typically means finding the section of the muscle that is the tightest.  Next, break up the tight area in the muscle with a proper tool.  Typically, a foam roller or tennis ball is used for this step.  However, if you'd like to be more precise with finding the trigger point and digging deeper into the muscle, the QL Claw is the tool for you. 

Why does my back hurt when I lay down

The QL Claw device was designed specifically around the exact problem of releasing tension in your Quadratus Lumborum muscle.  A video on how to use this device can be found here - Quadratus Lumborum Release.  Check out our Testimonial page on how the QL Claw has positively impacted the lives of high-level athletes, trainers, and physical therapists.



Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down - 

Step 2: Stretching

If you constantly ask yourself "Why does my back hurt when I lay down?", a good follow-up question should be "When was the last time I stretched?". 

Expanding the tight tissue deep within your Quadratus Lumborum muscle will help relieve stiffness while giving back mobility to the muscle.  For the QL muscle specifically, I have attached a step-by-step tutorial video on the most soothing and in my eyes effective QL stretches out there.  In the video are two different stretches and I recommend doing whichever is more comfortable for you.  


Why Does My Back Hurt When I Lay Down -

Step 3: Strengthening

Strengthening the Quadratus Lumborum muscle and surrounding spinal muscles will act as a bulletproofing agent for future low back pain.  Keeping a stable midsection will help prevent your back from hurting when you lay down in the future.  Simple weekly exercises can make your lower back go from weak and tight to healthy and sturdy.  Exercises that target the QL muscles, as well as spinal muscles, can be found in the video below.  


More Content On Low Back Health:

If you want to further your back strengthening/stretching journey and want more exercises and proper coaching, check out my strengthening and stretching programs below. 

Back of Steel - Lower Back Strengthening Program

Flexible Back 2.0 - Lower Back Flexibility Program




[1] Donnelly, Joseph M. Travell, Simons & Simons Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction: the Trigger Point Manual. 3rd ed., Wolters Kluwer Health, 2019.

[2] Davies, Clair, and Amber Davies. The Trigger Point Therapy Workbook: Your Self-Treatment Guide for Pain Relief. 3rd ed., New Harbinger Publications, Inc., 2013.



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