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Matt asked...

I wake up every morning with lower backache.

I wake up every morning with lower back ache / pain which gradually wears off once I get up.

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The answer

The number of questions on back pain today proves what a common problem it is. While the vast majority of people with back pain don’t have a serious underlying cause, it is important to get your symptoms checked out by a doctor if they’re severe, persistent or getting worse. You should always seek medical help if you have pain in the spine connected to your ribcage (rather than your neck or low back), pain in your legs worse than your back pain or pain not relieved by lying still. Or pain connected with a recent fall or other injury, weakness in your legs, numbness around your bottom, having had cancer or osteoporosis in the past, feeling generally unwell, fever or losing weight, or new problems with your waterworks or bowels. Poor posture is a common cause of non specific back pain, and lying on your front with your neck bent round can contribute to this. If you work at a desk, make sure you face the desk or computer screen fully, rather than having it at an angle, and keep your knees at the same level as your hips and your feet flat on the floor. If you use a keyboard, your forearms should be horizontal and your elbows at right angles. When you’re lifting, bend from the knees, not the spine; keep your back straight and the load in front of you; hold weights close to your body; and never lift and twist at the same time. If you’re working in the garden, take regular (at least hourly) breaks to stretch, especially if you’ve been hunched over a flower bed; alternate jobs that use different muscle groups, like weeding, mowing and pruning; and don’t be tempted to lift heavy weights by yourself. Much better to make several trips with smaller loads.

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