If you have ever heard that you are taller in the morning compared to any other time during the day, well it’s actually true. Our spine literally becomes longer. The discs in our spine do not receive blood flow like most other joints in our body. Instead, when we lie down at night, fluid around and in our discs increases and hydration is at its highest first thing in the morning. The increased nutrients to our discs is a good thing, but there is a negative side effect.
Normal stress that you put on your spine and discs can be magnified during that first hour in the morning. After that first hour of being up out of bed, about 90% of that hydration is lost. This is one reasons why some will complain of increased pain first thing in the morning. If you are already overloading your spine the increased hydration will add to the already stressed discs. Stressors on the ligaments are increased upon waking also. Flexion stress (bending forward) at the spine, is increased by 300% to the discs and 80% to the ligaments. With that being said, this is not the time to do things that put a lot of stress on our spine, such as heavy lifting or stretching, because you do increase your chance of an injury. If you workout first thing in the morning only include warm up activities that involve light stresses to the spine before you go heavier. Otherwise, be aware that added stresses like repetitive or sustained bending (this includes sitting) can increase your risk of injury.
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