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How Should I Sleep If My Lower Back Hurts

But My Back Hurts After Sleeping And I Need Relief Right Now

Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain Recovery

Spending money on new bedding or changing the way you sleep arent quick or easy solutions. Heres a few things you can do for immediate pain reduction:

  • Stretch your back muscles. Hamstrings, quads and hip flexors can shorten while sleeping. The simplest remedy for immediate back pain relief is good old-fashioned stretching. This WebMD video demonstrates five simple back pain stretches.
  • Take a long hot bath. The warm water will help increase circulation and is often effective in providing relief to stiff muscles.
  • No time for a bath? Use a warm compress instead. A warm damp towel can work as well or better than a hot bath. Beware, heat can make inflammation worse, so if your symptoms deteriorate, remove that heat immediately!
  • Ice in short increments. It can work well for some, but cooling can aggravate some more serious issues, so if the pain worsens, remove the ice immediately.
  • Have a partner massage the affected area. Who doesnt appreciate a good massage? Back pain or not, it generally makes life in the moment a little better.
  • Pop a few of what modern medication has to offer. Aspirin, acetaminophen, or ibuprofen can help a lot if the pain isnt too ridiculous. It should go without saying, but please follow the directions on the packaging.

Be Careful Getting In And Out Of Bed

Many back injuries are attributed to making awkward movements when doing routine things. One of the easier ways to prevent new injuries or exacerbating old ones is to be conscious of your movements. Here are a few pointers from WebMD experts on protecting your back when getting in and out of bed:

  • Dont twist your back or make rapid jerking motions.
  • Get in bed by sitting on the edge of the mattress. Supporting yourself with your hands, bend your knees, and lay on your side. Then adjust your position as needed.
  • Get out of bed by rolling on your side and bend in your knees. Supporting yourself with your hands, carefully swing your legs to the floor and stand up straight. Get up from the seated position.

Sleeping On Your Back To Reduce Lower Back Pain

First, if youre on your back, having your knees raised or elevated is a more comfortable way to sleep. It takes pressure off of the lower spine by counter rotating the pelvis.

So, if your legs are straight, the pelvis then rotates in this vicinity, or this direction, and it creates more pressure on the lower back.

You can use a pillow underneath your knees, if this elevation is enough. However, if you have severe back pain, or significant lower back pain, or even chronic lower back pain, then you would want to raise your legs higher, and have a higher pillow, or a higher knee bolster.

As the pelvis rotates in a higher position, it takes pressure off of the lower back.

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What Is Nighttime Back Pain

The majority of people with back pain are able to adjust how they sleep to get relief from the pain they experience during the day. But with nighttime back pain — also called nocturnal back pain — the hurting doesn’t stop when a person lies down, no matter what adjustments they make. For some, the pain actually gets worse. And for others, the pain doesn’t even start until they lie down.

A person can actually go through a day virtually pain-free. But then at night, they might find it nearly impossible to get a full night’s sleep.

All The Red Flags For Ominous Causes Of Back Pain

How should i sleep with lower back pain

Red flags are signs or symptoms that something medically ominous may be going on. Red flags are not reliable, and their presence is not a diagnosis. When you have some red flags, it only indicates a need to look more closely. Sometimes red flags are missing even when there really is something serious going on and sometimes they are a false alarm.21 Check off all that apply hopefully none or few or only the least alarming of them!

Some of these red flags are much less red than others, especially depending on the circumstances. For instance, weight loss is common and often the sign of successful diet! Obviously, if you know of a harmless reason why you have a red flag symptom, it isnt really a red flag . But every single actual red flag in combination with severe low back pain thats been going on for several weeks is definitely a good reason to get yourself checked out.

Most people who check off an item or two will turn out not to have an ominous cause for their low back pain. But why not check?

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Tip #: Check Your Bed Set

Next, make sure youre equipped with the proper sleeping supplies. For example, its difficult to find a pillow that properly supports your neck. Most feather pillows dont provide adequate neck support, which can cause neck soreness even if you are sleeping in the recommended side and back positions.

If you find yourself awaking with neck pain or headaches despite sleeping on your back or side, it is likely that you need a cervical pillow. A cervical pillow is specifically designed to support the natural curves of your neck while you sleep and places your neck in its desired, natural position. Cervical pillows are designed for side and back sleepers, but make it difficult to sleep on your stomach, which is an added perk to using it.

It is also important to make sure youre using the correct mattress. There is a link between the type of mattress people use and associated back pain. People who use a medium-firm mattress have less back pain compared to people who use mattresses classified as too firm or too soft.

In addition, research indicates that you should purchase a new mattress every 10 years if you want to ensure your mattress isnt the cause of your back pain. Mattresses that are 10 years old and beyond are shown to be a possible cause of back pain while you sleep.

How To Sleep Better With Lower Back Pain

Getting quality sleep is an important part of recovering from lower back pain, but sleeping well may seem like a tall task when your back hurts. While theres no guaranteed way to get better sleep, certain practical tips can help:

  • Find a supportive sleeping position. Ideally, you can sleep on your side, but regardless of the position, make sure your spine is well-aligned. If needed, use extra pillows for body support.
  • Be careful with alcohol and caffeine. Though alcohol may help you doze off, it can throw off the quality of your sleep. As a stimulant, caffeine can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep.
  • Try relaxation methods. Finding techniques to wind down can put you in the right state of mind for sleep with less focus on pain.
  • Reduce potential sleep disruptions. If you inadvertently wake up at night, pain may make it harder to get back to sleep. For that reason, try to eliminate excess noise and light from your bedroom or block them out with a sleep mask or earplugs. Set your bedroom to a temperature that will be comfortable throughout the night.

Focusing on sleep hygiene can improve your sleep habits so that you can sleep better both during and after episodes of lower back pain.

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Do Find The Best Mattress And Pillows For Your Back

Much like sleeping positions, there is not one true type of mattress or pillow that will work for everyone with lower back pain. Some people have great results from a firmer mattress while others need something a little softer to alleviate pain. Research on firm versus soft mattresses is inconclusive, however, a middle-of-the road firmness seems to work best.

Now, we all know mattresses and high-quality pillows arent exactly cheap! So dont be afraid to experiment with different ones before making a purchase. The goal to to ensure theyll help alleviate your pain each night:

How long youve had your mattress? If its been over eight years, it might be time to do some mattress shopping. Although mattresses can last a while, their materials do break down over time and lose those qualities that help support a healthy sleep position.

Look for pillows that can support sleeping on the back and on the side . There are specialized pillows that are suitable for both positions. Remember that generally you need a thinner pillow when lying on the back, and thicker pillow when lying on the side.

Look for a foam or innerspring mattress. You can even double down and add a foam mattress topper onto your innerspring mattress.

Some manufacturers offer in-home trials for mattresses so you can try them out first.

Dont Stay In One Position All Night

How To Sleep To Avoid Back And Neck Pain

You might be afraid of moving from one position to the other during the night, but its actually okay and desired to move some while sleeping. Any sleeping position, even if its a good one, can add up to too much pressure on your back if you stay there all night. Plus, theres a risk of additional pain or muscle imbalance from this.

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Alternate Sides If Youre A Side Sleeper

Some evidence suggests that habitually sleeping on one side on an ill-fitting mattress may contribute to muscle imbalance and pain. Always sleeping on the same side suspends the middle of your body between your hips and shoulders, the broadest parts of the trunk. Place a pillow between your knees as shown below to keep hips, pelvis and spine aligned.

How Do Sleeping Positions Affect Lower Back Pain

Another link between sleep and lower back pain is tied to how sleeping position affects spinal alignment. Although posture is typically associated with sitting and standing, its also critical when lying down.

A sleeping position that involves twisting, contorting, or otherwise putting pressure on the lumbar spine can cause pain and stiffness. This pain is often worse in the morning but may persist throughout the day.

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What Can I Do

Do you deal with lower back pain? Youre not alone.

The Global Burden of Disease study named lower back pain the leading cause of disability across the globe.

Whats even more interesting is that most back pain isnt caused by serious medical conditions, like cancer or arthritis. Instead, its often brought on by stress or strain from bad posture, awkward sleeping positions, and other lifestyle habits.

Here are the best sleeping positions to try if you have lower back pain, as well as some other things you can do to get a better nights rest.

If lying flat on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting over to your side:

  • Allow your right or left shoulder to make contact with the mattress, along with the rest of that side of your body.
  • Place a pillow between your knees.
  • If theres a gap between your waist and the mattress, consider using a small pillow there for added support.
  • Whether you use one pillow or opt for two, you should resist the urge to always sleep on the same side. Doing so many cause issues like muscle imbalance and even scoliosis.

    How does this position help? Sleeping on your side alone wont make you feel better. Its using the pillow between your knees thats the trick. The pillow will keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment.

    If you have a herniated disc, you may want to try sleeping on your side curled in a fetal position:

  • Lay on your back and then roll over gently onto your side.
  • Lay flat on your back.
  • When To Worry About Low Back Pain

    Low Back Pain Stretches: Should I increase my spine ...

    And when not to! Whats bark and whats bite? Checklists nd red flags and non-scary possible explanations for alarmingly back pain

    The bark of low back pain is usually much worse than its bite. The pain almost always makes it seem worse than it is. Even when its unusually severe and/or constant, it probably isnt dangerous.

    MRI and x-ray for low back pain are surprisingly unreliable,1 because things like bulging discs usually arent a big deal,2 most back pain goes away on its own,3 and trigger points are common and can be worrisomely intense but arent dangerous.4 Most patients are much better off when they feel confident about these things. The power of justified, rational confidence is a huge factor in back pain.5 Sadly, many healthcare professionals continue to perpetuate the idea of fragile backs,6 which undermines that valuable confidence.

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    When Should You See A Doctor About Lower Back Pain

    Back pain is common and often recedes quickly, but its important to talk with a doctor if:

    • The pain began with a specific injury
    • Pain continues or worsens for more than a few days
    • Pain is debilitating
    • Pain radiates to the legs or other parts of the body
    • You experience weakness or numbness in your lower body
    • There are signs of infection like redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
    • You have a personal history of cancer
    • You have other unexplained health changes like weight loss or urinary problems

    A doctor can review your symptoms and determine the appropriate next steps for testing, diagnosis, and treatment.

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    Listen To Soothing Audio

    When your lights go out and your head hits the pillow, almost all of the stimuli that have held your attention during the day dissipate, and you tend to focus more on your back pain. As you pay more attention to your back pain, your anxiety can start to risewhich in turn often makes it harder to fall asleep.

    The practice of listening to various forms of soothing audio can relieve both your anxiety and your experience of back pain by redirecting your focus away from your symptoms. Several nighttime audio options you can try include:

    • Classical music
    • Audio books intended for children
    • Relaxation podcasts

    Regardless of what kind of audio you choose to play, make sure it is free of harsh sounds or intense plot lines.

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    Sleeping On The Front With The Head Face Down

    Another reason sleeping on the front is considered bad is because the head is usually turned to one side. This twists the spine and places additional stress on the neck, shoulders, and back.

    To avoid this, try lying face down. A small but firm pillow or tightly rolled-up towel can be used to prop up the forehead, allowing room to breathe. This should be done in addition to placing a pillow under the stomach.

    To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:

  • Get into bed and roll onto their front.
  • Place a slim pillow underneath the abdomen and hips to raise the mid-p.
  • Position a pillow or rolled-up towel under the forehead to create adequate breathing space between the mouth and mattress.
  • On The Front With The Face Down

    How To Sleep On Back Without Pain | MORE PILLOWS!

    Sleeping on the front is generally unhealthy when a person turns their head to the side, twisting the spine and placing additional stress on the neck, shoulders, and back.

    To avoid this, try lying face down. To do so comfortably:

  • Get into bed and carefully roll onto the stomach.
  • Place a slim pillow beneath the abdomen and hips.
  • Position a pillow or a rolled-up towel under the forehead to create enough breathing space between the mouth and mattress.
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    The Ideal Sleep Position: On Your Back

    The best position to avoid back pain is lying flat on your back. Even so, many people find it the hardest way to enjoy deep sleep. For optimal spine alignment, place one pillow underneath your head or neck and another underneath your knees. If youre pregnant, however, you should avoid this position because it decreases blood circulation to the heart and baby.

    Your Bed And Back Pain

    Regarding the bed itself, if you are looking to start over completely, it may be important to remember that height of the bed can play an important part in preventing back pain. With beds that are too low and close to the ground, it is often that much more difficult getting out of bed in the morning, much like getting out of a low car!

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    Back pain when you sleep can be caused by a number of reasons, from your posture during the day to your bed and mattress. Finding out the cause of your back pain can help you to combat the aches that are keeping you awake or causing you pain when you wake up. Choosing a good bed and mattress for back pain can be a good start. If you know your bed and mattress are not the culprits of your bad back, looking at your posture and daytime habits is your next step.

    Have you suffered from back pain in bed? Please use the comments section below to tell us how you overcame the pain.

    Also Check: How To Stretch Out Lower Back Pain

    Do Morning Stretches In Bed

    Simple stretching exercises can relieve back pain, and there are stretches you can do before you get out of bed.

    For example, you can lie on your back and do a full-body stretch when you first wake up. For this exercise, stretch your arms and hands above your head as far as you can, with your legs and feet stretching in the opposite direction. Hold for a few seconds before releasing.

    It may also help to stretch out your lower back. To do this, you can bring your knees into your chest and hold, wrapping your arms around them. Then gently rock from side to side.

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