Tips To Sleep Better With Low Back Pain
Not getting enough sleep, or getting poor quality sleep, generally makes you more sensitive to body pain. Quality sleep helps reduce lower back pain, and having a good mattress, adopting stretches, as well as knowing which sleeping positions to be in can help you cope with lower back pain. Bear in mind that these tips might be more temporary fixes that will help you manage your lower back pain before you eliminate the true root cause.
Other Rules For Low Back Pain Relief While You Sleep
- Sleep with only one pillow under your head. Sometimes we see an increase in pain symptoms with more than one due to the neck flexion that occurs, which can ultimately put a painful stretch on the paraspinal muscles, he explains.
- Sleep on a middle-of-the-road mattress. Sleeping on an extremely soft mattress won’t help with alignment, while extremely hard mattresses may be so uncomfortable you dont sleep well, Giordano says. Find a happy mediummaybe one that leans more toward the firmer side.
- Do everything you can to get better sleep. Better sleep can mean less back pain. Ideally, we want the most undisturbed sleep in order to get into deep sleep to help with hormone release, anabolic state and muscle repair, Giordano says. That means following the usual sleep hygiene rules about making sure your room is cool and dark, closing down screens 30 minutes before bedtime, and keeping pets out of the bed . When they move around, they disturb your sleep, leaving you less refreshed.
Dont Force Yourself To Sleep
Still cant sleep? Dont just lie in bed and let your anxiety mount. Instead, get up and go do something that wont be too stimulating in another room until you feel drowsy.
Lying in bed forcing yourself to get to sleep makes things worse, says Molin. Changing this one routine can help your chances of sleeping more consistently through the night, even with ongoing back pain.
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Alternative Treatments For Back Pain Relief
No two people experience back pain and sleep problems in the exact same way, so its worth exploring a variety of techniques until you figure out what works best for you. You dont have to only treat your back pain before you sleep either.
Other ways to relieve lower back pain include:
- Using a heating pad or electric blanket
- Massaging area with ointment that includes cayenne pepper, which reduces pain
- Practicing progressive muscle relaxation to help with physical and mental tension
- Acupuncture sessions, which has been shown to decrease pain after 12 months
A doctor or other healthcare professional can also make personalized recommendations for sleeping better with lower back pain, and prescribe medication as needed.
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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Get Out Of Bed The Right Way
As SpineUniverse explains:
Lastly, make sure you are getting out bed properly. Unfortunately, the majority of people will sit up, twist their back to prepare to get into a standing position, and use their back to stand. This method is incorrect. The proper way to exit a bed upon waking is to roll onto your side and use your arm to push up from the side-lying position. From this position, scoot to the very edge of the bed and get up using your legs, not your back.
Lower Back Pain Can Interfere With Your Ability To Be Productive During The Day However It Can Also Affect Your Ability To Sleep
19:24 18 November 2021
Back pain and sleep are deeply intertwined with each other: pain can stop you from falling and staying asleep, while poor sleep can worsen your pain.
If left untreated, this is a vicious cycle that will ultimately destroy the health of your back. If your lower back pain is keeping you up at night, you should address it immediately. Putting it off until later can lead to more serious complications in the future.
You dont have to suffer through your pain. To learn how to sleep with lower back pain, keep reading below!
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How To Sleep Better With Low Back Pain
Due to its complexity and how much your body depends on it, it’s no surprise that the lower back is the top hotspot for pain that may deprive you of a good night’s sleep. Research indicates that eight out of ten people experience back pain in their lifetime, and lower back pain is one of the most common reasons people visit the doctor.
Back pain ranges from short-lived to long-lasting and severe, and if you experience pain, you’re likely to experience poor sleep. Lower back pain makes it harder to find a comfortable sleeping position and get a good night’s sleep. But, how do you eliminate back pain for better sleep?
Understanding the link between lower back pain and sleep offers various approaches to finding relief and quality sleep. So, if you’re having trouble sleeping due to lower back pain, check out these tips that will help you ease pain and make your sleep much better.
Medication From The Store
There are two kinds of over-the-counter pain relievers that frequently help with back pain: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and acetaminophen. Both have some side effects, and some people may not be able to take them. Talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers. And don’t expect medication alone to solve your pain problem. Studies show you’ll probably need more than one type of treatment.
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How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
The lower back features an interwoven series of structures. It includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is bolstered by shock-absorbing discs and held in place by ligaments. Surrounding muscles offer support and are connected to the spine by tendons. Nerves run through the spinal column to deliver signals throughout the body.
The lower back supports most of the bodys weightand is integral to all kinds of movements. Whether standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, the lower back plays a role in mobility and comfort.
Given the complexity of the lower back and how much we depend on it, it comes as no surprise that it is a leading hotspot for pain. Eight out of 10 people have back pain at some point during their life, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons why people see a doctor.
Back pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be short-lived or long-lasting. When serious, it can be debilitating and interfere with nearly all aspects of daily life, including sleep.
Pain and sleep have a complex relationship. Pain can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience pain. In addition, a sleeping position or mattress that doesnt support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate lower back pain.
How Sleep Can Contribute To Back Pain
Although there are many potential sources of lower back pain, how youre sleeping can be a factor. When youre sleep-deprived, your tolerance for pain is lower than it would be if you slept well. Studies have shown that losing sleep can heighten sensitivity to painful stimuli. In theory, sleep loss increases painful inflammation and getting enough sleep may reduce inflammation.
Another factor that can increase back pain is your response to pain medication when youre sleep-deprived. In a study of healthy normal adults, the analgesic effects of codeine are diminished in sleep-deprived individuals versus non-sleepy individuals. Sleeping well may help your pain medications work better.
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Ask For Recommendations To Find The Best Mattress
If youre wondering how to get rid of lower back pain while sleeping, and youve decided to spring for a mattress, you can also rely on reviews to help.
Ask the salesperson which ones he or she would suggest for back pain. Also look towards the internet for online reviews and testimonials. We suggest checking out these mattresses that were created specifically for people with back pain.
Why Your Mattress Matters For Back Pain
If youre waking up with back pain, you may be sleeping on the wrong mattress. However, your bed is typically not the cause of back pain. In any case, a good mattress can help relieve issues that cause back pain.
A good mattress that is well suited to your needs will help to align your spine. This alignment can alleviate aches and pains. People who suffer from lower back pain should look for a mattress that doesnt put pressure on pain points, particularly the shoulders and sacrum. These beds are typically firm enough that your shoulders dont sink, but soft enough to feel comfortable. Look for a 5-7 rating on the mattress firmness scale .
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Try Stretching And Massage To Ease Lower Back Pain
Back pain disrupts the ability to sleep well, which generally affects your daily activities and productivity. Poor sleep also exacerbates pain symptoms and contributes to other health issues like diabetes and weight gain. Back pain can also be linked to tension and stress, and incorporating stretching or yoga helps reduce lower back pain, relieve stress, and helps you sleep better. Massages, on the other hand, help loosen your muscles to ease the pain. All these practices will help you stretch your muscles, lift your mood, and help you relax to ensure you properly manage your lower back pain.
Confirm with a professional on safe poses that will help you reduce the pain rather than make your back pain worse. Practicing stretches or yoga under an expert instructor will also ensure you practice the poses and breathe correctly which is the secret behind relaxation. For more detailed information about stretching, check out the Tight Hip Twisted Core, which clearly demonstrates helpful information about stretching and muscle release. In the book, you’ll be able to understand how muscle knots develop, and how you can handle them to reduce pain.
Stretch #4 Hamstring Stretch
The hamstring stretch is a great exercise to do at home. The reason the hamstrings need to be stretched when lower back pain is present is that the hamstring attaches to the pelvis. If these muscles are tight of experiencing tone they can affect the position of the pelvis which can be related to low back pain. If the pelvis is tilted by the hamstrings over time that position may produce symptoms further up the spine.
These areas are related through a system called the posterior chain. The posterior chain is all of the muscle from the back of the ankle to the back of the head of the posterior, or back side of the body.
This system works together to regulate anterior, or forward movements of the body. If these muscles are tight or weak that can be a source of issues for the spine.
Stretching the hamstrings can be done several ways, but laying on your back with both knees bent and feet flat is a great starting point.
Once in that position, lift one leg straight up in the air leaving a slight bend in the stretching legÃ¢s knee and move that leg closer to your body. There will be a sensation of stretch in the hamstrings between the bottom of the glute and back of the knee. You can use a towel of some sorts if you find that useful.
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Tips To Lessen Back Pain At Night
About 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain at some point in their lives. Depending on the cause which may include injury arthritis and chronic conditions like fibromyalgia symptoms range from dull throbbing aches to sharp shooting pains. If pain becomes too severe it can interfere with quality sleep leaving you feeling exhausted and depressed. Poor sleep can also disrupt the bodys natural healing process which can make pain worse and keep it from getting better.
Some people can sleep in positions that relieve pain. Others with nighttime back pain may feel like they cant find relief no matter what they do. For these folks pain may even worsen or flare up when they lie down. If this sounds like you and pain is getting in the way of sleep its time to try something new. These five tips can help relieve symptoms so you can get the sleep you need.
You may also consider seeing a pain specialist at Reid Pain Management.
Lifestyle Factors That Prevent Back Pain
Aside from being conscious of how you sleep and where you sleep, there are a few daytime habits that can help reduce back pain as well. Much of the recommended habits for prevention go hand-in-hand with leading a generally healthy lifestyle. TheMayo ClinicVerified SourceMayo ClinicRanked #1 hospital by U.S. News & World Report and one of the most trusted medical institutions in the world. The staff is committed to integrated patient care, education, and research.View sourcesuggests the following for minimizing back pain risk:
Back pain is not a small or insignificant problem, but for many people the side effects and severity can be minimized with fairly simple changes to habits. Awareness of ideal sleep positions and the relationship between mattresses and backs are essential for keeping pain at bay during the night, and paying attention to posture and movements improves comfort throughout the day.
What do you find helps reduce back pain most for you? Do you notice differences between sleep positions?
About the author
Rosie Osmun regularly contributes to the Amerisleep blog writing about topics including, reducing back pain while sleeping, the best dinners for better sleep, and improving productivity to make the most of your mornings. She finds the science of sleep fascinating and loves researching and writing about beds. Rosie is also passionate about traveling, languages, and history.
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How Long Should I Rest To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Prolonged bed rest isnt recommended for lower back pain because it can actually make your pain worse. Rest for one or two days at most before getting back onto your feet. However, if several days have passed, but youre still debilitated by your back pain, its worth reaching out to your doctor for assistance.
Try Gentle Yoga Stretches Before Bed
Talk to your doctor about which poses are safe for you to practice and which ones wonât make your pain worse. It might be helpful to start off using yoga props like blocks and bolsters for added support so that you can hold poses comfortably. And taking a few yoga classes with an instructor to be sure youâre doing the poses and breathing correctly — which is key to relaxation — isnât a bad idea either.
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Use A Pillow To Keep Your Spine In Alignment
Waking up with lower back pain often means your spine was rotated throughout the night. If you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, place a pillow behind the backs of your knees. And if you sleep on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your hips and lower abdomen and another thin pillow under your head.
The right pillow can go a long way in helping your back pain. But it can also help you reduce neck pain too, as long as you choose the right pillow.
When To Contact A Doctor
Anyone with severe or worsening back pain, particularly after a fall or injury, should speak with a doctor. Also, do so if any back pain gets worse after resting or sleeping.
Seek immediate medical guidance if back pain is accompanied by any of the following:
- numbness in the legs, buttocks, or groin areas
- difficulty passing urine
- a loss of bladder or bowel control
- unexpected weight loss
If back pain is causing long-term lack of sleep, speak with a doctor about treatment options and other strategies that can help.
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