Sleeping And Lower Back Pain
Regular low back pain can cause a person to sleep more lightly than they normally would and wake up more frequently during the night, according to the National Sleep Foundation.
Thankfully, by learning the best sleeping positions for your back, you can feel immediate relief.
To make things simple, lets start with the biggest dos of how to sleep with lower back pain
What Causes Back Pain
Your spine or backbone is a complex structure that is made up of 24 small bones called vertebrae that are stacked on top of each other. Discs sit between each vertebra to act as cushions or shock absorbers and give your spine flexibility. Vertebrae are joined together by small joints called facet joints. These joints allow you to move and bend your back. A mesh of ligaments and muscles hold the spine together and provide structural support, which allows you to move.
Back pain can originate from any of these structures, but in most cases, this pain doesnt result from any significant damage to your spine. This pain usually stems from surrounding muscles, ligaments or joints and occasionally spinal disc problems.
For at least 9 in 10 people, back pain is not caused by any particular condition and is referred to as non-specific back pain.
This type of back pain results from a range of different factors such as:
- poor posture
- an unhealthy weight
Less than 1 in 100 people have back pain that is related to a serious medical problem such as cancer, infection, a spinal fracture or specific conditions such as ankylosing spondylitis. Research has also shown that you actually dont need to know the cause of back pain to treat it successfully.
Dissipate Stressors During Everyday Activities
Even small amounts of stressing on the intricate structures in your lower back can add up and lead to degeneration and pain over time. Here are recommendations on how to reduce everyday stresses to concentrate on your lower back5:
- Opening a door. While opening a door, stand straight in front of the doorâs handle and pull it perpendicular to your body. Avoid standing on the side of the handle and twisting your trunk while opening the door, which may injure your spinal ligaments.
- Using a vacuum cleaner. While vacuuming, hold the vacuum cleaner in front of your body with both hands and use small arm movements while cleaning. Holding the vacuum to the side of your body with just one hand results in large arm movements and requires more twisting torque forces on your lower spine.
- Shoveling snow or while gardening. While shoveling, rest one arm on your thigh while slightly bending the knees. This technique helps prevent large arm movements and prolonged stooping, which significantly loads your lower back.
Using spine-sparing principles such as these on a daily basis helps prevent chronic injury to the tissues.
Recommended Reading: Can A Firm Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Sitting In A Recliner
Sitting in a recliner is a great way to relieve lower back pain, but it’s important that you do it correctly. When you sit upright, gravity is pressing vertically through your spine creating compression on your joints and discs. Additionally, your muscles have to work harder to stabilize your spine. However, when you recline, gravity presses your back into the backrest and makes it easier for you to relax your muscles. The downside is that it also creates an extension in your spine as your hip to spine angle increases substantially greater than 90 degrees. There’s a simple fix to this though. Instead of having your legs out straight on the recliner, bend your knees and place the bottom of your feet flat on the leg rest of the recliner. Doing this will bend your hips back closer to 90 degrees. So now you’ve eliminated the effect of gravity pressing down through your spine AND you’ve also kept your trunk to thigh angle close to 90 degrees. It’s a win-win! See the picture below for details.
Finding Lower Back Pain Relief
Nearly everyone will experience some form of back pain in his or her lifetime. The low back is the area behind the belly from the rib cage to the pelvis and is also called the lumbar region. Back pain is a major cause of missed work. Low back pain usually resolves on its own and is commonly the result of a strain injury. There are many treatments for low back pain.
At Risk for Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain can start in a person’s early twenties and continue on throughout adulthood. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the general population are affected by low back pain at some time during their lives. Learn to prevent lower back pain by knowing what activities could be putting you at risk.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
- Manual materials handling
- Twisting of the trunk
- Bending the trunk to the side
- Excessive reaching
- Extreme tallness
Don’t Miss: What Doctor Do You See For Lower Back Pain
How Can Back Pain Be Prevented
In most cases, you can prevent back pain by making changes to your lifestyle.
Doing exercise helps to keep your back flexible and strong. Exercise improves your posture and helps your muscles to support your spine. Exercises that can help prevent back pain include:
- low-impact aerobic exercise
- strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights, climbing stairs or hiking hills
- stretching exercises, such as Pilates and yoga
Maintaining a good posture is important when you sit at home, in your workplace, or in your car. Try not to slouch, and use equipment that supports your back, such as a lumbar support or footstool if you need.
Keeping a healthy weight is also important. Excess fat can strain your back and lead to back pain, sciatica and inflammation.
Practise safe lifting in your home or workplace. Whenever you pick up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object close to your body, and lift with your legs.
- Quit smoking Smoking increases your chances of developing persistent back pain.
- Relax Learning relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help to reduce stress and muscle tension in your back.
- Avoid high heels wearing high heels can place strain on your back.
Stretch #2 Prayer Stretch
Starting with prayer stretch is a great way to gauge your range of motion, pain sensation, and still get benefits of a stretch. It is important when dealing with low back pain to move slowly and purposefully to avoid positions and movements that reproduce symptoms dramatically.
For this exercise you will want to start out on your hands and knees with your eyes looking down at the floor. A straight line from your glutes to the top of your head for proper spinal alignment.
Once in that position, take a deep breath in through the nose and out through the mouth slowly releasing the air as you sit your hips back on your heels. The lower you can get the better, drop your chest and head down as you fully exhale and hold the position for 30 seconds.
This stretch targets the low back specifically but also helps get the pelvis into a more favorable position to stretch the back muscles entirely in a safe manner. Repeat this stretch and attempt to get lower each time until your hips can comfortably sit on your heels. This is a great stretch to start or end the day.
Read Also: Are Epidural Injections For Back Pain Safe
What Are The Risk Factors For Developing Low Back Pain
Anyone can have back pain. Factors that can increase the risk for low back pain include:
Age: The first attack of low back pain typically occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, and back pain becomes more common with advancing age. Loss of bone strength from osteoporosis can lead to fractures, and at the same time, muscle elasticity and tone decrease. The intervertebral discs begin to lose fluid and flexibility with age, which decreases their ability to cushion the vertebrae. The risk of spinal stenosis also increases with age.
Fitness level: Back pain is more common among people who are not physically fit. Weak back and abdominal muscles may not properly support the spine. Weekend warriorspeople who go out and exercise a lot after being inactive all weekare more likely to suffer painful back injuries than people who make moderate physical activity a daily habit. Studies show that low-impact aerobic exercise can help maintain the integrity of intervertebral discs.
Weight gain: Being overweight, obese, or quickly gaining significant amounts of weight can put stress on the back and lead to low back pain.
Genetics: Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis , have a genetic component.
Smoking: It can restrict blood flow and oxygen to the discs, causing them to degenerate faster.
Backpack overload in children: A backpack overloaded with schoolbooks and supplies can strain the back and cause muscle fatigue.
What Research Is Being Done
The mission of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke is to seek fundamental knowledge of the brain and nervous system and to use that knowledge to reduce the burden of neurological disease. NINDS is a component of the National Institutes of Health , the leading supporter of biomedical research in the world.
As a primary supporter of research on pain and pain mechanisms, NINDS is a member of the NIH Pain Consortium, which was established to promote collaboration among the many NIH Institutes and Centers with research programs and activities addressing pain. On an even broader scale, NIH participates in the Interagency Pain Research Coordinating Committee, a federal advisory committee that coordinates research across other U.S. Department of Health and Human Services agencies as well as the Departments of Defense and Veterans Affairs.
Don’t Miss: Why Do I Have Sudden Lower Back Pain
Chronic Conditions That Cause Back Pain
Conditions that can lead to chronic low back pain include spinal stenosis, spondylitis, and fibromyalgia. Spinal stenosis is narrowing of the normal spinal canal through which the spinal cord passes. Spondylitis is chronic inflammation of the spine. Fibromyalgia is a muscle disorder that features chronic muscle pain and tenderness.
How To Fix Lower Back Pain After Deadlift
Place a resistance band over that space wherever is that the greatest soreness and hold the opposite ends in your hands. Slowly tuck your tailbone below then decide to slowly, as if section by section, spherical your spine the foremost quantity as attainable. The key here is to undertake and move only one bone at a time. That isnt very attainable, however, this centered, intentional movement can facilitate unlocking those stiff segments.
You May Like: What Kind Mattress Is Best For Back Pain
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.
Stretching/back Traction To Relieve Lower Back Pain
No matter how great your sitting posture and how excellent your chair is you have to take a few breaks from sitting during the day .
Use this break to perform a good stretch to relieve your pain, and here are the 2 best options:
1. A simple 30-second stretch
- Sit in your chair, making sure your sitting bones are firmly in contact with the chair. Keep your feet flat on the floor and placed wide apart.
- Sit up tall and then slowly slide your hands down your legs until you reach the floor. Visualize rolling down one joint at a time, head first.
- Breathe into the stretch and try to slide slightly further down. Hold for 30 seconds.
- Repeat three times.
You can find more simple and effective deskercisesHERE.
2. Use a Back Traction Device
For a more powerful stretch, I recommend bringing a compact, portable back traction device to your office space.
When you do back traction, your aching muscles get a chance to relax and you take a bit of the pressure off your discs.
If you want to take the first stretch to a higher level without worrying whether youre doing it right use the CoreStretch tool:
One more back traction option which can be great in your workspace is the True Back traction device:
The True Back stretcher is a portable and compact lower back lumbar traction device, and easy to use. No assembly is needed and no parts can break down ever.
Don’t Miss: How To Sleep To Help Back Pain
When Is Exercise Appropriate
Low back pain due to muscle strain or muscle spasm is amenable to exercise. But if the pain traces to a problem in the spine, approach exercise more cautiously. One common warning sign of a spine-related problem is sciatica, or pain that radiates from the back down into the leg. The pain may be accompanied by a tingling “pins and needles” sensation. If you have sciatica, don’t begin a new exercise program without speaking to a doctor.
Less commonly, low back pain can be a “red flag” that warrants immediate medical attention if it takes any of these forms:
back pain with fever
pain that does not improve or worsens
numbness in the groin
loss of bladder or bowel control
inability to find a comfortable sitting or sleeping position during episodes of back pain.
Daily Moves To Prevent Low Back Pain
Stretching and strengthening daily is your best bet to delay the next attack of low back pain.
When low back pain flares up, most men can’t do more than grit their teeth, reach for a numbing cold pack, and wait for it to get better. Four out of five of us experience low back pain sometime in our lives, but this common source of suffering is also an opportunity.
“An episode of acute low back pain is a call to action for people who are simply not exercisers,” says Dr. Jeffrey N. Katz, professor of orthopedic surgery and medicine at Harvard Medical School. “It is a good time to make a commitment to exercise when you are starting to feel a bit bettertypically in a few weeks.”
It’s important to understand that exercise is not guaranteed to eliminate back pain however, exercise could make it less frequent. “You could have a lower risk of flare-ups over the subsequent year,” Dr. Katz says.
Recommended Reading: What Is The Best Treatment For Back Pain
Simple Ways To Stop Lower Back Pain From Sitting
Did you know?
More than half of Americans who experience lower back pain spend most of their workday sitting.
But you dont need these statistics to know that sitting too much can aggravate back pain and even cause lumbar pain in the first place.
The good news is:
Lumbar pain from sitting all day can be quite easily prevented and solved, and this post will show you the 5 easiest and best ways to fix office-work related back pain.
Bonus Tip: Soothe The Pain With Cold And/or Hot
Don’t underestimate the pain reduction of simply applying cold packs and/or hot packs to help reduce your lower back pain.
- Cold therapy helps reduce inflammation and pain. Some examples include wrapping ice in a cloth, a pack of frozen peas from the freezer, or a cold gel pack. Always keep at least one layer between your skin and the ice/cold pack.
- Heat therapy helps improve blood flow, relaxation, and pain relief. Heat therapy can come in many forms. It’s best to try several to find what works best for you. Taking a warm bath or shower, soaking in a hot tub, or using a heating pad or heat wrap are all ways to bring warmth to your lower back.
Whether applying ice or a heat pack, limit applications to 15 or 20 minutes with at least 2 hours of rest in between to protect your skin. Never sleep with a heating pad or frozen pack as this can lead to permanent skin damage.
Hopefully these overlooked remedies can help you try some new approaches to better manage your lower back pain and find lasting relief.
You May Like: Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
What Should I Know About Back Pain
Back pain is a very common problem and will affect many of us at some point during our lives.
The good news is that in most cases it isnt a serious problem, and it might just be caused by a simple strain to a muscle or ligament.
As far as possible, its best to continue with your normal everyday activities as soon as you can and to keep moving.
Being active and exercising wont make your back pain worse, even if you have a bit of pain and discomfort at first. Staying active will help you get better. Taking painkillers can help you do this.
Tips To Strengthen Your Back
Flexion and extension exercises are commonly used to prevent low back pain. Be sure to review with the doctor any program you are considering.
Easy Low Back Exercises
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and move ankles up and down.
- Heel Slides: Lie on your back and bend then straighten the knees one at a time.
- Wall Squats: With your back flat against a wall, sit like you would in a chair with your knees lined up over your ankles. Gently press against the wall, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for five seconds.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: Lying down with back flat, pull your knee into the chest.
Don’t Miss: What May Cause Lower Back Pain