Add A Few Pillows For An Easy Fix
Another easy and customizable way to improve your sleeping situation is to use pillows for additional support while sleeping.
For back sleepers, place a pillow under your knees to bring your body back into natural alignment. If you sleep in the fetal position, WikiHow suggests using a pillow in between your knees to relieve lower back pain. Their illustration of this is below. Side sleepers should also make sure to alternate sides during the night.
Sleeping With Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common condition, affecting up to 80% of individuals during their lifetime. Lower back pain can negatively affect your sleep leading to . This is of concern because poor sleep can result in a variety of physiological and psychological effects that can become severe over time and lead to serious health problems including depression, Type II diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure, and coronary artery disease. If youre suffering with lower back pain, chances are youre having difficulty sleeping and are looking for some tips to improve your sleep.
In this article, well outline some of thebest sleeping positions for lower back painand discuss some other tips to improve your sleep.
Do Use Hot Or Cold Therapy Before Bed
Use hot or cold elements on your back can help sooth your pain before bed. This could include ice or a cold gel pack wrapped in cloth applied to your back, taking a warm shower or hot bath, or using a heating pad or hot water bottle on the affected area for 15-20 minutes before bed.
Hot or cold therapy can help reduce inflammation caused by lower back pain and promote relief before you go to sleep. Generally, heat is better for longer chronic back pain while ice is better in the first 72 hours.
Recommended Reading: What Helps Relieve Back Pain During Pregnancy
Dont Think About Lower Back Pain While Sleeping Only
Its not just about lower back pain while sleeping only. As DailyHealthPost points out:
Ultimately, its not just about how you sleep. Your posture and activity during the day has a significant effect on muscles that may wind up feeling sore no matter what position you sleep in. During the day, focus on maintaining good posture at work and taking frequent breaks to get up and stretch.
Lower back pain is a condition that affects up to 80% of people in the United States. Its a widespread issue, and only tackling it when it comes up at night likely wont fix your pain entirely. In addition to modifying your bedtime routine, look towards things you can do during the day to reduce back pain. These include:
- Using hot or cold therapy for temporary relief of back pain
- Trying out chiropractic care or physical therapy for reducing more severe cases of back pain
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications to reduce pain when it flares up
Also, make sure to follow along with the PainDoctor.com blog as we often discuss lifestyle changes you can make every day to reduce lower back pain.
What To Look For In A Mattress
Your mattress matters too.
Doctors used to recommend very firm orthopedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But dont go out and buy one just yet. Recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep.
That said, a mattress thats too soft wont help very much with alignment.
If you have the funds to buy something new, try choosing a firm or medium-firm mattress made with good-quality innersprings or foam. You may also improve the innerspring mattress you already own by adding a memory foam mattress topper.
It may be difficult to tell if that mattress at the store really feels comfortable after only a few minutes of testing. Some companies let you test out a mattress over a set period of time and then return it if its not for you.
Not in the market right now? You can see if a firmer mattress would help you by placing an inexpensive plywood board under your current mattress. You can even place your mattress on the floor to see if lessening the movement of the springs helps with your pain.
You May Like: What Essential Oils Help With Back Pain
The Best Sleeping Positions To Help With Lower Back Pain
The best sleeping positions to help with lower back pain may surprise you. When it comes to this topic, Information on the internet can be misleading, so weve broken down the best sleeping positions and their benefits so you do not have to decipher fact from fiction. Sleep position modifications and other changes to day-to-day routines can help manage and prevent back pain while promoting restful sleep. Continue reading below for more information on the best sleeping positions for lower back pain, alignment tips, and more.
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.
1. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your kneesIf lying flat on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting over to your side:
If A New Mattress Isnt In The Cards Make Adjustments To Your Bed
Buying an entirely new mattress may not be economically feasible for you right now. You can make small adjustments now, though, if youre still trying to figure out how to get rid of lower back pain while sleeping.
WebMD.com recommends a few quick solutions. Their major one? If youre looking for a firmer mattress, try adding plywood supports between the mattress and its base. This can increase the firmness of your mattress, quickly and easily.
Sit On A Chair That Pivots And Rolls
When sitting on a chair that pivots and rolls, you are highly advised to not twist your waist while sitting. Instead, always turn with your whole body.
Apart from the above tips, you are also encouraged to take regular breaks throughout the day. If you didnt know, when you are sitting down for extended periods, all the ligaments and muscles in your body tend to tense up! To release this tension, you must take scheduled regular breaks.
Sleep Position And Spine Problems
If youre waking up in pain that you dont feel during the day, then your sleep position is likely playing a role.
Where sleep posture plays a role in back pain is the neutral spine. If youre not positioned in a way that keeps your spine aligned and relaxed, you may be putting excess weight or strain on different parts of the back.
If you have neck pain, stiffness, or soreness when you wake up in the morning, consider:
- Sleep posture. Sleeping on your stomach with your head twisted to one side is a recipe for neck strain. But sleeping in any position can be a problem if your neck isnt sufficiently supported.
- Pillow choice. If your pillow is too high or too low, too firm or too soft, your head will bend away from the neutral spine position. Finding the right pillow can be difficult. Some people prefer memory foam because it molds to the head and neck, providing support where you need it most.
- Weak or tight muscles. If you dont stretch often or if you keep your shoulders and head in a fixed, unnatural position during the day, you may may be bringing that stress to bed at night. Stretching, strengthening, and massage may help you to re-balance your body and loosen up in the neck and shoulders. Its difficult to achieve a neutral spine in sleep if you cant achieve it when youre awake.
As with neck pain, its important to sleep in an optimal position but also to choose the right mattress and the right pillow, and to use extra pillows or bolsters if necessary.
Recommended Reading: How Can I Get My Lower Back To Stop Hurting
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.
The Orthopedic & Sports Medicine Center of Oregon is an award-winning, board-certified orthopedic group located in downtown Portland Oregon. We utilize both surgical and nonsurgical means to treat musculoskeletal trauma, spine diseases, sports injuries, degenerative diseases, infections, tumors and congenital disorders.
Our mission is to return our patients back to pain-free mobility and full strength as quickly and painlessly as possible using both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures.
Our expert physicians provide leading-edge, comprehensive care in the diagnosis and treatment of orthopedic conditions, including total joint replacement and sports medicine. We apply the latest state-of-the-art techniques in order to return our patients to their active lifestyle.
If youre looking for compassionate, expert orthopedic surgeons in Portland Oregon, contact OSM today.
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Sleeping
We all know how important quality sleep is to our health, and unfortunately, many of us just arent getting it due to living busy lives and never finding enough time in the day! But when you also add in experiencing pain every time you try to sleep, there is even more chance you are not getting the quality sleep your body needs. Both poor sleep and chronic back pain can have a significant impact on our daily outlook and overall well-being. A spine doctor can help treat your back pain and also identify ways or relieving back pain so you can sleep better and experience healing faster. Here are a few ideas for how to relieve lower back pain when you are sleeping based on the expertise of the best spine doctors in Atlanta.
Read Also: How To Relieve Lower Back Inflammation
Sleep On The Front Of Your Body
Many doctors don’t recommend sleeping on the front of your body. But if you feel comfortable in this position, many of them will suggest you put a small pillow under your stomach and hips. This can improve the alignment of your spine. If you have degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, sleeping on the front of your body with a pillow could be a great option.
The Worst Sleep Positions For Herniated Disn
You probably know this, but sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping position for low back pain, and for everyone for that matter.
Sleeping on the stomachflattens the natural curve of your spine and puts additional strain on your back muscles.
At the same time, stomach sleeping rotates your neck, which can result in shoulder pain and neck pain.
If youre used to sleeping on the stomach, at least put a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to ease back strain.
Changing sleep habits may seem difficult, but there are a few ways to force yourself to the right sleeping position.
Two of them are:
1. A Body Pillow sleeping with a U-shaped body pillow will make it uncomfortable to sleep on your stomach and you will naturally roll to your side and stay side or back sleeping all night.
A full body pillow can be very helpful for night-time back pain, just see some of the many real reviews for it HERE.
2. A tennis ball in your T-shirt pocket the more annoying option is to wear a pocket T-shirt with a tennis ball tucked into the pocket, which should definitely do the trick.
Another bad sleeping position for low back pain is on the side with one leg hiked up higher than the other.
This sleep position moves you toward stomach sleeping but also twists the pelvis.
If you sleep like this, try to keep your legs together. Your pelvis will be well situated, and it can calm your nerves. Place a pillow between your legs to complement this position.
Recommended Reading: Can A Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
Sleeping Reclined With A Chair Pillow
Generally, sleeping reclined is uncomfortable for most people. However, there are certain lower back conditions where sleeping reclined can feel good. To do this, you have a few options. You can invest in a mattress that allows a section to lift and become a chair. Or, you can use a chair pillow to support your reclining body. It’s not recommended that you sleep in a recliner chair, as they arent usually designed for all-night sleep.
Stay comfortable by using a chair pillow or a changeable mattress to get the reclining position. You can even use an extra pillow under your lower back to avoid a sensation of pressure there.
Prevent Back Pain During The Day
Ultimately, its not just about how you sleep. Your posture and activity during the day has a significant effect on muscles that may wind up feeling sore no matter what position you sleep in.
During the day, focus on maintaining good posture at work and taking frequent breaks to get up and stretch.
This might mean the difference between waking up feeling like you need a visit to a massage therapist and getting out of bed ready to take on the day.
Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding back pain due to sleep? Share them with us in the comments section!
Read Also: Does A Firm Bed Help Back Pain
Do You Need A New Mattress
While your bed is probably not the cause of your back pain, your mattress may not be ideally suited to you and might be exacerbating it. If youve had your current mattress for eight years or more then you might want to consider investing in a new one. A good mattress will be one that helps to align your spine without putting pressure on pain points. You want to look for one that is firm enough that your shoulders dont sink into it but soft enough to be comfortable.
And while it is important to rest after a recent injury or sprain that has caused your back pain, spending prolonged periods of time in bed is a bad idea and will actually make it worse. As long as you are not doing strenuous exercise then walking or gentle stretching can ease the pain.
Remember: Alignment Is Key
No matter what position you choose, keeping proper alignment of your spine is the most important part of the equation. Focus specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.
You may notice gaps between your body and the bed that strain your muscles and spine. You can reduce this stress by using pillows to fill the gaps.
Be careful while turning in bed. You can get out of alignment during twisting and turning motions as well. Always move your entire body together, keeping your core tight and pulled in. You may even find it helpful to bring your knees toward your chest as you roll over.
You May Like: When To Use Heat Or Ice For 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.
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.
Read Also: What Helps Back Pain After Car Accident