Who Gets Back Pain
Back pain can affect pretty much anyone at anytime. However, a few traits are linked withhigher risk.Verified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceOlder adults and women are more likely to experience back pain. People who are overweight or obese, and people with a sedentary lifestyle and poor fitness levels have higher rates of back pain.
Physically strenuous work that involves a lot of lifting, pushing or pulling creates greater risk of injury or strain. Other occupational risks include extending sitting with poor posture, and even mentally stressful work.
Factors that increase risk of back pain:
- Age: most common between 35 and 55
- Gender: more common in women
- Being overweight
- Anxiety and depression
Smoking is another potential risk that might not be so obvious. Data suggests smokers are more prone to back pain for a couple reasons nutrients may not be able to reach the back where theyre needed, coughing can cause strain, and smokers are slower to heal from injury.
Other factors also increase the odds of back pain, such as pregnancy, strenuous exercise, anxiety and depression, and certain hereditary conditions.
On Your Back With Knee Support
Experts have found that only 8-percent of adults are back sleepers. That is quite surprising considering back-sleeping is the best sleep position for promoting a healthy back. When you sleep on your back, your weight is evenly distributed, improving the proper alignment of your head, neck, and spine.
Whats more, the position also helps in reducing any pain-inducing pressure joints.
While you sleep in this position, place a small, soft pillow under your knees for extra support. It helps in keeping your body in a natural curve with the spine while the back stays flat. Prevent the head from turning sideways with an ideal head pillow, which also supports the neck.
With Your Side Sleeping with a Pillow Between the Knees
Side sleeping position is the most common among adults. Unfortunately, if done wrongly, it can add more pain to your upper back by forcing the spine out of alignment. Thats why you have to place a soft pillow between the knees. That allows your upper legs to be raised, keeping the spine, hips, and pelvis natural.
How do you do it? Well, if youre not a side sleeper already, its quite simple. All you have to do is rest on the bed on your side, pull the knees up a bit, and to a comfortable position and place a pillow between your legs.
Ensure you got another low pillow to use for head and neck support. If you like turning in your sleep, try hugging a long chest and stomach pillow as well.
Awareness Of Sleeping Positions And Proper Pillows Can Minimize Neck Pain
As with so many things, when it comes to neck pain, an ounce of prevention may be worth a pound of cure. It’s true that some causes of neck pain, such as age-related wear and tear, are not under your control. On the other hand, there are many things you can do to minimize your risk. One place to start is to look at how you sleep and what effect this may have on neck pain.
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Other Things To Consider For A Better Nights Sleep
Regardless of which sleeping position is the most comfortable for every individual, its important to keep the spine aligned while sleeping. Always make sure to keep the ears, shoulder blade, and hips aligned for the best spine support. Its also important to avoid twisting and turning too much in bed because it ruins the alignment of the body.
Aside from the sleeping position, here are other things to consider when it comes to catching a good nights sleep:
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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How Does Back Pain Affect Sleep
Acute and chronic back pain can cause insomnia, a sleep disorder characterized by trouble falling and staying asleep at night. Back pain disrupts the sleep cycle and prevents you from reaching REM sleep , the fifth and deepest stage of sleep. Missing one to two hours of quality sleep sends you into sleep deprivation, and can affect your brain function, mood and overall judgment throughout the day. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for the average adult. When thinking about your normal sleep schedule, here are the guidelines to keep in mind: If chronic back pain is inhibiting your sleep, you may not notice sleep deprivation in the first half of the day while pounding coffee, battling traffic and meeting work deadlines. But as the day goes on and the lack of sleep sinks in, the body begins to slow down. The longer you deal with insomnia, the worse its side effects become. While sleep statistics reveal the good, the bad and the ugly about our sleep habits, all hope is not lost! Here is our list of the best sleep positions for back pain.
Articles On Back Pain
Back pain can make getting through the day hard, but it can make getting a good nightâs sleep even harder. It can be tough to find a comfortable position so you can doze off. And you might not even be able to get in and out of bed without pain.
But good sleep is essential to your health, and an important part of your overall well-being. Studies have found that Americans who ranked their quality of life very good or excellent slept an average of 18 to 23 minutes longer than those who considered their health and quality of life poorer. But studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may actually make you more sensitive to pain.
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Get Into And Out Of Bed Carefully
It may sound obvious, but be extra careful when you get into and out of bed. Bending forward at your waist or making quick and jerking motions can cause you more back pain.
Take your time and roll over onto one side and use your arms to push your way up. You can then swing your legs out of bed to stand up slowly. Reverse the movements when itâs time to lie down at night.
Do Be Mindful Of How You Get In And Out Of Bed
Jerking yourself out of bed quickly or getting in too fast can exacerbate lower back pain, so make sure youre careful about doing each:
When getting into bed, first sit down near the place where you want to sleep. Then, using your hands as support, bend your knees and slowly lie down on your side. Take care to keep your torso straight.
When getting out of bed, you basically want to do the opposite. Roll onto your side first towards the edge of the bed, bend your knees, then use your arms to help push yourself up and swing your legs over the side. This will help you keep from bending at your waist, which can engage your back.
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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.
When To Consider Other Sleeping Positions
Back sleeping might not be the best option for everyone, as it can increase the risk of complications for people with certain health conditions.
Pregnancy: Sleeping on your back while pregnant, especially during late-term pregnancy, is not advised. Research shows that sleeping on your back while pregnant can reduce blood flow to the fetus and can increase risk of low birth weight. Side sleeping is generally recommended instead. Pregnancy pillows can be used to support your back and stomach while lying on your side.
Obstructive Sleep Apnea: Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleep disorder in which a person experiences disordered breathing caused by blockages in the airway during sleep. Research suggests that more severe sleep apnea symptoms occur when lying on your back. If you experience obstructive sleep apnea and sleep on your back, you may want to consider switching to side sleeping.
Chronic Snoring: Although snoring is not always a sign of an underlying sleep issue, it can be frustrating and disruptive. Research shows that sleeping on your back increases snoring. If you can, try elevating your head with a second pillow. If that is uncomfortable, it may help to try sleeping on your side.
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Best Way To Sleep With Neck Pain
Your spine naturally arches in three places. It curves forward at your neck and lower back. It curves the other way in your upper back. Setting up your bed to best maintain these natural curves can help you minimize neck or back pain.
Many people find that using a memory foam helps them manage their neck pain. A 2019 study found that combining a viscoelastic polyurethane memory foam pillow with chiropractic treatment was more effective than chiropractic treatment alone.
You can also try using a soft feather pillow that forms to your head or a pillow with cervical support.
If you sleep on your back:
- Use a thin pillow. A thin pillow lets you keep your upper spine in its natural position with a slight forward curve.
- Try a cervical pillow. A cervical pillow supports your neck and head to keep them in a neutral position.
- Use a supportive mattress. If your mattress is too soft, you may find that you sink into it and your back rounds.
When sleeping on your side:
- Avoid overly high pillows. Ideally, your pillow should be a height that keeps your ears stacked vertically over each other. If your pillow is too high or low, your neck will bend and you may develop pain over time.
- Keep chin neutral. Try to avoid tucking your chin if youre sleeping in the fetal position. Tucking your chin positions your head forward.
- Try putting a pillow between your knees. Putting a pillow between your knees helps keep your lower spine in alignment.
Get A Heated Mattress Pad
Heat therapy is a go-to treatment for many types of arthritis pain, including nighttime back pain, Snyder says. One way to get even heated coverage throughout the night is to buy a heated mattress pad and put it underneath your fitted sheet, he says. This will prevent it from bunching or slipping during the night. Many models come with automatic timers if youre worried about sleeping with it on all night or if you only need the heat to help you fall asleep.
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What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain
Two sleeping positions are easiest on the neck: on your side or on your back. If you sleep on your back, choose a rounded pillow to support the natural curve of your neck, with a flatter pillow cushioning your head. This can be achieved by tucking a small neck roll into the pillowcase of a flatter, softer pillow, or by using a special pillow that has a built-in neck support with an indentation for the head to rest in. Here are some additional tips for side- and back-sleepers:
When Is Middle Back Pain While Sleeping Serious
Most cases of middle back pain while sleeping are not serious. It is certainly disruptive, annoying, and even upsetting, but the underlying causes do not pose an immediate health risk. The symptoms can be safely treated with more conservative remedies.
However, as mentioned earlier, some middle back pain causes are more serious than others. If your middle back pain is accompanied by numbness and/or tingling, there may be underlying nerve damage. This can be caused by multiple conditions, some potentially dangerous, so its important to visit your doctor as soon as possible.
Further, any middle back pain that occurs with loss of feeling in your limbs or loss of bowel control is an emergency condition. Contact your doctor immediately if this occurs.
In addition, if youve tried some basic at-home remedies and your symptoms are still so severe that you cant sleep well, make an appointment with your doctor as soon as you can. Without proper rest, your body and mind will quickly become exhausted. Any and all medical issues that prevent you from sleeping properly should be taken care of as quickly as possible.
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People With Spinal Problems
Spinal problems can be bone-related or spinal cord-related. Either way, if its something you have to deal with, sleeping on the floor is not recommended.
Because youll be in an unusual position, things can get compressed and put pressure on nerves. This can either lead to pain, or it can lead to numbness. Neither of these are good things, and definitely something you want to steer clear of.
Sleeping on the floor may be unusual, but if you think about it, beds havent been around forever! Theyre a fairly modern thing, and some cultures still sleep on the floor more than on a bed.
If you’re keen to try sleeping on the floor, be sure to do it the right way. Dont expect huge changes overnight, either. Stick with it for at least a week , and then decide if its for you or not.
You may find that back pain ceases, posture improves, and you find it easier to get up in the mornings!
Happy sleeping .
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Practice Good Sleep Hygiene
For anyone with or without shoulder pain, it is important to practice good sleep hygiene. This means establishing healthy habits that encourage quality sleep.
The NSF lists these tips for practicing good sleep hygiene:
- Avoid eating or drinking alcohol within 23 hours of going to sleep.
- Limit caffeine intake as you get closer to bedtime.
- Keep phones, tablets, or TVs out of your bedroom.
- Choose bedding that allows you to sleep at a comfortable temperature.
- Use a white noise machine or fan to block outside sources of noise.
- When possible, go to sleep and wake up at the same times each day to train your body when it is time to sleep.
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On The Front With A Pillow Under The Stomach
This is generally considered the least healthy sleeping position but for people who struggle to sleep any other way, placing a slim pillow beneath the stomach and hips can help improve spinal alignment.
Also, sleeping on the front may actually benefit anyone with a herniated disk or degenerative disk disease.
To get comfortable in this position:
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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