Sleep On Your Side To Relieve Pain From A Pulled Back Muscle
One of the most common causes of lower back pain is a pulled back muscle, which occurs when a muscle in your lower back is strained or torn as a result of being over-stretched. Symptoms from a pulled back muscle typically resolve within a few days, but the intense pain can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Worse yet, the longer you lie in the bed, the more deconditioned your body gets and the worse your symptoms may become.
No single sleeping position works for every person with a pulled back muscle, but a good place to start is to test sleeping on your side. When sleeping on your side, try the following:
- Avoid a tight curled-up fetal position , and instead sleep with your body slightly elongated.
- Slip a slim pillow between your knees to support the natural curvature of your spine.
See Mattresses and Sleep Positions for Each Back Pain Diagnosis
- Find a head pillow that holds your head midway between each shoulder. If your pillow is too thin or too thick it can bend your neck at an uncomfortable angle.
You may also benefit from wearing a disposable heat wrap to bed to help alleviate the pain from a pulled back muscle. These wraps deliver muscle-relaxing, low-level heat over the course of several hoursand so they may help you both fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
On The Back With Knee Support
Lying on the back evenly distributes the bodys weight, helping to minimize pressure and ensure a good alignment of the head, neck, and spine.
Placing a small pillow under the knees may provide additional support and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.
To get comfortable in this position:
Sleeping Positions For Back And Neck Pain
Getting a good nights sleep can be tough with back or neck pain. Its avicious cycle. You need sleep to heal, but your back hurts so you cant sleep,so you cant heal, so your back still hurts and you cant sleep.
The non-restorative sleep that is typical when youre in pain preventsthe relaxation of your muscles and impedes the healing that normally occursduring sleep. During restful sleep, the heart and blood pressure slow, thebrain is able to release the hormones that stimulate tissue growth and repairblood vessels, the body makes more white blood cells and the immune system isboosted.
If sleeping well is that important to healing back pain and neck pain, how do you do it? Heres how to sleep when your back hurts.
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Sleep In A Fetal Position
If you have a herniated disc, curl up in a fetal position. When you lie on your side with your knees tucked into your chest, you’ll be able to minimize the bending of your spine and open up your joints simultaneously. If you choose the fetal position, use a pillow to give your head and neck some support.
Positions For Back Sleepers
Sleeping on your back can be a great position for your shoulders and lower back. Its an easy position to maintain alignment of your head, shoulders, hips, and knees. Laying on your back also keeps your body weight distributed among a large surface area. Allowing pressure to spread out over your body and reduce the likelihood of low back pain. Here are the best ways to prevent lower back pain for back sleepers:
1. Place a pillow under your knees
Depending on the firmness and fullness of your pillows, you may need to use multiple.
2. Use a leg raise pillow
The key here is to raise your knees and lower legs to a 45 degree angle. You can use regular bed pillows instead of a leg raise pillow, but proper positioning will require multiple pillows and they may shift out of place once you fall asleep.
3. In a reclined position using a bed wedge
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Tips For Sleeping With Lower Back Pain
Your sleeping position isnt the only thing that can help prevent lower back pain. In this section, well discuss other variables that can help you get the best night sleep and keep you pain-free.
- Use Ice Packs or Heating Pads
Lower back pain can be caused by a slew of conditions. Muscle spasms, pinched nerves, and herniated discs just to name a few. If you are suffering from acute lower back pain, an ice pack can help reduce inflammation and pain. After a couple of days of icing your injury, your back may benefit from the use of a heating pad. In addition to soothing sore muscles, heat will dilate your blood vessels bringing more oxygen and nutrients to your injury.
- Use Positioning Pillows
Pillows designed for your head may not be able to support the rest of your body. Weve found that foam pillows made for body positioning give the best support for knees and hips. If youre a side sleeper a body pillow will support just about every joint in your body.
- Check the Condition of Your Mattress
Your mattress is a vital component of your sleep routine. No longer are extra firm mattresses being recommended for people with low back pain. Typically, a medium to a medium-firm mattress will give the best support.
You might want to think about buying a new mattress is yours is over eight years old, has squeaky springs, or if you arent feeling as rested in the mornings as you used to. A memory foam mattress topper can be used if a new mattress isnt in your near future.
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.
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Sleep On The Couch Or Against A Wall To Control Your Position
use your trusted couch to lie sideways
If you find that you are rolling from your side, then onto your back, you will need to have a support. Use the upright support of the couch or a wall to remain on your side. It will keep you from rolling so you can stay asleep uninterrupted.
If you have a bed that can be pushed against the wall, you can sleep so that your back rests against it. This will help to keep you from rolling onto your back which is much less ideal.
This approach, of course, is only temporary as your bed should be the primary choice.
Which Positions Work Best
It is important to keep in mind that if your back pain continues for more than a few months, you should see a doctor to diagnose what is causing the back pain. However, there are ways to position your body at night that can help reduce or even eliminate the pain.
You may have discovered by trial and error that when you have your upper legs drawn upwards towards your body while lying down, your back is more comfortable. This position reduces the amount of strain on your lumbar region, the area on your back below your ribs that is what we refer to as the lower back. As a result, sleeping positions that allow you to keep your legs tucked in this way have been shown to reduce lower back pain.2
In practice, this means there are basically two options. One is to sleep on your side with your knees up in front of you. The other is to sleep on your back with your legs supported by a pillow, so that your hips are rotated forward just like you were on your side.
Sleeping face down, or prone, does not provide a way for you to tuck your legs and rotate your hips, and as a result is not good for lower back pain. But if you must sleep on your stomach, the best way to do this is to place a pillow under your hips and try sleeping without a pillow under your head.
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Sleeping In The Fetal Position
When in doubt, the fetal position is also a good option for your lower back. In particular, if you suffer from hernias, the fetal position is great for getting a curve in your spine so that your vertebrae stay spread out as you sleep. Its also a comfortable position that doesnt require any pillows to correct alignment issues.
The fetal position is also a popular sleeping position, which likely comes from the comfort of having your spine elongated as you sleep. If youre looking to stay in the fetal position as you sleep, opt for sleeping on your left side. Your left side is better for deep breathing and avoids putting pressure on your internal organs.
What Should I Look For In A Mattress If I Have Lower Back Pain
The rule of thumb with mattresses for back pain is pretty similar to what you should look for in a pillow, Dr. Slabaugh says. Meaning, you want a decent level of firmness, but dont want to sleep on a rock. Whether you sleep on your back or side, the mattress should give enough to allow you to have a straight spine, he says.
Dr. Womack warns against soft mattresses. People have more problems with mattresses that are too soft, he says. They get wear points and the areas that you normally put pressure onaround your knees and hipscan sink in deeper and create more trouble.
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Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
The symptoms of lower back pain can vary from person to person. It may come on suddenly, perhaps after youve lifted something heavy or moved in a way thats hurt your back. Or it may come on gradually over time or for no clear reason. Some people get a dull pain in their back, while others describe it as more of a tearing or burning pain. You may find certain things make the pain worse, and other things help to relieve it. The pain can range from mild to severe.
If you have sciatica, pain can spread from your back or buttock down your leg, sometimes as far as your foot or toes.
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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.
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Dont Sleep On A Mattress Thats Too Soft
Some people prefer mattresses that are softer than the average, but those with lower back pain need to be careful. A too-soft mattress wont be supportive enough and can lead to extra strain on your spine.
If you have a very soft mattress thats causing you pain and you cant get a more sturdy one right now, you might consider trying sleeping on the floor. It sounds odd, but a sturdy floor can actually be better than a soft mattress for those who needs the structure.
Sleep On Different Surfaces
Thereâs lots of mattress âscienceâ regarding what is best for you â a lot of âif, then that.â It may become an expensive experiment, but the only way to know if the surface youâre sleeping on is right for you is by, yes, once again, testing it out!
If youâre having back pain with your current mattress and youâve tried the strategies above and below, then you may want to nestle in other nests. A great way to know if youâre mattress is a problem for you is to sleep on a guest bed, your kidâs bed, a futon, the couch – whatever. Traveling is a good opportunity to try out beds of different firmness levels.
If you discover an alternate surface makes and drastic difference, you may want to consider a new mattress or replacing your existing one. As you probably know, trialing mattresses is not exactly easy. Luckily, there are many âBed in a Boxâ brands that guarantee a great night’s rest or they will remove it from your home with a full refund.
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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.
Seek Chiropractic Care Lower Back Pain
These were just a few of the best sleeping positions.
There is no “best position to sleep in” for everyone.
Depending on your body and lower back pain, what’s right for you will most likely be different for the next guy.
The key is to find the best sleeping position for you, and then stick with it.
If your lower back pain continues or worsens, give our Arrowhead Clinic Chiropractors a call.
The Arrowhead Clinics have been serving their communities for nearly 40 years, and they can help you get a good night’s rest.
If you aren’t sure which sleeping position is right for you, the chiropractors at the Arrowhead Clinic can perform an exam to help you identify the sleeping position you should be using every night.
We offer free consultations and can help get to the root of your issue so you can finally get a peaceful night’s sleep.
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How Does Lower Back Pain Impact Sleep
Unsurprisingly, sleep and pain affect each other. Back pain can lead to sleep problems, and, in turn, sleep problems can worsen pain.
Chronic pain is tied to high rates of insomnia. Whats more, it lowers sleep quality. Back pain can keep people from experiencing rejuvenating deep sleep. People with chronic lower back pain who dont sleep well report higher pain intensity, worse mood, and lower ability to move and function the next day.
Sleep supports almost every system in our bodies, and its important for everyone to prioritize getting a good nights sleep. But its especially critical when dealing with lower back pain to make sure that your sleep needs are being met so that you can fully benefit from the restorative power of sleep.
Avoid Prolonged Static Posture
It is important to pay attention to the joints and muscles of your spine and hip. Prevent fatigue and stresses on these joints by following simple tips, such as:
- Avoid excessive sitting or consider using a standing desk while you work. When you sit for a long duration, the pressure on your spinal discs increase. Aim to get up every hour and walk a short distance to take the load off your discs.
When you have a flare-up of symptoms, consider less exertive activities, such as reading a book, listening to music, or crafting. These activities can help divert your mind from the pain and let your back rest at the same time.
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Using A Pillow To Sleep Comfortably
Pillows arent just for stomach sleepers they can help prevent back pain no matter how you sleep. Using pillows for support can keep your spine in alignment and maintain its natural curve.If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees. If you sleep on your side, place a pillow between your knees or use a full body pillow to prevent yourself from rolling over onto your stomach at night.