Types Of Lower Back Pain
There are two primary types of lower back pain: acute and chronic.
- Acute lower back pain is short-term, lasting for just a few days up to a few weeks. It is often connected to an identifiable event or injury. When acute back pain fades, there is no ongoing effect on mobility.
- Chronic lower back pain goes on for three months or longer. In many cases, it occurs without a clear link to an initial injury.
Lower back pain that starts as acute may become chronic. It is estimated that around 20% of cases of acute low back pain persist and become chronic.
Do You Have Lower Back Pain In The Morning
Some people find that their back pain is worse in the morning, while others have more pain at the end of a long workday. Its important to pay attention to the times when your pain spikes because it could be an indication of the cause of your pain.
Its estimated that about 65 million people in the United States have experienced recent back pain, with about 16 million people having chronic back pain problems. When this pain persists, it can disrupt all aspects of daily living, making it hard to keep up with your responsibilities at home and work.
Not only does back pain make it difficult to get through the day, but this health concern can also be expensive. Direct costs include doctors visits, therapy appointments, pain medication, massage, and other services to reduce or eliminate the pain. Indirect costs of chronic back pain include missed work or lost opportunities because you arent feeling up to the job.
Even though back pain is a common complaint, you dont have to suffer from this discomfort indefinitely. Modern medical treatments might be used to help you manage the pain, so you can return to a normal, healthy lifestyle once again.
Every situation is unique, so the treatment outcomes vary. The most important step is to identify the root cause of your back pain. Then, a customized treatment plan can be designed to alleviate your discomfort.
Pillowing Strategies For Side Sleepers
If you are a side sleeper, consider the following pillow strategy.
Put padding between your knees to raise your top leg a bit. This small lift of the top leg may keep your hip and knee in good alignment, which may, in turn, help relax the hip muscles and keep them from straining. Improving your hip and knee alignment may also help avoid strain or irritation in the hip jointone less thing to keep you up during the night.
Along with that, you might use a pillow to fill up the space between the bed and your waist. The same idea applies to your neck curve. Consider positioning your pillow such that part of it is under your neck which thereby fills in the space between your neck and the bed, providing more support for your neck curve.
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Exercises To Fix Back Pain At Home
After stretching the area and getting an understanding of your individual range of motion and pain tolerance the next step to fixing back pain at home is to strengthen the surrounding musculature.
This is important to reduce the likelihood of injury again and restore full range of motion in the future â pain-free.
Pillowing Strategies For Back Sleepers
Supine is, in general, a recommended position. Along with other positive health benefits, it allows you to establish good body alignment, which may help decrease joint strain and relieve any pain that is associated with a muscle strain.
But in this positionas with side sleepinga bit of padded support can go a long way towards helping you get a night’s sleep. In this case, it’s the knees.
For many people, lying on their back with their knees fully extended creates low back strain. This position pulls the pelvis out of its normal alignment and leads to an arched position of the low back. Sleeping all night with your back arched may tighten low back muscles and cause pain.
So if you support the back of your knees by putting a pillow under them, your legs will likely rest in a slightly bent position, which in turn will encourage a more neutral pelvic position. This is another excellent way to relieve joint strain and low back pain during the night.
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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 weight and 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.
Check Out Your Mattress If You Have Lower Back Pain While Sleeping
It might not be immediately apparent that your mattress is all or partially to blame for your back pain, but there are a few telltale signs to look out for. The most important thing to evaluate is how you feel after waking. Feeling any sort of stiffness, numbness, or achiness in the joints could be a sign that you need a new mattress.
Secondly, how old is your mattress? If its several years old and looks lumpy or has springs poking out, it may be time to invest in a new one. While many mattresses are rated to last ten to 20 years, they dont always last that long. The Better Sleep Council recommends people examine their mattresses every five years or so to identify excessive wear and tear, and buy a replacement if necessary, according to WebMD. On Prevention.com, they also mention a study from Oklahoma State University that found that most people who switched to new bedding after 5 years slept significantly better and had less back pain.
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Treating Lower Back Pain: How Much Bed Rest Is Too Much
Back pain is one of the most common reasons why people visit a health care provider. The good news is that the pain often goes away on its own, and people usually recover in a week or two. Many people want to stay in bed when their back hurts. For many years, getting bed rest was the normal advice. But current studies recommend no bed rest at all and stress that staying in bed longer than 48 hours not only wont help but it may, in fact, actually delay your recovery. Heres why:
Staying in bed wont help you get better faster.If youre in terrible pain, lying down for a day to help ease the distress may seem like a good idea, but moderating your activities and staying active in a limited way is a more effective way to control your symptoms. Research suggests that if you can find comfortable positions and keep moving, you may not need bed rest at all.Research shows that:
- Lying down longer than a day or two day isnt helpful for relieving back pain.
- People can recover more quickly without any bed rest.
- The sooner you start moving, even a little bit, or return to activities such as walking, the faster you are likely to improve.
Who needs bed rest?Almost no one! The only people who might require time in bed are those with unstable spinal fractures awaiting surgery.
When should I see a health care provider?You should see your health care provider right away if:
- Heat or ice
Check with your health care provider before starting an exercise program.
How To Train Yourself To Sleep On Your Back
When you are naturally used to resting in a certain position, it can be challenging to adjust to something new and to try to train yourself to sleep on your back, mainly if you have been sleeping one way for years or even decades. However, the following tricks should help make it easier to modify how you sleep so that you may be able to reap the benefits mentioned above.
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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.
The Best Sleeping Positions For Your Back
Sleeping position is very important when it comes to pain management and getting a good nights sleep, for that matter. We ranked the sleeping positions, back, stomach and side, from best to worst for your health:
First Place: The Back
All of our experts unanimously agreed sleeping on your back is the best position for your chiropractic health, hands down. Your body rests most naturally in this position, which reduces the amount of stress on your spine and neck.
Sleeping on your back is the best position for your chiropractic health, says Dr. Dulka. This is the position your body naturally rests in so its easy to maintain.
Dr. Bautch tells us when our whole body rests in its neutral position, it allows:
- Our digestive system to reset
- The healing phase of sleep to occur
- Hormone levels to regulate
You should know that even if you sleep on your back, it doesnt mean your posture is 100% in the clear. For example, sleeping on your back with your pelvis twisted can cause problems. The most important thing to aim for is keeping your pelvis and spine in alignment.
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Second Place: The Side
If you cant sleep on your back, our experts would suggest sleeping on your side next. After all, most people are side-sleepers. The reason sleeping on your side is not as good as sleeping on your back is because it puts pressure on your hips and shoulders.
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Last Place: The Stomach
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Do Morning Stretches In Bed
Simple stretching exercises can relieve back pain, and there are stretches you can do before you get out of bed.
For example, you can lie on your back and do a full-body stretch when you first wake up. For this exercise, stretch your arms and hands above your head as far as you can, with your legs and feet stretching in the opposite direction. Hold for a few seconds before releasing.
It may also help to stretch out your lower back. To do this, you can bring your knees into your chest and hold, wrapping your arms around them. Then gently rock from side to side.
When To See A Healthcare Provider
Everybody handles pain differently. Still, it’s a good idea to talk to your healthcare provider right away if your pain:
- Began with a specific injury
- Wakes you up at night
- Keeps you from sleeping
- Travels to other parts of the body, like your legs
- Comes with signs of infection such as redness, warmth, swelling, or fever
- Comes with weakness, numbness, or tingling in your lower body
You may want to start by checking with your primary healthcare provider. They will be able to treat or refer you to a specialist if needed.
For example, if your healthcare provider thinks your pain may be caused by an inflammatory condition, you may need to see a rheumatologist. A rheumatologist specializes in arthritis and diseases that involve the bones, muscles, and joints.
You may find it helpful to know how pain is categorized:
- Acute pain is short-term–a few days or weeks. It often happens after an injury or specific event.
- Chronic pain is longer-term. It may last for several months or more. In many cases, it isn’t from an injury.
It’s a good idea to seek immediate medical care if you have low back pain and a personal history of cancer. Your pain may need urgent treatment if you also have unexplained weight loss or sudden bladder control issues.
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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.
Side Sleepers: Keep Your Hips Stacked
If youre a side sleeper, place a firm, flat pillow between your knees.1 The pillow will align your lower spine with your hips and prevent the leg on top from creating pressure on your lower back and/or pelvis. This position also helps relieve stresses in your lower spine, creating room for your spinal nerves.
Use a head pillow to slightly raise your head so that your shoulders are in alignment.
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Change Up Your Sleep Position Or Mattress
Switching to a more supportive sleep position can reduce lower back pain. Also consider how you can use pillows or invest in a new mattress to support better spinal alignment and relieve lower back pain.
Research suggests medium firm mattresses are the best mattresses for back pain. In one study of people with low back pain, those who slept on medium firm mattresses reported lower pain scores both during sleep and upon getting up in the morning.
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!
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What Causes Upper Back Pain
Upper back pain before and after sleeping can be brought on by several factors, including poor posture, overuse injuries, excess sitting and hunching if you work in an office, sports injuries, and muscle strains. Other factors like being overweight, smoking, and even heavy backpacks and purses frequently create upper back pain problems. One often overlooked cause is sleeping position.
Bill Fish, certified sleep science specialist and co-owner of Tuck Sleep, points out, There is no question that your preferred sleeping position could result in some back pain. According to Fish, 41 percent of people sleep in the fetal position. Its also the most popular sleeping position and helps keep your spine aligned at night. With the proper mattress and pillow support for your neck, shoulders, and hips, sleeping on your back will also relieve any pressure on the spine.
If you are sleeping on your stomach and notice you are suffering some back pain, there probably is a reason, Fish says, It knocks your spine completely out of alignment. He points out that the upper back pain comes from your bodys weight pushing the core into the sleep surface and misaligning the spine.
Much like when recovering from back surgery, it is important to adjust your sleeping positions to minimize discomfort overnight for your upper back pain.
A simple change to help stop upper back pain before and after sleep includes standing often and moving periodically.