About Orthopaedic & Spine Center Of The Rockies
The physicians and staff of the Orthopaedic & Spine Center of the Rockies have taken great pleasure in serving the people of northern Colorado, Wyoming, and Nebraska since our founding in 1969.
Our orthopaedic surgeons have advanced training or board certification in surgery of the back and neck, hand and upper extremity , hip, knee, shoulder, foot and ankle, orthopaedic trauma, and joint replacements.
Get Exercise Throughout The Day
Regular exercise throughout the day is key to alleviating back pain. Walking is among the best exercises, and you should aim for at least 10,000 steps per day. However, anything that gets you moving and on your feet can help keep your back strong.
Also, if you have an office job that involves sitting, its important to take frequent breaks. Stand up at least once every 30 minutes and stretch. Standing desks can also help keep the pressure off your back during the day at work so you wont suffer the consequences the next morning.
Youre Sleeping On Your Back
Sleeping on your back is generally considered to be the best position for your spine. This is because it keeps your spine in a neutral position and doesnt put any extra strain on your back.
However, if you dont have proper support while sleeping on your back, it can actually lead to more pain. This is because your spine can start to sag in the middle, which puts pressure on the disks in your back.
To avoid this, be sure to use a pillow beneath your knees. This will help keep your spine in alignment and reduce the amount of pressure on your back.
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Can I Prevent Lower Back Pain
You cant prevent lower back pain that results from disease or structural problems in the spine. But you can avoid injuries that cause back pain.
To reduce your risk of a back injury, you should:
- Maintain a healthy weight: Excess weight puts pressure on vertebrae and disks.
- Strengthen your abdominal muscles: Pilates and other exercise programs strengthen core muscles that support the spine.
- Lift the right way: To avoid injuries, lift with your legs . Hold heavy items close to your body. Try not to twist your torso while youre lifting.
How Can You Help Treat Or Relieve Lower Back Pain When You Wake Up
Some methods you can try to relieve your lower back pain in the morning include:
Stretch before getting out of bed. While you lie on your back, stretch your arms up over your head as far as possible. At the same time, stretch your feet out in the other direction. Now, draw your knees towards your chest and hold to stretch your lower back. You can also rock gently from side to side if it feels helpful for relieving your discomfort.
Then, sit up with your feet planted on the floor shoulder-width apart and stretch your arms to the ceiling and to the sides for an all-over stretch.
Exercising during the day is important for easing back pain. One of the best exercises you can do is walking, which can help you to develop a resilient back. This can be achieved by aiming for 5,000-10,000 steps a day. If this is too much, try swimming to ease the stress on your back.
It’s also important you take frequent breaks, particularly if you work in an occupation which involves lots of sitting . Every 30 minutes, stand up and stretch. You may want to consider a standing desk that will help keep your spine mobile at work.
3. Over-the-counter medications
Sometimes, moderate-to-severe back pain will require immediate relief. Talk with your doctor about possibly taking painkillers like ibuprofen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs . NSAIDs also help reduce the inflammation that can contribute to your pain and discomfort.
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Choose Sleep Positions That Support Pain Relief
How you sleep plays an important role in managing back pain, as certain positions place more strain on the back than others. Generally, back sleeping and supported side sleeping are regarded as most ergonomic, while stomach sleeping tends to be most associated with pain. Whichever position you prefer, here are tips for staying comfortable.
Side sleeping is the most common position, especially among women. While it can place some strain on the body, ensuring your hips and shoulders are supported can make it comfortable.
Ideally, side sleepers should bend both knees in slightly and place a small pillow between their legs to prevent hips from twisting and placing stress on the back. If your legs are too straight, this can exaggerate the curve of your lower back, but if your legs are drawn in too tightly, your back may round and both can cause pain. Getting the best mattress for side sleepers is also important to consider for comfort and support.
Your neck pillow should be the right height to keep your neck and spine straight and even, generally higher than pillows needed for back sleepers. Your chin shouldnt be drawn in to your chest or leaned too far back. Think natural standing position.
Conditions that may see more relief from proper side sleeping include osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis and foraminal herniated disc, as the position can reduce pressure on spinal joints.
How Should I Sleep To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Its a common question and one that doesnt have a straightforward answer.
Most people would assume that the best way to sleep is on your back, but this can actually aggravate lower back pain. The reason is that when you lie flat on your back, the weight of your body presses down on the mattress, and this can put a strain on your back.
The best way to sleep is actually on your side, with a pillow between your legs. This takes the pressure off your back and will help to keep it in alignment. If you find it difficult to stay on your side, you can try sleeping with a pillow under your knees. This will help to keep your back in a neutral position.
If youre a stomach sleeper, its best to try and break this habit. Sleeping on your stomach can cause misalignment in your spine and put a strain on your lower back. If you cant switch to sleeping on your side or back, then place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen. This will help to take the pressure off your back.
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What Causes Lower Back Pain
Many injuries, conditions and diseases can cause lower back pain. They include:
- Strains and sprains: Back strains and sprains are the most common cause of back pain. You can injure muscles, tendons or ligaments by lifting something too heavy or not lifting safely. Some people strain their back by sneezing, coughing, twisting or bending over.
- Fractures: The bones in the spine can break during an accident, like a car crash or a fall. Certain conditions increase the risk of fractures.
- Disk problems: Disks cushion the vertebrae . Disks can bulge from their position in the spine and press on a nerve. They can also tear . With age, disks can get flatter and offer less protection .
- Structural problems: A condition called spinal stenosis happens when the spinal column is too narrow for the spinal cord. Something pinching the spinal cord can cause severe sciatic nerve pain and lower back pain. Scoliosis can lead to pain, stiffness and difficulty moving.
- Arthritis: Osteoarthritis is the most common type of arthritis to cause lower back pain. Ankylosing spondylitis causes lower back pain, inflammation and stiffness in the spine.
- Disease:Spine tumors, infections and several types of cancer can cause back pain. Other conditions can cause back pain, too. These include kidney stones and abdominal aortic aneurysm.
- Spondylolisthesis: This condition causes the vertebrae in the spine to slip out of place. Spondylolisthesis leads to low back pain and often leg pain as well.
Your Sleep Position Could Be Causing Your Back Pain
Theres never a moment during your waking hours that your back isnt performing some critical role from supporting your body to providing range of motion. So the last thing you want to do is create problems for this important structure while you sleep which is the one time your back should be allowed to rest. Unfortunately, many people are doing just that because of poor sleeping positions.
At Mass Ave Chiropractic, Dr. Joe Kielur and our team understand the foundational role that your spine plays in your overall musculoskeletal health and why its important to take extra care when it comes to your back. To that end, weve pulled together a few points on sleeping positions and how they can either cause or relieve back pain.
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Sleep In A Fetal Position
This is another helpful on how to relieve lower back pain while sleeping. You just lie gently on your side and tuck your knees slightly toward your chest and curl in a fetal position. It is important that you switch sides once in a while to prevent possible stiffness and imbalances. This position is highly recommended for those with lower back because of a herniated disk. A herniated disk pushes off the natural cushion out of its normal space, hence, the pain and weakness. When you curl into a position, then you open and relax the space between your vertebrae, providing relief in the process.
Why Pain In This Region Matters
Morning pain in your lower back is usually an indication of several health factors. It may be due to certain lifestyle habits likes carrying extra weight or living a sedentary life. This may cause repeated wear and tear on the muscles on your lower back while placing addition pressure and strain.
Repetitive motions like improper lifting and twisting can damage the tissue and muscles that help movement. And excessive standing without rest, can add pressure on your spinal column.
Mechanical issues that contribute to pain in your lower back while walking or standing can be described when functionality is limited when different components of the spinal column begin to fail. If you have a disease that is impacting the health of your spine, you can experience pain when these regions of the body begin to disintegrate.
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Osteomyelitis In Children And Adults
In children, osteomyelitis is usually acute. Acute osteomyelitis comes on quickly, is easier to treat, and overall turns out better than chronic osteomyelitis. In children, osteomyelitis usually shows up in arm or leg bones.
In adults, osteomyelitis can be either acute or chronic. People with diabetes, HIV, or peripheral vascular disease are more prone to chronic osteomyelitis, which persists or recurs, despite treatment. Whether chronic or acute, osteomyelitis often affects an adult’s pelvis or vertebrae of the spine. It can also occur in the feet, especially in a person with diabetes.
Enjoy Better Sleep With Less Back And Neck Pain
Sleeping on your back and with sufficient head support on your side will keep your spine in its natural position through the night, helping alleviate your back and neck pain. Various stretches can also enable you to sleep more comfortably. Try these tips so that you wake up feeling ready to tackle the day.
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Can Nocturnal Back Pain Be A Sign Of Something Serious
Guidelines for discovering serious spinal health problems list a number of “red flags,” among them nocturnal back pain.
Nocturnal back pain can be a symptom of spinal tumors. It could be a primary tumor, one that originates in the spine, or it could be a metastatic tumor, one that results from cancer that started elsewhere in the body and then spread to the spine.
Nocturnal back pain is also a symptom of spinal bone infection and ankylosing spondylitis , a condition that can cause the spine to fuse in a fixed, immobile position.
Other “red flags” include:
The Four Best Sleeping Positions For Back Pain
The best sleep position is lying on your back. If you feel uncomfortable sleeping this way, youre not alone. Many people find that sleeping on their back causes them to snore, or they just cant feel comfy in that position.
Everyone sleeps in their own unique way. Here are a few sleeping positions you can try to help reduce your back pain and catch more zs.
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Can You Strain A Muscle While Sleeping
Though its not common, you can injure yourself while you slumber. You can inflict injury on yourself when you sleep in an awkward position and put too much pressure on a muscle.
For example, you can injure yourself when you sleep on your arm or with your legs crossed for too long. Another way to strain a muscle while sleeping is by having a nightmare and thrashing around in bed. Though rare, this can lead to pulled muscles or other injuries.
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.
If lying flat on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting over to your side:
Whether you use one pillow or opt for two, you should resist the urge to always sleep on the same side. Doing so many cause issues like muscle imbalance and even scoliosis.
How does this position help? Sleeping on your side alone wont make you feel better. Its using the pillow between your knees thats the trick. The pillow will keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment.
If you have a herniated disc, you may want to try sleeping on your side curled in a fetal position:
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Connecting Inflammaging To The Curse Of Morning Back Pain
This is an interesting topic, but does it have anything to do with morning pain or back pain specifically?
The morning connection isnt much of a reach: for whatever reason, inflammatory diseases are notoriously morning-o-centric , and so its reasonable to assume that less serious inflammation has a thing for the morning too. We also know only just recently that the body can suppress inflammation at night, pumping out an anti-inflammatory protein on a schedule,11 which probably accounts for some morning pain and stiffness as the suppression wears off. No one knows anything about how to actually control that effect, but at least we know it exists.
The back connection is trickier. Being overweight is less of a risk factor for back pain than most people think,12 so theres no obvious association with metabolic syndrome. If there is a connection, it might be that the spinal joints are among the first structures to be affected by inflammation and not necessarily because they are more fragile or harder working than, say, knees, but perhaps because the brain is quite over-protective about the back, and more likely to raise the alarm sooner.13 Also, we do know that metabolic syndrome is associated with at least some common pain problems, like neck pain.14
Alternative Treatments For Back Pain Relief
No two people experience back pain and sleep problems in the exact same way, so its worth exploring a variety of techniques until you figure out what works best for you. You dont have to only treat your back pain before you sleep either.
Other ways to relieve lower back pain include:
- Using a heating pad or electric blanket
- Massaging area with ointment that includes cayenne pepper, which reduces pain
- Practicing progressive muscle relaxation to help with physical and mental tension
- Acupuncture sessions, which has been shown to decrease pain after 12 months
A doctor or other healthcare professional can also make personalized recommendations for sleeping better with lower back pain, and prescribe medication as needed.
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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.