What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Lower Back Pain
If you suffer from lower back pain, youre not alone. If you want to solve the problem once and for all, youre not alone in that either! The good news is that because lower back pain is so prevalent, there is plenty of research telling you how to alleviate your symptoms. By making simple changes, like using a lumbar pillow at work and adjusting to good sleeping positions for lower back pain, you can take strain off your back and say goodbye to constant aches.
Ice Your Back Immediately After Exercise To Reduce Muscle Soreness
Muscle soreness and back pain can occur from extensive workouts, trying a new type of work out, or even from excessive walking. Soreness from these activities may start on the first day but typically continues to peak until the third day.4 This phenomenon is called delayed onset muscle soreness and can cause significant inflammation and pain in your back.
When you have back pain from exercise or exertion, use cold therapy immediately after the activity to reduce tissue damage, inflammation, and pain. After a 24-hour period, use heat therapy to encourage tissue healing.4
What To Do With Lower Back Pain
Somewhere between total bed rest and exercising through lower back pain is a middle ground, or a sweet spot like the one Goldilocks aimed to find. If there are red flags of pain, curtail what you are doing. Your goal should be to work around the pain, not through it. Find other ways to stay active that dont make the pain worse or might cause further injury.
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Can Further Bouts Of Back Pain Be Prevented
Evidence suggests that the best way to prevent bouts of low back pain is simply to keep active and to exercise regularly. This means general fitness exercise such as walking, running, swimming, etc. There is no firm evidence to say that any particular back strengthening exercises are more useful to prevent back pain than simply keeping fit and active. It is also sensible to be back-aware. For example, do not lift objects when you are in an awkward twisting posture.
Will A New Mattress Help
Many times, yes- buying a new orthopedic mattress will significantly help your lower back pain. For a lot of people, switching to a new sleeping position is easier said than done. You may try to fall asleep in one of the good sleeping positions for lower back pain, but as soon as youre fully asleep you roll back over to your stomach and spend the rest of the night that way. This is precisely why having a supportive mattress needs to be a big part of your plan to eliminate your pain.
The right amount of back support helps you avoid any type of pain or soreness in the morning. A good mattress is one that provides support for your natural curves and the alignment of your spine. Does this mean a Firm mattress? Maybe, but maybe not. A supportive mattress doesnt need to be hard, it just needs to be made in the right way to keep your spine aligned properly. There is no single mattress style or type that works for all people with low back pain. Find a comfortable one that works for you!
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Dont Stay In One Position All Night
You might be afraid of moving from one position to the other during the night, but its actually okay and desired to move some while sleeping. Any sleeping position, even if its a good one, can add up to too much pressure on your back if you stay there all night. Plus, theres a risk of additional pain or muscle imbalance from this.
Symptoms Of Lower Back Pain
Sometimes a pain may develop immediately after you lift something heavy, or after an awkward twisting movement. Sometimes it can develop for no apparent reason. Some people just wake up one day with low back pain.
Although nonspecific back pain is sometimes called simple back pain, simple does not mean that the pain is mild. The severity of the pain can range from mild to severe. Typically, the pain is in one area of the lower back but sometimes it spreads to one or both buttocks or thighs. The pain is usually eased by lying down flat. It is often made worse if you move your back, cough, or sneeze. So, nonspecific low back pain is mechanical in the sense that it varies with posture or activity.
Most people with a bout of nonspecific low back pain improve quickly, usually within a week or so, sometimes a bit longer. However, once the pain has eased or gone it is common to have further bouts of pain from time to time in the future. Also, it is common to have minor pains on and off for quite some time after an initial bad bout of pain. In a small number of cases the pain persists for several months or longer. This is called chronic back pain .
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Why Do Some People Get Lower Back Pain
In a study by the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke , lower back pain is reported to be experienced by at least 80% of Americans in their lifetime. The lower back consists of a series of interwoven structures and includes five vertebrae of the lumbar spine. Its complexity means that there are a lot of reasons you might run into back pain.
For instance, sitting with poor posture at your office desk can result in chronic pain. Lower back pain can also be a result of injuries, such as muscle sprains, or a pull when lifting a heavy object.
Your pain might also be a symptom of more serious diseases, from spinal cord cancer, sciatica, arthritis, and even kidney infections, so its always worth checking with your physician to locate the source of your issue.
What Is Ibuprofen Or Naproxen
Ibuprofen and Naproxen are also very popular over-the-counter pain relievers and fever reducers. They belong to a class of drugs called Non-steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs . Similar to Tylenol, these drugs are also used for many types of pain including headaches, muscle aches, sprains and strains , menstrual pain, and certain types of arthritis. They are also found in many cough and cold medications because they can reduce fever in both adults and children.
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Unexplained Acute Low Back Pain
Unexplained low back pain means chronic pain that comes on gradually, over time, with no specific injury, event, or illness causing it.
- Prolonged sitting and lack of fitness can weaken back muscles and cause pain from lack of support.
- Ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis.
- Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column that puts pressure on the spinal cord.
- Certain types of cancer, in rare cases.
Those most susceptible are over 30, overweight and/or pregnant, and not physically fit. Smoking interferes with healing after any sort of stress to the back.
If there are additional symptoms, medical care should be sought: fever, unexplained weight loss, leg weakness or numbness, or trouble urinating.
An exact diagnosis is made through blood tests and through imaging such as x-rays, CT scan, or MRI.
Once more serious causes are ruled out, treatment may include medications to ease pain, swelling, and inflammation. Steroid injections are useful in some cases.
Overall, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight can be very helpful with easing chronic low back pain.
Top Symptoms: lower back pain, back pain that shoots to the butt, fever, back pain
Symptoms that always occur with unexplained acute low back pain:lower back pain
Symptoms that never occur with unexplained acute low back pain:buttocks numbness, thigh numbness, involuntary defecation, fever
What Does It Mean If Lower Back Pain Is Shooting Into Legs
Lower back pain can radiate to other parts of the body: up or down from its place of origin. Sometimes lower back pain can be on one side of the back, which is also normal.
If the pain is shooting from the lower back into one or both legs, it could be sciatica , but its not always the case. There are many parts in the lower back that may cause the pain to radiate into the legs, such as facet joints, sacroiliac joints, muscles or inflammation of the bursa.
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Tips To Strengthen Your Back
Flexion and extension exercises are commonly used to prevent low back pain. Be sure to review with the doctor any program you are considering.
Easy Low Back Exercises
- Ankle Pumps: Lie on your back and move ankles up and down.
- Heel Slides: Lie on your back and bend then straighten the knees one at a time.
- Wall Squats: With your back flat against a wall, sit like you would in a chair with your knees lined up over your ankles. Gently press against the wall, keeping your abdominal muscles tight. Hold for five seconds.
- Single Knee to Chest Stretch: Lying down with back flat, pull your knee into the chest.
How Do I Know If My Mattress Is Causing Back Pain
Because back pain can be caused by many things, its often difficult to pinpoint whether or not your mattress is the culprit. If your back pain is worse in the morning, thats a good sign that your mattress isnt providing proper support. You may also find yourself tossing and turning throughout the night. Additionally, if your mattress is more than seven years old, thats another clue it might be time to invest in a new one.
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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.
Finding Lower Back Pain Relief
Nearly everyone will experience some form of back pain in his or her lifetime. The low back is the area behind the belly from the rib cage to the pelvis and is also called the lumbar region. Back pain is a major cause of missed work. Low back pain usually resolves on its own and is commonly the result of a strain injury. There are many treatments for low back pain.
At Risk for Lower Back Pain?
Low back pain can start in a person’s early twenties and continue on throughout adulthood. Studies have shown that up to 80% of the general population are affected by low back pain at some time during their lives. Learn to prevent lower back pain by knowing what activities could be putting you at risk.
Common Causes of Low Back Pain
- Manual materials handling
- Twisting of the trunk
- Bending the trunk to the side
- Excessive reaching
- Extreme tallness
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What Can Cause Lower Back Pain
Most acute low back pain is mechanical in nature, meaning that there is a disruption in the way the components of the back fit together and move. Some examples of mechanical causes of low back pain include:
- Skeletal irregularities such as scoliosis , lordosis , kyphosis , and other congenital anomalies of the spine.
- Spina bifida which involves the incomplete development of the spinal cord and/or its protective covering and can cause problems involving malformation of vertebrae and abnormal sensations and even paralysis.
- Sprains , strains , and spasms
- Traumatic Injury such as from playing sports, car accidents, or a fall that can injure tendons, ligaments, or muscle causing the pain, as well as compress the spine and cause discs to rupture or herniate.
- Intervertebral disc degeneration which occurs when the usually rubbery discs wear down as a normal process of aging and lose their cushioning ability.
- Spondylosis the general degeneration of the spine associated with normal wear and tear that occurs in the joints, discs, and bones of the spine as people get older.
- Arthritis or other inflammatory disease in the spine, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis as well as spondylitis, an inflammation of the vertebrae.
Nerve and spinal cord problems
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.
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Who Should I See For Lower Back Pain
Your primary care physician knows you best and should be your first contact for lower back pain. If he or she is unable to diagnose or treat the issue, you may get referred to a specialist, such as a rehabilitation physician . These specialists practice a comprehensive approach to lower back pain, and can diagnose and treat a variety of conditions that have lower back pain as a symptom.
Later, you may get referred to a physical therapist, a chiropractor or another practitioner depending on the nature of your back pain. The good news is that surgery is rarely needed for lower back pain. Only about one in ten patients needs lower back surgery, Chhatre says.
What Role Does X
Your doctor may recommend an x-ray or MRI if your lower back pain resulted from traumatic injury, such as a fall or car accident. Of course, that doesnt mean other potential causes of lower back pain do not warrant medical imaging immediately or at a later time.
Keep in mind, the diagnostic process starts with the doctors evaluation of your lower back symptoms and how they relate to findings from your physical and neurological examination and medical history. Combined, your doctor utilizes these results to determine the need for spinal imagingas well as the type of imaging test and timing to confirm a diagnosis .
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Creating Optimal Spinal Alignment
When we enter slow-wave sleep, our muscles are not paralyzed like in REM periods, and we may move around. This could mean rolling around and winding up in odd sleeping positions. If you have a mattress with zoned support, this shouldnt be a big deal as long as you dont wind yourself into a pretzel. The mattress should do the work in letting your shoulders and hips sink in a little while supporting the spine.
However, if youre on an ultra-hard bed and end up on your side, you could end up messing with the spinal curve, and if youre already dealing with pain and inflammation, this isnt great news.
Mattresses have come a long way in the past few years and many companies have realized the benefits of proper spinal alignment for sleep. When youre laying on the side, proper alignment should be fairly straight, allowing the hips and shoulders to sink in slightly while supporting the middle. Mattresses that offer zoned support tend to be great at this.
When sleeping on your back, there should be a slight curve in the spine, with support in the mid and low back, while allowing the neck to rest backward. If you live in the twenty-first century, you probably spend a fair amount of time looking at screens. Whether on your phone, a computer, or a gaming device.
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Is It Time For Back Surgery
Back surgery is often a last resort when all other treatment options have been tried. Surgery may be considered an option to relieve pain caused by serious musculoskeletal injuries or nerve compression resulting from vertebrae shifting or collapsing.
Back surgeries often have a long recovery period, and some patients may lose mobility and flexibility post-surgery. It is also important to note that not all surgical procedures are successful. As such, it is important for patients to talk with their physicians and know all of the risks associated with a procedure before undergoing back surgery.
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There Are Different Types Of Back Pain
Back pain can be acute or chronic . It can feel like a sudden, sharp pain or a dull, constant ache.
Acute back pain lasts from a few days to a few weeks. Its often caused by an accident, fall, or lifting something thats too heavy. Acute back pain usually gets better on its own, without any treatment. But there may be times when you need to get medical care. Find out when to call a doctor or nurse about back pain.
Chronic back pain lasts for more than 3 months. Its much less common than acute back pain. Most chronic back pain can be treated without surgery.
When May A Low Back X
While x-rays are sometimes called the workhorses of the radiology department, this type of spinal imaging test is best at detecting bony structural problems rather than soft tissue injury. An x-ray series may be performed to diagnose vertebral compression fracture that may be related to the patients history of osteoporosis.
Unlike x-rays, MRI is a radiation-free test. MRI renders detailed three-dimensional anatomical views of spinal bone and soft tissues. Sometimes, a contrast agent or dye is used to highlight and improve the quality of the MR images. The contrast is injected through an intravenous line in your hand or arm before or during a test phase. An MRI may be necessary to evaluate neurological symptoms,2 such as radiating pain or back pain that develops in a patient previously diagnosed with cancer.
Listed below are symptoms and co-existing medical diagnoses and conditions that may suggest the need for lumbar spine image tests.
- Lower back pain that radiates downward into the buttocks and legs
- Abnormal reflexes in the lower body
- Sensations of numbness, tingling and/or weakness develop
- Foot drop
- Dysfunction or loss of bowel and/or bladder control
Co-existing medical diagnoses and conditions
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