How To Relieve Lower Back Pain By Sleeping With A Pillow
Improper sleeping postures can take a toll on your back. Here’s how to use a pillow to relieve lower back pain.
Hedy Phillips is a freelance lifestyle writer based in New York. While she’s not writing on topics like living on a budget and tips for city dwelling, she can usually be found at a concert or sightseeing in a new city. Over the past 10 years, her bylines have appeared in a number of publications, including POPSUGAR, Hunker, and more.
Back pain can present itself at any given time and be caused by several factors. Back pain is also one of the leading causes of disability worldwide. According to a University of Georgetown study, more than 65 million people complain to their doctors about back pain, and 8% of adults in the study report chronic back pain, or pain that lasts for weeks.
While you can see a doctor for treatment options relating to your back pain, there are some more holistic approaches you can take at home, like stretching, using a massage gun or sleeping with a pillow between your legs. For the latter, we’ll give you some tips on how this simple solution can provide some relief for back pain. That way, you’ll fall asleep in no time and stay asleep all night without experiencing any pain.
How Is Low Back Pain Treated
Most low back pain improves with self-care. This includes ice or heat and light activity such as walking. Use over-the-counter pain medicine as needed.
For severe symptoms or pain that continues after 2 weeks of self-care, see your doctor. You may benefit from other treatment, such as stronger medicine, exercises, or manual therapy.
There are a number of other treatments for back pain. You may need to try more than one to see what works best for you. Common treatments include acupuncture, massage, and yoga.
For chronic back pain, one type of treatment by itself may not help. The best plan is often a mix of treatments.
About Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is pain in the area of your back from the bottom of your ribs to the top of your legs. It can come from any of the many structures that make up your back. These include bones, joints, muscles, ligaments, nerves and tendons.
Your spine supports your back. Its made up of 24 separate bones called vertebrae stacked on top of one another. The lower section of your spine is called the lumbar spine. Below the vertebrae, at the bottom of your spine, are bones called your sacrum and coccyx. You may hear lower back pain referred to as lumbosacral pain.
Discs of cartilage sit between each vertebra, acting as shock absorbers and allowing your spine to bend. Some lower back pain originates from these discs. Your spinal cord threads through the vertebrae, carrying nerve signals between your brain and the rest of your body. If nerves at the base of your spine become compressed or inflamed, it can cause sciatica. Sciatica is a type of pain that starts in your back or buttocks and spreads down your leg.
Its usually difficult for doctors to say exactly whats causing back pain. This is because there are so many different parts to your back and tissues that surround it. Even tests such as X-rays and magnetic resonance imaging scans arent helpful for most people.
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Pain In The Ed: What To Really Expect
The ED is the place to go when youre having a medical emergency.
Back pain can hurt a lot. So much, that it can be overwhelming and feel like an emergency. But pack pain is almost never an emergency, and should not be considered one unless it is present with the symptoms described above. Moreover, the emergency department cant deliver the kind of help that people with back pain need.
If youre thinking of a trip to the emergency room, youre probably expecting that youll be able to get relief from your pain and have the cause of the pain identified. You expect the doctors there to run certain tests , give you a diagnosis, and then give you a shot or a pill that relieves your pain, at least temporarily.
With all the amazing technology and powerful drugs we have now days, its easy to think that all of this is possible, but its usually not. And so, people often leave the ED disappointed, with their expectations unmet. We have realized that many of these traditional ways of treating back pain simply dont work, and sometimes they can even make your pain worse in the long run.
If you have back pain, the best thing the emergency room will be able to do is make sure you dont have an emergency health condition. Once an emergency is ruled out, some simple education, reassurance, and guidelines for getting moving again are the best help we can give you. Usually, people expect to receive pain relief, and they are often disappointed.
Er Average Wait Times
ER wait times are approximate and provided for informational purposes only. If you are having a medical emergency, call 9-1-1.
The ER wait time represents the time it takes to see a qualified medical professional, defined as a Doctor of Medicine , Doctor of Osteopathy , Physician Assistant or Advanced Registered Nurse Practitioner .
ER wait times represent a four-hour rolling average updated every 30 minutes, and is defined as the time of patient arrival until the time the patient is greeted by a qualified medical professional. Patients are triaged at arrival and are then seen by a qualified medical professional in priority order based on their presenting complaint and reason for visit.
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If You Have These Symptoms You May Require Emergency Care
Lower back pain, which can occur anywhere from your rib cage to your buttocks, is often the result of lifting, reaching, twisting and stretching. Upper and middle back pain, in most cases, does get better with time and rest. If your back pain is unrelenting and not relieved by rest, you should immediately visit the closest emergency department. If the pain is accompanied by any of the following symptoms, you should also seek emergency care:
How Can Back Pain Be Prevented
In most cases, you can prevent back pain by making changes to your lifestyle.
Doing exercise helps to keep your back flexible and strong. Exercise improves your posture and helps your muscles to support your spine. Exercises that can help prevent back pain include:
- low-impact aerobic exercise
- strengthening exercises, such as lifting weights, climbing stairs or hiking hills
- stretching exercises, such as Pilates and yoga
Maintaining a good posture is important when you sit at home, in your workplace, or in your car. Try not to slouch, and use equipment that supports your back, such as a lumbar support or footstool if you need.
Keeping a healthy weight is also important. Excess fat can strain your back and lead to back pain, sciatica and inflammation.
Practise safe lifting in your home or workplace. Whenever you pick up a heavy load, squat down, hold the object close to your body, and lift with your legs.
- Quit smoking Smoking increases your chances of developing persistent back pain.
- Relax Learning relaxation techniques and mindfulness can help to reduce stress and muscle tension in your back.
- Avoid high heels wearing high heels can place strain on your back.
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How Common Is Flank Pain
Flank pain is very common. Nearly everyone gets flank pain at some point.
Kidney stones are one of the most common causes of flank pain. Every year in the United States, more than half a million people receive treatment for kidney stones. One in 10 people will get a kidney stone during their lifetime.
Ready To Address Your Back Pain
The University of Maryland Spine Network can help you put your pain behind you. With convenient locations throughout the state, the UM Spine Network is home to the region’s leading spine surgeons and specialists that can help you identify the source of your pain and put an end to it for good.
Put an end to your back pain. Find a spine specialist near you.
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Ways To Treat Chronic Back Pain Without Surgery
Back pain is considered chronic if it lasts three months or longer. It cancome and go, often bringing temporary relief, followed by frustration.Dealing with chronic back pain can be especially trying if you dont knowthe cause.
Why Go To An Orthopedic Doctor
There are a variety of medical doctors who treat specific sets of conditions. Because it is impossible for one physician to treat all types of conditions and injuries that affect the human body, doctors specialize in subfields of medicine. Through this specialization, a physician becomes an expert in a distinct subfield of medicine and can diagnose, treat, and prevent issues within that subfield. One such field is orthopedics.
An orthopedic physician is an expert on the musculoskeletal system . Because back pain is most often caused by injury or damage to one of these components in the back, orthopedic physicians are often referred to for diagnosis and treatment.
Using advanced education and training, orthopedic physicians can pinpoint the exact cause of the back pain. Back pain can be caused by a variety of reasons, including a fracture, herniated disc, muscle strain, or damage to connective tissue. Orthopedic doctors can correctly diagnose the exact cause of the back pain and recommend effective treatment for it.
Orthopedic physicians have access to state-of-the-art and advanced medical technology and treatments that are proven to be effective for musculoskeletal issues. Because of this, when a patient has back pain, orthopedic physicians can offer treatments that will give fast and effective results. Using various methods for pain reduction, which include injections, medication, and physical therapy, orthopedic physicians can offer long-term relief from back pain.
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Avoid Or Change Activities That Cause Pain
- Try to avoid too much bending, heavy lifting, or reaching. These movements put extra stress on your back.
- In bed, try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees. Or lie on your back on the floor with a pillow under your knees.
- When you sit, place a small pillow, a rolled-up towel, or a lumbar roll in the curve of your back for extra support.
- Try putting one foot up on a stool or changing positions every few minutes if you have to stand still for a period of time.
Other Types Of Spine Specialists
Orthopedists arent the only type of doctor that can treat back pain. Depending on whats causing your pain, you may need to see a:
- Neurologist Neurologists specialize in conditions affecting the nervous system.
- Physiatrist Physiatrists specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation.
- Rheumatologist Rheumatologists specialize in systemic autoimmune conditions and other diseases affecting the musculoskeletal system.
Keep in mind that insurance companies often require a referral from a primary care provider before theyll cover visits to a specialist, so you may want to start out by making an appointment with your PCP.
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How Will My Provider Determine The Cause Of Flank Pain
Your provider will examine you and gently feel the sensitive area. They will ask you where you feel pain and if it gets better or worse with certain activities. Tell them about any symptoms youre having in addition to flank pain.
Your provider may order several tests to look for signs of kidney stones, infection, injuries or disease. These tests include:
- Basic metabolic panel to be sure your kidney function remains normal and that there is no obstruction from a kidney stone.
- Complete blood test and urine tests, to see how your organs are working, check for infection and detect signs of cancer and other disease.
- CT scan or ultrasound, to look for kidney stones and check their size and shape.
- Cystoscopy, to diagnose problems in the lower urinary tract.
- Spine X-ray or MRI, to see detailed images of injuries or abnormalities in your spine.
How Do Healthcare Providers Treat Flank Pain
Treatments depend on whats causing flank pain. Depending on the cause, your provider may recommend:
- Antibiotics: Your provider will prescribe antibiotic medications to treat flank pain that results from an infection. Its essential to follow your providers instructions and take the entire course of antibiotics so the infection doesnt return.
- Extra water: If a small kidney stone is causing pain, you may be able to pass it by drinking a lot of water. Ask your provider how much you should drink. To remove larger stones, you may need medications or a minimally invasive procedure such as ureteroscopy or shockwave lithotripsy.
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs relieve pain and help you feel more comfortable as you heal. If pain is severe, you may need prescription drugs. Talk to your provider before taking any medication.
- Rest: Flank pain that results from a back sprain or strain often improves with rest. Ask your provider how long you should rest and when you can get back on your feet. Stretching, exercise and a physical therapy program can strengthen muscles in your spine and help you avoid another injury.
- Surgery: Some conditions may require surgery or other treatments. Talk to your provider about the most appropriate treatment plan for you.
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Imaging And Blood Tests
Most people do not need additional testing however, sometimes doctors order tests to rule out a specific cause for your pain or to confirm a cause for your back pain. Your doctor may order the following.
- X-rays only show bones and can help diagnose:
- Broken bones or fractures.
- Changes due to aging.
- Changes in the alignment of the spine.
You’ve Been In Pain For Over A Week
Most back pain will subside after a few days, but if you’ve been experiencing pain for over a week, then it’s time to call a doctor. Your doctor will perform any examinations or tests required to help get to the bottom of your pain before it could become a bigger problem. As is the case with many health conditions, prevention and addressing problems early is key.
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When Is Surgery A Good Idea For Back Pain
These red flags can be indicators for surgery, if theyre found to berelated to your spine condition:
- New or progressing bowel/bladder issues
- Weakness in limbs
- Gait and balance problems
- Evidence of increased reflexes
Surgery can also be an option for chronic back pain if there is a knowncause confirmed by imaging and if other treatments didnt help. Getopinions from at least two surgeons, suggests Nava, as pain can stillcome back after the surgery.
Back Pain And Pregnancy
Back pain during each trimester of your pregnancy can be common, and several causes are to blame. However, you should be sure to talk with your doctor about what youre experiencing, in case the pain may be part of a bigger problem.
Here are a few reasons why you may be experiencing back pain during pregnancy:
Shifting center of gravity
As your baby grows, the center of your bodys gravity moves outward. Your spine and back arch to make up for the change in balance. This put extra stress on the lower lumbar spine.
Weight gain can be a healthy part of pregnancy, but even the little bit youre likely to gain during those 9 months can put more stress on your back and core muscles.
As your body prepares to deliver the baby, it releases hormones that loosen the ligaments that stabilize your pelvis and lumbar spine. These same hormones can cause the bones in your spine to shift, which may lead to discomfort and pain.
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Which Type Of Doctor Should I Visit For Lower Back Pain
From temporary aches to disabling chronic pain, lower back pain affects millions of people each year. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, about 80% of people will experience lower back pain at some time in their lives. There are many kinds of back specialists, so if you’re asking yourself, “Which type of doctor should I visit for lower back pain?,” you’ll want to read on.