What To Look For In A Mattress
Your mattress matters too.
Doctors used to recommend very firm orthopedic mattresses to people with lower back pain. But dont go out and buy one just yet. Recent surveys have shown that people who use extremely firm mattresses may have the poorest sleep.
That said, a mattress thats too soft wont help very much with alignment.
If you have the funds to buy something new, try choosing a firm or medium-firm mattress made with good-quality innersprings or foam. You may also improve the innerspring mattress you already own by adding a memory foam mattress topper.
It may be difficult to tell if that mattress at the store really feels comfortable after only a few minutes of testing. Some companies let you test out a mattress over a set period of time and then return it if its not for you.
Not in the market right now? You can see if a firmer mattress would help you by placing an inexpensive plywood board under your current mattress. You can even place your mattress on the floor to see if lessening the movement of the springs helps with your pain.
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.
Get Out Of Bed The Right Way
As SpineUniverse explains:
Lastly, make sure you are getting out bed properly. Unfortunately, the majority of people will sit up, twist their back to prepare to get into a standing position, and use their back to stand. This method is incorrect. The proper way to exit a bed upon waking is to roll onto your side and use your arm to push up from the side-lying position. From this position, scoot to the very edge of the bed and get up using your legs, not your back.
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Is How I Sleep Causing My Lower Back Pain
February 11, 2022 By Simone Bueno
Do you experience lower back pain after you wake up? If you do, youre not alone. About 75% of all Americans experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. There are many possible causes of back pain, including diseases and postural problems. However, sometimes, its not as overt as that: something as simple as how you sleep can cause lower back pain.
Be Careful Getting In And Out Of Bed
Many back injuries are attributed to making awkward movements when doing routine things. One of the easier ways to prevent new injuries or exacerbating old ones is to be conscious of your movements. Here are a few pointers from WebMD experts on protecting your back when getting in and out of bed:
- Dont twist your back or make rapid jerking motions.
- Get in bed by sitting on the edge of the mattress. Supporting yourself with your hands, bend your knees, and lay on your side. Then adjust your position as needed.
- Get out of bed by rolling on your side and bend in your knees. Supporting yourself with your hands, carefully swing your legs to the floor and stand up straight. Get up from the seated position.
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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-terma 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.
Arthritis Of The Spine
Arthritis of the spine the slow degeneration of the spinal joints is the most frequent cause of lower back pain. All of us experience wear and tear as we age, and it is normal for your lower back to start acting up as you get older. As the cartilage breaks down between the spinal joints, surrounding tissues may become inflamed. The inflammation and the thinning of cartilage increase friction in the joints, which may cause pain in the lower back.
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How Is Low Back Pain Diagnosed
A complete medical history and physical exam can usually identify any serious conditions that may be causing the pain. Neurologic tests can help determine the cause of pain and appropriate treatment. Imaging tests are not needed in most cases but may be ordered to rule out specific causes of pain, including tumors and spinal stenosis. Occasionally the cause of chronic lower back pain is difficult to determine even after a thorough examination.
Blood tests are not routinely used to diagnose the cause of back pain but might be ordered to look for signs of inflammation, infection, cancer, and/or arthritis.
Bone scans can detect and monitor an infection, fracture, or bone disorder. A small amount of radioactive material is injected into the bloodstream and collects in the bones, particularly in areas with some abnormality. Scanner-generated images can identify specific areas of irregular bone metabolism or abnormal blood flow, as well as to measure levels of joint disease.
Discography involves injecting a contrast dye into a spinal disc thought to be causing low back pain. The fluids pressure in the disc will reproduce the persons symptoms if the disc is the cause. The dye helps to show the damaged areas on CT scans taken following the injection.
Electrodiagnostics can identify problems related to the nerves in the back and legs. The procedures include:
Diagnosing Lower Back Pain
To diagnose lower back pain, a doctor will first do a physical exam. Theyll look at how well you move and if your back has any visible issues.
Then theyll take a medical history. This will cover your symptoms, any recent injuries, previous back issues, and the severity of your pain.
A physical exam and medical history are often enough for a doctor to determine the cause of your pain. However, they may also need to do an imaging test. Potential tests include:
- X-ray, which can find broken or misaligned bones.
- CT scan, which shows soft tissues such as the discs between vertebrae and potential tumors
- myelogram, which uses dye to enhance the contrast in a CT scan or X-ray to help a doctor identify nerve or spinal cord compression
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Which Lifestyle Factors Contribute To Lower Back Pain
There are three major lifestyle factors that may affect your chances of developing lower back pain:
- Multiple studies have established a link between smoking and lower back pain. Smoking raises inflammation inside the body and hinders the body from healing itself.
- Obesity is also associated with several types of chronic pain, including lower back pain. In people with high body mass index , the stress on the spine increases, contributing to even more wear and tear.
- Your level of physical activity can also play a role in your lower back health. While a sedentary lifestyle could increase your risk of developing lower back pain, so can excessive or strenuous physical activity. Check with your doctor if you are unsure about your ideal level of physical activity.
How To Correct Back Pain Caused By Mattresses
We know some of the reasons why your mattress is causing you backache now, lets talk about correcting those back pains.
1. Change your mattress
The best way to correct your back pain and prevent further occurrences of sleepless nights is to change your mattress. If your mattress is too old, too firm, or too soft, youll continue to experience pains. Read the guide on how to choose a mattress, visit the store and get a good one.
2. Maintain a good sleeping posture
Your sleeping posture may also be causing you to have back pains when you sleep. Try to settle into a good posture, and ensure you are comfortable. That way, you can get rid of back pain caused by mattresses.
When you wake up with back pains, try to do a couple of stretches before you go on with other businesses of the day. Help your spine to relax, and it would get more comfortable enough to relieve you of the pain.
4. Use a pillow
Pillows are a good way to support your body even better when you feel back pains of any sort. They further help you maintain a good posture, find a better position to relax, and a good way to sleep.
5. Use an adjustable base.
You could also opt to use an adjustable base under the mattress so that you can control the inclination of your bed to a good sleeping position.
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Alternate Sides If Youre A Side Sleeper
Some evidence suggests that habitually sleeping on one side on an ill-fitting mattress may contribute to muscle imbalance and pain. Always sleeping on the same side suspends the middle of your body between your hips and shoulders, the broadest parts of the trunk. Place a pillow between your knees as shown below to keep hips, pelvis and spine aligned.
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.
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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!
Can Your Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
Because it is a principal means of supporting the body during sleep, a mattress can play an important role in preventing or reducing lower back pain.
Proper spinal alignment demands a mattress that is in good condition and doesnt sag excessively. Research supports using a medium-firm mattress to combat lower back pain, although the most appropriate firmness can vary based on a persons weight, body shape, sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences.
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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.
What Is Your Lower Back
Your lower back is located in the lumbar region of your spine. Your lumbar region supports much of your upper body. The spinal column is composed of vertebrae that are padded with intervertebral discs. Your spinal column is also composed of a complex system of bones, nerves, and tissue.
This complex system serves as the mechanisms that allow the body to move and feel physical sensations. These spinal nerves are responsible for interpreting pain sensations and transmitting pain signals to the brain. Cushioning each vertebrae, these jelly-like discs work as shock absorbers protecting the spinal column and the body .
When your lumbar region becomes irritated or injured, the nerves in your spinal canal message the brain to feel pain. You may begin experiencing pain when standing or walking, and at different intervals throughout the day.
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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.
- 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.
Why Your Mattress Is Causing You Pain
Youve confirmed that your mattress is the source of your frequent back pain, and you want to know why its causing you so much pain? Here are six reasons why your mattress may be causing you back pain and how to prevent it.
1. You are using the wrong mattress.
For each type of sleeper, there exist different types of mattresses that suit them best. When you pick a mattress without any care for the way you sleep or your weight and other vital determinants, you sleep to wake up with aches. The right mattresses make sleeping less stressful as they are built to accommodate your body and weight. As a side sleeper, you should be picking a foam that wont give way easily and can support your body. As a back sleeper, pick a mattress that supports and cushions your body.
From the way you sleep to how much you sleep, how much you weigh, and how much time you spend in your bed, consider it all and use it to determine the type of mattress that will help you sleep better. Sleeping without having to wake up to anybodys ache is the goal, work towards it. Heres the perfect guide on how to choose a mattress.
2. You are using the wrong pillow.
You mustnt just buy a pillow without adequately understanding the type of filling it has. Also, know the best type of pillow for your type of sleeper. Thick pillows are suitable for back sleepers, while thin pillows are good for stomach sleepers. Pick a good mattress and use a good pillow if you want to sleep well at night.
4. Your mattress is old.
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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.