Back pain is never enjoyable. It makes it challenging to get through the day, and worse, it can cause you not to get enough sleep needed to function. When you are dealing with back pain, it is difficult to get into a comfortable position at night, making it nearly impossible to fall asleep, and when you do, it is not restful.
A good night of sleep is a vital part of everyone’s health, and it has been shown that those who do not get enough sleep can become more sensitive to pain. Follow these tips to reduce back pain so you can achieve a good night’s sleep.
Know the Best Sleeping Positions
First and foremost, figuring out the best sleeping position will ease your back pain and result in a more comfortable and restful sleep. Five different sleeping positions have been proven to relieve back pain.
The first is sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees. Most people sleep in this position when they find sleeping on their backs too painful. This position is most beneficial, not just by sleeping on your side. It is the pillow between the knees that brings the most advantages. The pillow keeps your hips, spine, and pelvis aligned to create more comfort while you sleep.
The second is when you sleep on your side in a fetal position. This position may be the best option if you suffer from a herniated disc. These happen when part of a disc pushes out of its normal space, which in turn causes a lot of nerve pain and weakness. When you move into the fetal position and curl your torso, it opens up space between your vertebrae, alleviating the pain.
The third position is sleeping on your stomach with a pillow underneath your abdomen. This may seem confusing since many doctors and specialists say that sleeping on your stomach is bad for your back, but this is only partially true since it does cause harm to your neck. But if you are suffering from degenerative disc disease, this position may be the most beneficial. This is because the stress between your discs is relieved while in this position.
The fourth position is sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees. Many would say that sleeping on their backs is the best way to relieve their back pain. This is because your body weight is evenly distributed while lying on your back. This results in less strain on your pressure points and creates better alignment of your internal organs and spine.
The fifth and final one is sleeping only on your back in a reclined position. Some people may find it most comfortable to sleep in a chair, even though that is not the best choice. Those with isthmic spondylolisthesis will find sleeping in a reclining position most comfortable. This is because isthmic spondylolisthesis causes vertebrae to sleep over the one below it. Sleeping in a reclining position creates an angle between your trunk and thighs, reducing the pressure on your spine.
Exercise to Strengthen Your Core
The next tip to reduce back pain is to exercise regularly. It is proven not only to improve your quality of sleep but can also aid in relieving your back pain.
Exercise, in general, is beneficial, but doing specific exercises that target and strengthen your core will be the best way to get the quality sleep you need while also alleviating any back pain you may suffer. You will need to focus on the abdomen, hips, pelvis, and lower back workouts to strengthen your core.
By building your strength and flexibility in these areas, you are lessening your chances of straining your back or dealing with muscle spasms in your back throughout the night. Holding a plank, when you put your hands under your shoulders and your legs straight, is a great way to tighten muscles. Holding this position anywhere between fifteen seconds to a minute will significantly improve your core’s strength and maintain proper spinal alignment.
Pick the Best Mattress and Pillow
Your mattress is the foundation of your sleep, and it is crucial to find a mattress that will meet your specific needs regarding falling asleep and reducing back pain. It has been said that everyone should assess their mattress every six to eight years, and based on that assessment, you may need to get a new mattress.
For those suffering from lower back pain, doctors recommend buying an orthopedic mattress on the firmer side. But no mattress is considered a “fit all” mattress. Recent studies show that a firm mattress may not get the proper amount of sleep. Conversely, a softer mattress does nothing to help your spinal alignment while sleeping.
The best option for those who can afford a new mattress is to find one that is medium-firm to a firm that is made of foam or good-quality innerspring. You can also get a mattress with an innerspring and add your own memory foam mattress topper to create optimal comfort.
After choosing the best mattress, it is crucial to pick the best pillow. Your pillow should cradle your head and neck to give proper support to the upper portion of your spine. For example, if you sleep on your back, you will want to find a pillow that fills the space between your neck and the mattress. On the other hand, if you sleep on your side, you will want to find a thicker pillow that keeps your head in line with the rest of your body.
Try Yoga Before Bed
Another way to reduce back pain is by adding gentle yoga stretches to your bedtime routine.
Studies have shown that yoga is incredibly beneficial in reducing back pain and can also aid in reducing stress. Before jumping into yoga, it is best to talk with your doctor first to see which stretches and poses will be the most beneficial and which ones you should stay away from. Make sure you use blocks or bolsters for extra support, as you are just starting out. It may also help to take a few yoga classes with an instructor who can teach you how to breathe appropriately and ensure you do the poses correctly. This will guarantee relaxation and pain relief before drifting off to sleep.
Back pain can create many issues in your day-to-day life and when you are trying to sleep. If you can only get rid of your back pain, you know you will get the proper amount of sleep needed to function correctly. However, even if the pain does not go away completely, the following tips will help alleviate the pain and bring a good night’s sleep.
If you live in Alaska and your doctor recommends that you have a sleep study to rule out sleep disorders, contact the Alaska Sleep Clinic to receive a free 10-minute phone consultation with a sleep professional.