How to Get Better Sleep by Easing Back Pain

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According to the American Chiropractic Association, about 31 million Americans experience lower-back pain. Pain makes it hard to get good quality sleep, and sleeping in the wrong position can also lead to more pain. There are ways to break the cycle to ease the pain, get better rest, and wake up feeling refreshed.

TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR

First, find out where the discomfort is coming from. You might need physical therapy, chiropractic care, or other medical solutions. Our suggestions can help some cases, but seeing a specialist can make sure they’ll help you and identify other treatment options.

PERFORM A BED CHECKUP

Your mattress may not be doing the job it should be to support your spine, even you think it still feels good. The Better Sleep Council suggests replacing your mattress after 7 years, although that can depend on the thickness and type of mattress as well. Some, like memory foam, will wear out faster than others. That means it’s not giving the right support to your spine and pressure points.

To find out what type of mattress is best for your back pain, do some research or talk to your doctor. A super soft mattress might seem comfortable, but it could be causing more harm than good by not providing enough support.

Don’t forget about the bedding support, either. If you use a box spring, it should be replaced when you get a new mattress. Box springs can wear out too, meaning you’re not getting the right structure under you. If your mattress is sagging and your bed is squeaking, it could be your frame. Make sure there are no broken, misaligned, or bent slats. Check the feet, too. If any of the components are broken or out of line, they aren’t doing the work to keep you supported while you sleep. Not to mention the noise can wake you up every time you move! If you need new support, try out one of our sturdy steel frames. It’s also possible to replace just the slats or feet of your frame if you like what you have now.

DO THE RIGHT EXERCISES

Strengthening your core can be a huge help in easing back pain. Weak back and abdominal muscles provide less support to your spine. Try improving strength and flexibility in your abdomen, hips, lower back, and pelvis with targeted exercises. Just make sure to check with your doctor if there’s any concern that these exercises might make things worse. A stronger core will ease pain and help avoid muscle spasms during the night.

Yoga is a good option for many people, especially for strengthening and toning those important core muscles. It can even realign your back. There’s an added benefit if you do yoga before bed because it also lowers stress levels and relaxes the muscles. Tense muscles can cause pain to flare up, so relaxing them can help you feel better and get better sleep

TRY A DIFFERENT SLEEPING POSITION

Sleeping flat on your back focuses pressure on the hips and shoulders, leaving the lower back without support. Changing your position can distribute weight and allow the spine to decompress. All you need is a pillow to try to get better alignment. Here are some things to try:

-Back sleepers: Put the pillow under your knees to raise the legs slightly, which keeps the spine from flattening out of its natural curve.

 

Proper sleeping position

Proper sleeping position for back sleepers - note how the knees are raised.

-Side sleepers:  Put a pillow between your knees. Doing this straightens the spine. Otherwise, the top leg usually folds over the body, which creates a twist and downward pull on the spine. You may also want to fill the gap between your waist and the mattress to prop up your back. Or, try sleeping with your knees tucked towards your chest. When you can, alternate which slide you sleep on so the weight isn’t always on the same side of your body.

-Stomach sleepers: This position can add stress to your neck and put more weight on the spine, so it’s not recommended. There are things you can do to improve it: put the pillow under your pelvis to relieve some of the stress on the lower back.

While this might not solve the underlying cause of your back pain, it can make things a little better and help get you the restful sleep you need.

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