How Sleeping Wrong Can Cause Back Pain
One of life’s prized victories is a good night’s sleep! If we wake up having reached that magical eight-hour goal, the day is off to a brilliant start already. If our body feels refreshed and rejuvenated, the day feels more manageable, exciting, and prosperous.
So, the last thing you want is to wake up and realise that in trying to reach that target, your back is now aching and rebelling!
Back pain is a common issue that most people experience at one time or another in their life. It can be caused by a variety of issues. One contributing factor is sleep, or to be more specific, the way we sleep.
Knowing how the way you sleep can influence back pain can enable you to prevent discomfort and stiffness, and this can lead to a better quality of life – and a better night’s sleep!
Why Can Sleep Cause Back Pain?
When you are asleep, it is easy for your body to fall into unhealthy positions that involve muscles and joints being bent, squashed, and kinked. Inevitably, when these are held for an extended period while you are unaware of the looming discomfort, your body begins to be subject to inflammation, tight muscles, reduced circulation, and tension.
One of the most crucial elements to acknowledge when working to prevent issues is the biomechanical position in which you sleep. The correct position to avoid pain is one that puts minimal pressure on your spinal joints.
What Can Influence Sleep-induced Back Pain?
There are several factors that increase your risk of waking with a bad back. Fortunately, most are adjustable, and relief can be achieved. Some of these can include your:
- Natural sleeping position and style.
- Bed partner’s natural sleeping position and style.
- Night and morning routine.
- Daily lifestyle.
- Fitness and overall health.
How Can You Avoid Sleep-induced Back Pain?
It is vital that your spine is not twisted or bent and that the muscles in your lower back are not held in a stretch for too long. There are steps to take to achieve the best biomechanical position. These can include the following.
Avoid Overly Soft Mattresses
Having a firmer mattress can help to prevent the disc space between your joints and spine from opening and irritating the area.
Find A Supportive Pillow
It can be difficult to select a pillow that works well for you. There are so many out there that it is hard to know whether to choose a soft, hard, thin, thick, bumpy, sloped, or memory foam-filled pillow. The decision often comes down to your size, sleeping position, and any injuries or conditions that impact your sleep. Have a chat with us and we can provide advice.
Lie Down Correctly
Creating a set up that promotes the correct positioning of your joints and muscles is an important part of achieving the best alignment. Sleeping on your stomach is not encouraged because it increases the arch of your spine and puts pressure on your back.
The recommended position to sleep in is:
- On your side with a supportive pillow that keeps your neck neutral and your head straight.
- With bent knees and a pillow placed between them to prevent hip rotation.
- With a second pillow along your stomach and chest.
- Placing the arm at the top along the second pillow to avoid twisting and rolling your upper body.
If health issues or injuries make this position too uncomfortable or unachievable, such as hip pain, you can aim for a position that reduces your spinal lumbar curve and pelvis tension while avoiding putting pressure on one side. In this case, the recommended position to sleep in is:
- On your back.
- With bent knees and one or two pillows underneath them.
If you share a bed with someone, it can be beneficial to create a setup and plan that accommodates both your requirements. Unfortunately, you may just find that being a big or a little spoon is just not helping your back pain!
Maintain A Healthy Lifestyle
Keeping as fit and healthy as possible effects countless aspects of our lives, and sleeping is included. Because sleeping means that we are lying down for hours, the condition of our soft tissues and joints can have a significant influence. Being flexible, supple, strong, and at an ideal weight provides our bodies a greater chance of sleeping comfortably and holding a position for a prolonged period of time. Exercising and eating well can also improve the quality of your sleep, which can impact important factors such as how often you change position.
Having No Back Pain Doesn’t Have To Be A Dream
Reducing and preventing back pain involves being mindful of a variety of factors, goals, and risks every day and night. When it comes to sleep, it really does pay to take steps to keep your back safe so that you can wake up on the right side of the bed each morning.
We can discuss with you how to improve your sleep setup and prevent back pain and can provide treatment for pain that you are experiencing. Call to make an appointment with one of our friendly and experienced therapists.