One of the most common pain conditions that people experience at night is not knowing the best sleep positions for back pain. It’s estimated that 80% of adults suffer from back pain, and that percentage gradually increases each year for a multitude of reasons. One of these reasons is because most people are unaware that their sleeping habits affect their physical health. Your positioning, mattress firmness, or lack of sleep may be the cause of your discomfort at night. Here is our advice on how to prepare for a painless, good night’s sleep the proper way:
Sleeping Positions For Back Pain
Your sleeping habits and body aches are connected and can have a superior impact on each other. While they may not be the root of your back pain or sleep deprivation, they certainly can affect your mood, joint and muscle soreness, and sleep schedule. This is why paying attention to your body posture while lying down is crucial to managing spinal issues. Here is how the best sleep positions for back pain have an effect on your body compared to the worst positions:
Best: Sleeping On Your Back
- This is the ideal way to position your body while sleeping.
- Sleeping on your back distributes weight evenly on your spine, and keeps unnecessary pressure off of it and your muscles.
- If you put a pillow under your knees, your spine will maintain its natural curve.
Decent: Sleeping On Your Side
- This posture is not as great as lying on your back but is not as harmful to your spine as lying on your stomach.
- Try switching which side you sleep on each night to avoid muscle imbalance.
- Help ease your spine position by bending your legs slightly towards your chest and putting a regular pillow or body pillow between your knees.
Worst: Sleeping On Your Stomach
- Stomach sleepers are most likely to experience back and neck pain.
- Lying this way flattens the natural curve of your spine, and strains your back, neck, and shoulder muscles.
- If you’re a strict stomach-sleeper, try putting a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to relieve back strain.
How Restful Sleep Can Provide Pain Relief
As previously mentioned, your body’s condition often relies on how well you are sleeping at night. You may find that instead of finding the best sleep positions for back pain, you may just need to establish a nightly routine that will help you get better sleep. To begin, it’s pretty common knowledge that the average person needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night to perform their best mentally and physically the next day. If you fall asleep within 5 minutes of lying down, you may actually be suffering from sleep deprivation which can contribute to chronic back pain.
To improve your sleep and increase chances of pain relief, it’s highly recommended to develop good sleep hygiene. This includes steps such as cutting the amount of caffeine you consume during the day or how late you allow yourself to consume caffeine. To build a consistent routine, you should sleep at the similar times each night, avoid napping during the day, and creating a nightly regimen that helps you relax before sleeping. This could involve taking baths, washing your face, or reading a chapter of a book. Good sleep hygiene is not only beneficial for a healthier lifestyle but also allows your body to get the rest it needs which lessens the stress it places on your muscles and joints.
Replacing Your Mattress
More than often, your back pain cannot be managed by simply changing your schedule or sleeping pain. Unfortunately, your mattress may be the entire reason you are experiencing aching pains each night. Firstly, although you may love the comfortable mattress you’ve had for a decade, the average lifespan of a regular mattress is 5 to 10 years. Old mattresses often mold to your body shape over time and have sagged due to excessive use.
Look into replacing your mattress with a newer one that has a different level of firmness or is made of memory foam. If you don’t have the cash for expensive mattresses for back pain, there are many bed pads that you can lay over your current mattress that have the same effect as memory foam. Speaking with a pain relief specialist will help you decide whether your current back pain and sleeping condition would be solved with a harder or softer bed.
Dealing with Your Back Pain Professionally
While there is plenty of advice on the best sleep positions for back pain, there’s no shame in seeking out professional help when you see no change in your chronic pain. The Pain Institute of Southern Arizona specializes in treating pain conditions of all types, including options for back pain management. We like to make sure that patients in our treatment programs understand why they are hurting and why our treatments will help them relieve or live more comfortably with chronic pain. Back pain is a serious issue for people of all ages, but middle-aged adults are at a higher risk due to their work or exercise schedule. Find ways to alleviate strain on your back discomfort by calling (520) 318-6035. Or Contact us here!
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