When you suffer from back pain, many things that should be simple are causes of stress, such as sleep. You may be exhausted and really need a good night’s sleep, but find it difficult to find a sleep position that is comfortable. It may also be difficult to get in and out of bed without debilitating pain. This becomes a vicious cycle, because you need sound sleep to heal. Sleep is essential for our overall health, so it’s important to find ways to manage your back pain and get restful sleep. Here are some tips for helping you get a good night’s sleep, despite your pain.
Find the Right Position
One of the biggest challenges of sleeping with back problems is finding the position that is going to be most comfortable for you. If you’re a side sleeper, put a pillow between your slightly bent knees. If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees, or a small rolled-up towel under your low back. It’s best to avoid sleeping on your stomach, which creates a lot of stress for your back, but if you must, try putting a pillow under your stomach to relieve some of the pressure.
Invest in a Good Mattress
Your back pain may be due to sleeping on the wrong mattress. While this is a big investment, it’s worth it to make sure that you aren’t paying for it later. If you have hips that are wider than your waist, a soft mattress will help support your spine in a straight position. If your hips and waist are in a straight line, a harder mattress will better support you. While a harder mattress was recommended by doctors for many years, people with low back pain often find it more difficult to sleep on. That being said, a very soft mattress can cause your joints to twist, aggravating the pain. The key is to pull a Goldilocks and get it just right. Try out different mattress firmness levels. You can try them by sleeping over at friends’ houses or in hotels and seeing if you see any improvement in how well you sleep.
Get In and Out of Bed With Care
You can cause yourself more back pain if you are getting out of bed in a quick motion or bending forward at your waist as you do so. When you’re getting out of bed, take your time. Roll over on one side and push yourself up with your arms. Swing your legs out of bed and stand up slowly. Do this same process in reverse when you’re getting into bed at night.
Strengthen Your Core
Physical activity makes sleeping much easier. On top of that, strengthening your core muscles helps with back pain. Your core is the muscles in your pelvis, lower back, hips, and abdomen, and they play an essential role in your spine health. With a strong, flexible core, you are less likely to strain your back and have muscle spasms. There are many exercises designed to strengthen your core, but one you can start doing right now is a plank. Hold yourself in a pushup position with your spine aligned and your hands under your shoulders. Stay like this for 15 to 30 seconds a day with your abdominal muscles engaged.
Stretch Before Bed
Stretching is effective for addressing back pain, and it can also be a stress reliever, which makes it easier to sleep. Try incorporating a yoga routine into your nightly bedtime ritual, or simply do a few of your favorite stretches before you hit the hay. Just make sure to talk to your doctor about the safest stretches for you to do that won’t further aggravate your back pain. Incorporating yoga props like blocks may help you more comfortably hold certain poses. It may also be advantageous for you to take a couple of yoga classes to ensure you have proper form and that you are correctly breathing.
As Johnstown’s leading spine surgeons, we see many patients with debilitating back pain. Back pain is a symptom that is common in a variety of conditions we treat here at our spine surgery center. If you’re looking for a spine specialist in Northern Colorado, we would love to help. Contact us today to schedule an appointment!