When back pain disturbs your night, you may despair of getting a sound night’s slumber. Pain can disrupt the sleep you require on a nightly basis. The inability to manage a good night’s sleep literally hurts. Chronic back pain simply prevents you from getting good sleep, and you awaken hurting worse. According to studies, insufficient sleep can actually increase your sensitivity to pain. It creates a vicious cycle. Back pain makes it more difficult to sleep, and when you cannot sleep, it worsens the pain in your back. So what can you do?
Find the Right Position
When you suffer back pain, the easiest method of improving your comfort, and thus sleep, is to reconsider your position in bed. For example, avoid sleeping on your stomach. This adds strain to your spine. The best means of orienting yourself for spinal comfort is on your back. To improve it still further, remove pressure from your spine by sleeping with a pillow under your knees. If it helps, you can add a rolled-up towel or a small pillow beneath the arch of your spine. When you simply must sleep on your side, try a pillow between your knees.
Consider Your Mattress
If your mattress is getting on in years, consider an upgrade. It loses springiness over time, which results in a mattress that does not align your spine correctly throughout the night. Consider a foam topper if your present mattress is beginning to sag, as the more support you can get is better if you have back issues. Some considerations in choosing a mattress include:
- If your waist is narrower than your hips, a soft mattress will help your spine stay straight during slumber.
- If your hips and waist align, a harder mattress will give better support.
- If you think a firmer mattress might be best, try a sheet of plywood between your box spring and mattress.
You should try sleeping on different mattress types, whether at a friend’s house or in a hotel, to see which type feels best.
Take Caution When Entering and Leaving the Bed
For some this may sound obvious, but for others, getting into and out of bed is such a second-nature thing that it does not merit thought. You should definitely consider taking extra caution when climbing into bed and leaving it. Bending forward from your waist or making motions that are quick and jerking can cause still more pain than you already suffer. When getting into bed, sit on the edge, then lower your upper body while swinging your legs up. When leaving bed, take your time rolling over onto your side and using your arms to push yourself up while swinging your legs out of bed.
Try a Stretch Before Bed
Simple stretches each night can help to relieve strain on your back before bedtime. Lie on your back, put both knees together, and move the legs in unison to each side of the body. Of course, ask your doctor, physical therapist, or chiropractor before adding any stretch to your regimen that impacts your back when you have chronic pain issues.
A Second Stretch to Consider
To do this second stretch, start by standing with your sheet apart at shoulder width. Slowly start the stretch by lowering your upper body in the direction of your feet. As soon as you feel the stretch’s effect, remain in place for a few moments. Then rise slowly. If you come up too quickly, an unwanted rush to the head can result.
A session with a heating pad or a warm bath or shower before bed can help to relax your muscles. Take some precautions:
- Put a dampened towel between yourself and a heating pad to offer moist heat without burning yourself
- Set a timer if your heating pad does not have an automatic shut-off for safety.
- Do not set your bath or shower to scalding temperatures. Hotter might seem better, but you do not wish to damage your skin while easing your spine.
A visit to your medical professional or chiropractor can be of immense help when you find yourself faced with chronic pain that simply will not permit sleep. They can provide subtle adjustments to correct your posture. Call us today at Integrative Chiropractic Health & Wellness, phone number 205-637-1363.