While you should never deal with lower back pain without a professional assessment, some of us are just discovering our back pain and need a bit of comfort and a good night’s rest. Pain in any capacity is a common culprit for conditions such as insomnia.
In fact, inadequate sleep can make back pain worse, which can make sleep more difficult, damaging not only the back and spine but the entire body as well. Luckily, there are tried and true methods that can increase comfort and sleep time and decrease back pain when trying to rest.
Change your sleeping position
It has been said that sleeping on your back can add years to your life. However, if you’re not keeping your spine neutral, then those extra years could be spent in pain. It may be worth your time to try sleeping on your side. If you do, pull your knees up and out and try putting a pillow between them. The pillow helps keep the spine aligned, relieves the tension in your lower back, and keeps your legs from shifting the spine.
Back sleepers can benefit from extra pillows as well. Be sure the neck is supported so that the spine lays neutral and try placing a pillow directly underneath the back of the knees. This opens up the lower back as well and supports the legs.
If you absolutely must sleep on your stomach, support your pelvic area with a pillow and see if sleeping without a pillow under your head helps.
Take advantage of pillows
Unless you are sleeping on your stomach, you need to use pillows. A pillow, especially one that is a balance between soft and firm, can ensure that the entire length of your spine is in alignment.
Sleeping on your back without a pillow puts constant stress on the neck and upper back muscles that can translate to a sagging spine and nagging pain. Instead, try to support the neck so that the load isn’t carried by your muscles and bones. Sleeping on your side with a pillow has a similar effect and has an added benefit of preventing temporary pain from extended misalignment.
Try a firmer sleeping surface
While it may seem uncomfortable at first, the best sleeping surface for your spine is a firm floor. Sleeping on a more rigid surface affects sleepers in different ways depending on what sleeping position is used.
For back sleepers, the firm floor forces the body to align properly along a level field and provides the unparalleled support that a soft mattress cannot. Side sleepers benefit from extra hip support as well as proper alignment.
It may be very uncomfortable to sleep on such a hard surface for the first few nights, but the time investment in your spine health and sleep habits will pay off far more than the initial discomfort. If your back pain begins to alleviate, try to find a sleeping area that is slightly less rigid than the floor and support your skeletal system properly.
Be conscious of your wake-up
It’s easy to simply twist and roll your way out of bed, but staying alert when you wake up and you’re groggy is an often overlooked key to pain relief. Early morning hours and a cloudy head leave you open to body movements that erase the spinal alignment you got the night before.
Begin your day getting out of bed by rolling onto your side. Bend your knees and try to move your feet over the edge of the bed. Use your upper body to slowly rise to a sitting position and move your legs to prepare to stand. Stand up carefully and make sure you’re standing straight.
If sleeping on the floor, rise slowly and use your arms for support. Keep pressure off of your lower back and try to use slow and swift movements. Remember to use your legs to lift your body and ensure that your spine is straight once you’ve risen.
These techniques can help temporarily improve your sleep and alleviate your lower back pain, but get a professional opinion on your pain as soon as you can. Texas Spine Clinic offers several unique services designed to address several different spinal conditions. Don’t continue to live with your pain – check out Texas Spine Clinic’s services and improve your sleep – and your life – starting today!