Back and neck pain affects 8 out of 10 people at some point in their lives. It ranges from a mild annoyance to a debilitating condition that can leave you unable to move. Because your lower back muscles and lumbar spine are responsible for carrying and stabilizing the vast majority of your body weight, they undergo a great deal of stress, which can easily lead to pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the single largest cause of workplace disability, accounting for more than 264 million lost days of work a year. And at roughly $50 billion dollars, the annual healthcare cost of back and neck pain is stratospheric.
If you suffer from back pain, you most likely have trouble getting a good night’s sleep. Not getting enough sleep only makes the problems that already exist due to back and neck pain even worse. So, how can you tackle this painful issue and find a proper rest? Let’s take a look at some methods to help you sleep with back pain.
The Effect Of Back Pain On Sleep Habits
Comfort is a big part of being able to fall asleep. One of the biggest barriers to comfort is back pain, especially when you’re laying in bed and have nothing else to focus on. When your back hurts, you either have difficulty finding a position in which to sleep without pain, or you move to a position that triggers your back pain in your sleep and wakes you up immediately.
And the effect that back pain has on sleep is dramatic. According to a 2011 study, chronic low back pain was associated with:
- Greater sleep disturbance
- Reduced sleep duration and quality
- Increase in the amount of time it takes to fall asleep
- Greater mental and physical distress due to sleep quality
The worst part is that research has found a correlation between back pain and sleep disorder. People who can’t sleep are more likely to experience back pain or a worsening of already existing back pain. There are some theories as to why this happens. Lack of sleep can weaken the body’s natural ability to heal itself, affect mood in a way that heightens the body’s sensitivity to pain, or cause a disruption to the balance of chemicals in our brain that regulates pain response.
Best Sleeping Position Tips For Back Pain
Making alterations to your sleeping position can go a long way in helping alleviate the pain that keeps you up at night. The best position for sleep with back pain is on your side with your knees slightly bent. But, if you’re a back or stomach sleeper, there are ways to combat the strain in your lower back and neck.
If you sleep on your back:
- Place a firm pillow under your knees or lower back to help support the natural curve of your spine.
- Using a thinner pillow helps maintain the natural curve of your cervical spine while sleeping on your back, which can help reduce chronic neck pain.
- Use a cervical pillow to support your neck while sleeping.
If you sleep on your stomach:
- Do your best to adopt a side or back sleeping position, as sleeping on your stomach can exacerbate neck pain by putting extra stress on your vertebrae. However, if you find that stomach sleeping is the only way you can be comfortable in bed…
- Use a thin pillow under your head while keeping a firmer pillow under your abdomen and hips to prevent the lower back from sinking and pulling your spine out of alignment, which can put pressure on both your lower back and your neck.
If you sleep on your side:
- Keep your knees partially bent. This will tilt your hips in a way that maintains the natural curve of your lumbar spine.
- Place a pillow between your knees to help prevent a sideways shift of your hips.
- Keep your head in a neutral position with your chin straight ahead.
- If you experience pain in one shoulder, try sleeping on the opposite side.
Other Methods For Managing Your Back And Neck Pain
- Perform stretching exercises to help alleviate low back pain.
- Try not to spend more than 8 hours in bed. The longer you spend laying down, the longer time you spend putting pressure on your spine and exacerbating your back pain.
- Take pain medication before going to bed.
- Using a heating pad can help loosen tight back and neck muscles, and has the added benefit of relaxing you.
Selecting The Right Mattress
Your mattress can make a huge difference when it comes to preventing back or neck pain from interfering with your sleep. Proper spinal alignment depends on a mattress that doesn’t sag excessively in any spot. Research indicates that a medium-firm mattress is ideal for supporting the lower back. However, the proper firmness can vary due to your body weight, age, body type, sleeping position, and personal preference.
No matter what position you sleep in, a quality mattress is essential for a good night’s sleep. At BR Mattress Outlet, let us provide you with a mattress that will help you fall asleep and stay asleep at a cost that won’t break the bank. Family-owned and operated, our goal is to make sure your customer service experience allows you to feel like part of the family. For more information, or to find a mattress that’s perfect for you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. We look forward to helping you get the best sleep possible tonight and every night to come.