Get the Rest You Need With These Tips for Sleeping With Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain can interfere with your ability to be productive during the day. However, it can also affect your ability to sleep.
19:24 18 November 2021
Back pain and sleep are deeply intertwined with each other: pain can stop you from falling and staying asleep, while poor sleep can worsen your pain.
If left untreated, this is a vicious cycle that will ultimately destroy the health of your back. If your lower back pain is keeping you up at night, you should address it immediately. Putting it off until later can lead to more serious complications in the future.
You don’t have to suffer through your pain. To learn how to sleep with lower back pain, keep reading below!
The Lower Back
The lower back is made up of a chain of structures. This chain includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is upheld by shock-absorbing discs and locked into place by ligaments.
Surrounding muscles provide support and are linked to the spine by tendons. Nerves run down the spinal column to send signals throughout the body.
The lower back is responsible for holding up most of the body’s weight. Therefore, it is integral for many different movements including standing, sitting, walking, or lying down.
The lower back is one of the leading hotspots for pain in the body. By far, it is the most common form of back pain that people experience.
Types of Lower Back Pain
Generally, there are two types of lower back pain: acute and chronic.
Acute lower back pain only lasts for a few days up to a few weeks. This pain is short-term and is usually connected to an unidentifiable event or injury. Once healed from this type of pain, there are no lingering effects.
With chronic lower back pain, the symptoms can last for three months or more. In most cases, there also is no clear link to an event or injury. Unlike acute pain, chronic lower back pain can affect the mobility of your back even after the pain subsides.
Most cases of chronic lower back pain start out as acute pain. In fact, about one in five people with acute lower back pain develop chronic pain.
Lower back pain that starts as acute may become chronic. It is estimated that around 20% of cases of acute low back pain persist and become chronic.
How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain
Your posture is very important when you are sitting or standing. However, it is just as important when you are sleeping.
The best way to fall asleep is on your back. This keeps your spine straight and relaxed. For extra comfort, place a pillow under your legs. This will support the natural curvature of your spine.
You can also sleep on your side, but you should keep a pillow in between your legs for support. Otherwise, your hips will be moving around all night, which can cause pain in your lower back.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach. Doing so puts tremendous pressure on your back. If you’re a stomach sleeper, you may notice that your back feels inflamed after a long night’s rest.
If the only way that you can fall asleep is on your stomach, place a pillow underneath you. This will relieve some of the pressure placed on your back. Eventually though, you should try and break this habit.
Also try not to move around too much while you sleep. Sudden movements can irritate your back greatly. When you twist or contort your spine while sleeping, your back is unable to get the proper rest it needs.
The Impact of Your Mattress
Your posture is a very important aspect of sleeping with lower back pain. Yet, your mattress also plays a role.
For lower back pain, it is ideal to sleep on a medium-firm mattress. A mattress that is too hard can be straining on your back. On the flip side, a mattress that is too soft may cause your back to sink, throwing off its alignment.
For your spine to be properly aligned, your mattress needs to be in good condition. It is recommended to evaluate the condition of your mattress every six to eight years. If your mattress is sagging excessively, it’s going to hurt your back, no matter how you sleep.
Ultimately, the mattress you choose should meet your specific needs. The appropriate firmness will vary depending on a person’s weight, body shape, preferred sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences.