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How to sleep with back pain


A good night’s sleep is crucial for overall health and wellbeing. But for the millions of people who suffer from back pain, getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge. Around 80 per cent of people will experience lower back pain at some point in their life, and at any one time, approximately one-quarter of adults will be suffering from it. It is one of the leading causes of missed work days and having to have extensive time off work. The causes of back pain are numerous but are usually triggered by accidental damage through lifting something heavy or ineffectively, old age or having a sedentary lifestyle with a sudden burst of activity being the trigger. There can also be a strong genetic component with some people being more susceptible to back problems than others.

Most back pain is short term and lasts anything from a few days to a few weeks, and either resolves on its own or after seeing a therapist. Back pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks would be considered chronic and may require a medical or surgical procedure.

The problem is compounded by the fact that sleep deprivation reduces your tolerance for pain. Not only that, but not getting enough sleep may also make any pain medications you take less effective.

If you’re struggling to sleep because of back pain, then make sure to read this blog to the end. We’ll provide tips on how to sleep with back pain, which include how to choose the right mattress, and how to use pillows and other supports to get comfortable.

Back pain unfortunately comes in many forms and it is a very common injury that people deal with at the clinic. What can be even more frustrating is not being able to sleep at all, but with some simple techniques, you can align your body and your spine to allow more comfort and be able to sleep much better.

Pillow under lower back

Firstly, if you’re sleeping on your back, place a soft pillow underneath your lower back and underneath your knees as well. This will help to keep your pelvis much more neutral and the result will keep your spine itself in a nice natural position while you sleep.

Pillow between your legs

Secondly, if you’re sleeping on your side, place a soft pillow between your legs. This will help to stop your pelvis from tilting, and what that does is ensures that your low back does not become particularly misaligned and pulled to one side.

Just a word of note is that with either of these positions, it’s also very important to ensure that your upper body remains level across your spine. Having pillows that are too low can affect your neck as well, and again can cause your spine to be misaligned.

The best way to check this is to have your partner or a friend look at those sleeping positions for you.

Do you need a new mattress?

While your bed is probably not the cause of your back pain, your mattress may not be ideally suited to you and might be exacerbating it. If you’ve had your current mattress for eight years or more then you might want to consider investing in a new one. A good mattress will be one that helps to align your spine without putting pressure on pain points. You want to look for one that is firm enough that your shoulders don’t sink into it but soft enough to be comfortable.

And while it is important to rest after a recent injury or sprain that has caused your back pain, spending prolonged periods of time in bed is a bad idea and will actually make it worse. As long as you are not doing strenuous exercise then walking or gentle stretching can ease the pain.

Get help from a therapist at the Perfect Balance Clinic

To get help with the diagnosis and treatment of your back pain or just for support and guidance, get in touch with us to see how we can assist you. Help can be provided not only by visiting our clinic but also via remote video means as well.

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