Back pain during the night can lead to drowsy days and grumpy ways. If you’re struggling with this, as many people are, here are some smart tips to be more comfortable and get a good night’s rest.
Get Into The Proper Position
The most common cause of back pain while sleeping is poor sleeping posture. Just as when you’re standing up, sitting, and walking around, you need good posture when you sleep.
If you sleep on your back, you will probably need a pillow under your knees to keep your back from becoming overly arched. This is a common problem for back sleepers, and a major reason why your lower back ends up sore in the morning.
A pillow under your knees allows your spine to maintain its natural curve.
If you’re a stomach sleeper, you have a similar problem. Sleeping on your front forces your head into an unnatural position. To compensate, you arch your lower back, causing facet joint pain.
Put a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. This will ease back strain.
You may also benefit from changing your sleeping position so that your neck isn’t cranked to one side.
If you’re a side sleeper, draw your legs up toward your chest just slightly, and sleep with a pillow – a full body pillow would work best.
The pillow goes between your knees.
When it comes to choosing the right pillow, there are no right or wrong answers. Pick something that’s supportive, that’s comfortable for you, and that relieves pain.
Make Sure Your Bed Is A Good Fit For You
A lot of people are sleeping on beds that are inherently bad for their backs or that are uncomfortable. If you don’t get a new bed, it’s unlikely that the problem will go away.
If you’re committed to a pain-free night, choose a mattress that will allow you to sleep in your desired position all night long. The ideal bed is one that you don’t toss and turn in – one where you can get a good night’s rest and feel rejuvenated in the morning.
If you can’t buy a new bed because finances are tight, consider putting plywood supports between the mattress and its base. This is a solution that can work for quite some time. As a temporary solution, you can also have someone move your mattress onto the floor.
It won’t be able to breathe when you do this, so the risk is that you will end up creating a mildew, mold, or other problem if you sweat a lot at night.
But, if you only need a solution for a week, and you can clean your mattress after, then the floor will be a fine solution.
You could also try sleeping on the floor with an assortment of pillows to give you support. Many people with back pain find that a hard surface is better than a bed. Of course, you should always ease into this.
Transitioning to the floor might take several weeks or months. If you rush it, you might end up with back soreness or pain from sleeping on the hard surface when your body was used to a cushioned surface.
This might not seem obvious at first, but strengthening your back muscles will eventually help you sleep well at night.
When you have back pain, the root cause is usually weak back or abdominal muscles, or weak musculature elsewhere in your body which is causing referred pain to your back.
Unless you’ve damaged a nerve, most doctors recommend strength training for almost all back problems. When it’s a muscle-related pain, working the muscle, and making it stronger, almost always helps.
Lifts, like goodmornings, squats, and deadlifts, specifically target the back, but they must be done with care and control. You could do more harm than benefit if you don’t learn proper technique and form first.
Start with light weights and use a program like Starting Strength to track your progress and learn basic movement patterns.
Working your back muscles can be done up to 3 times per week with light weights, but you will eventually find yourself tapering off to twice a week and possibly once per week as the weight gets heavy.
During this time, you will notice two things:
- You’re getting stronger overall and;
- Your back pain is subsiding.
As those things happen, you will get better sleep because you won’t have nagging soreness, tightness, and pain.
Ted Wilson started working in the orthopedic industry in 1982 in Portland, OR and was involved in several health-related initiatives nationwide until 1998, when after a car accident, Ted started to suffer from chronic back pain and focused his attention on people suffering from the same conditions. Among other things, Ted and his team run a successful website, www.heavydutytools.org, independently reviewing beds and mattresses for the public.