The lower back is responsible for supporting most of your body weight. It plays a significant role in movement, including standing, sitting, walking, or lying down. Given this strenuous use of the lower back, it is no surprise that it is a hotspot for body pain. 8 out of 10 people have experienced some form of back pain at some point in their lives. It can range from a sudden, sharp pain to chronic aching, lasting for months.
When back pain affects you, it may cause great inconvenience to your daily activities, including sleep. Sleep and pain have a complex relationship. Back pain can prevent you from sleeping well, and you’ll only end waking up hurting even more. Understanding the vicious cycle between sleep and back pain may provide you with the knowledge of finding relief.
Causes of Back Pain
Back pain can develop from a variety of factors, and are often linked to these conditions:
- Excess Weight
Excess body weight or obesity puts extra pressure on your back and is a risk factor for developing body pain. Obesity is also linked with some breathing-related sleep disorders, like sleep apnea, which may affect normal sleep patterns.
Another risk factor is age. The older you get, the more susceptible you are to developing back pain. This is typical for individuals around 30 or 40 years old.
- Anxiety and Depression
Studies suggest that people with psychological conditions, like depression and anxiety, are also at greater risk of back pain. Anxiety and depression are, in themselves, causes of sleep deprivation. Consequently, sleep loss increases a person’s sensitivity to pain.
- Spine Problems
Back pain may occur when there is something off in your spinal joints, muscles, or nerves. These spine-related problems need to be checked immediately by a doctor:
- Bulging or Slipped Discs
This occurs when the tissue in the discs between your spinal joints come out of position, usually because of wear and tear. Slipped discs cause pain in the lower back and pain because nerves are being pressed
- Bulging or Slipped Discs
- Degenerative Disc Disease
The discs between your spine act as “shock absorbers.” However, it is inevitable for them to shrink and tear as you grow older, causing bones to rub together.
- Degenerative Disc Disease
Osteoarthritis causes stiffness and pain in the neck or back. You may also feel weakness or numbness in the legs or arms if the condition is severe enough. Back discomfort is typically relieved when lying down.
Osteoporosis can lead to compression fractures of the spine, pinching the nerves. The back pain can get worse during movement, such as standing or walking, with some relief when you lie down.
- Muscle or Ligament Strain
Repeated or improper use of the back when lifting or sudden awkward movement can strain your back muscles and spinal ligaments.
- Accidents and Injuries
Car accidents, falls, muscle sprains, and fractures can also result in back pain.
Why Is Sleep Important?
Researchers have long emphasized the two-way relationship between lower back pain and sleep problems. Both can contribute to the other. Back pain makes it uncomfortable to get enough sleep or may cause night-time awakenings. Simultaneously, people who lack sleep are more likely to experience pain or have pain get worse.
Quality sleep can prevent or reduce the likelihood of back pain. On the other hand, knowing how to sleep while having back discomfort can help you manage the pain and promote healing and recovery.
How to Get a Better Sleep with Back Pain
Improving your quality of sleep can relieve the pain. Here are 6 practical tipsto do just that:
- Find a Supportive Sleeping Position
sleeping. Your sleep position affects your spinal alignment, which means you may be giving undue pressure on the spine if your body placement is not optimized.The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial knee bend. Bent knees help balance the body while reducing pressure on the lumbar spine. You can also place a pillow between the knees to make it more comfortable.If you are a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees, legs, or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine.Avoid sleeping on your stomach since it puts a tremendous strain on your back. However, if this is the position you are most comfortable in, try putting a pillow under your stomach to support your hips and abdomen and prevent your back from sinking.
- Limit Alcohol and Caffeine Intake
While alcohol can help you fall asleep faster, it can cause sleep disruptions. Meanwhile, caffeine is considered a stimulant, which can make it harder for you to fall or stay asleep.Avoid these substances especially when you are looking to recover from back pain.
- Minimize Stress
Stress is a common cause of insomnia which, in turn, can cause many to experience back pain. If possible, minimize or remove any stressors around your sleeping space. If work stresses you out, leave any material reminding you of work outside your bedroom door. Create an environment that allows you to wind down and be in the right state of mind to sleep.You can also try other relaxation methods, like yoga or hit the gym. Regular physical activity and gentle stretching is a good way to get more sleep. Not to mention, exercise strengthens your core and back muscles lowering your risk of back pain.If you are experiencing chronic back pains though, check with your doctor first before trying any new workout regimen to discuss safety measures.
- Eliminate Potential Sleep Disruptions
Pain can make it harder for you to get back to sleep after waking up inadvertently in the middle of the night. As a result, you need to reduce all potential sleep disruption as much as possible. Eliminate excess noise and light in or outside your bedroom. Buy heavy curtains to block out street lights and traffic noise. You can also sleep with a mask or earplugs to remove any source of distraction. Finally, set your bedroom temperature to a more comfortable level throughout the night.
- Establish a Bedtime Routine
Having a bedtime routine is one way to condition yourself for sleep. Start by going to bed at the same time every night. Create a process, like setting the alarm, taking a hot shower, and brushing your teeth. Avoid reading, working, or watching TV an hour before bed.Establishing sleep hygiene can help you improve your sleep even during or after episodes of lower back pain.
- Get a Good Mattress
To relieve back pain, it is important that you are able to support your body during sleep, which is why a mattress has a principal role in preventing and treating back pain. The best bed for back pain relief is the one that can maintain your spinal alignment and reduce pressure points in your body. Selecting the right firmness and type of mattress should depend on your body weight and body type. A soft mattress is ideal for light sleepers or people weighing under 130 lbs. While a firmer mattress will offer more support for people weighing over 200 lbs. Experts suggest the use of a medium-firm mattress to prevent back pain. You also do not need to spend tons of money for a good quality mattress. You can find mattresses for sale which provide excellent pressure relief for a fair price!
Back pain may impede your ability to sleep, but with proper treatment and these practical tips, there’s a good chance for you to still enjoy a proper rest and even get back-pain relief. Start by making some lifestyle changes.
If you are interested in getting the best mattress for your back in Canada, look no further. Call Sleepmasters Canada at (416) 781 7441. We have a wide selection of high-quality mattresses; you no longer have to worry about sleepless nights or body pain.