If you suffer from low back pain it can be difficult to get a good night’s rest. Chronic low back pain sufferers often live in a constant state of sleep deprivation and pain management. It’s a vicious cycle-sleep deprivation inhibits your ability to manage pain levels and the pain in your low back prevents you from getting a good night’s rest. Here are a few proven tips to help you alleviate your low back pain and get great night’s sleep.
1. Sleeping Positions For Low Back Pain Relief
Sleeping on your back: If you prefer to sleep on your back, roll a thick blanket into a homemade dowel and place it underneath your knees to take extra pressure off your low back and help maintain the natural curve your spine. I prefer a rolled up blanket because it offers more space for you to open up your hips and spread your legs out wide if that feels comfortable for you.
You can adjust the height and support level of the homemade dowel by rolling the blanket tighter or looser to match your comfort level and support needs.
Often times when a standard plush pillow is used, you feel like you need to hold your legs in a specific position in order to keep your legs on the pillow. This inhibits your ability to fully relax into a comfortable position for rest. Standard plush pillows also have a tendency to flatten out throughout the night.
Sleeping on your side: If you prefer to sleep on your side, roll a thick blanket into a homemade dowel and place it between your knees AND ankles. Most people get the recommendation to place a pillow in between the knees. This can actually increase stress on the hips and sacrum.
If you like sleeping on your side, try this option out instead. For my patients with low back and mid back/shoulder pain, I recommend they roll a large thick blanket lengthwise so the homemade dowel can be placed between their ankles, knees and arms similar to a body pillow. Again, this thickness can be easily adjusted to suite your needs.
2. Stretching Before Bed
It is also vitally important to set yourself up for sleeping success with stretching before bed. Simple stretches, like the ones that you do after a workout, will help your muscles to relax before bed. Your muscles build up and retain tension throughout the day, stretching helps to relieve this tension. It also helps your mind to relax to prepare for sleep.
3. What To Do During The Day
Set yourself up for success. Take frequent breaks and stretch out during the workday. Your body isn’t designed to be stationary for long periods of time. Your physical frame is designed to move, explore, and play.
The sedentary lifestyle of Western culture promotes muscle weakness and this lack of muscle tone reduces our ability to maintain a healthy posture.
When you lack the muscular and structural ability to maintain a healthy posture, you find yourself overcompensating-using the wrong muscles for a particular task-which, in turn, causes over-stressed joints and tight muscles.
Make an effort to move your body more throughout the day. Maybe that’s a short walk in the evening after dinner. Choose something that you will actually do on most days and stick with it.
4. Low Back Pain and Your Mattress
If you’re still having trouble sleeping, try sleeping on a different bed in the house for a few nights and see if there’s improvement. It might be time for a mattress change. If you’re experiencing neck and shoulder tension, consider a pillow with a cervical support.
Here’s a simple way to see if a pillow with a neck support is right for you. Roll up a standard bath towel lengthwise and place it inside your pillowcase on the bottom half of your pillow to match where the curve of your neck would fall on the pillow. Try it out for 3-4 days and see if you notice any improvements.
5. What Not To Do for Low Back Pain
Avoid sleeping your stomach if you can. A tremendous amount of stress is placed on your cervical spine (neck) in this sleeping position. Side sleeping is preferable, with sleeping on your back being the best position. This can take one to two weeks to adjust to, but could provide a life time of back pain relief!
And I know everyone is always telling you to DRINK MORE WATER, but the extra water will help your muscles stay relaxed and lubricate your joints and also reduce inflammation contributing to your pain.
Here is to a healthy back friend!
Meet Dr. Kate
While advancing her clinical studies in chiropractic school, Dr. Kate discovered the powerful connection between yoga and Chiropractic. As a student of yoga herself, Dr. Kate is passionate about helping her patients restore balance in their bodies.
Dr. Kate identifies and treats misalignments in the spine as well as the postural and muscular components that correspond and contribute to these imbalances. Dr. Kate’s expertise is in yoga rehabilitation for those suffering from low back pain.