How to Sleep While Suffering from Lower Back Pain

An interlaced sequence of structures may be seen in the lower back. It consists of the lumbar spine’s five vertebrae supported by shock-absorbing discs and kept in place by ligaments. Tendons 1link the surrounding muscles to the spine, providing support. The spinal column contains nerves that carry impulses throughout the body. People with lower back issues face problems while sleeping. If you are a patient too then you might be searching for how to sleep while suffering from lower back pain.

The lower back supports the body’s weight and is required for all tasks. The lower back affects movement and comfort whether you’re standing, sitting, walking, or laying down.

Given the lower back’s complexity and our reliance on it, it’s no surprise that it causes pain. Lower back pain is one of the most frequent reasons people seek medical care.

1. What is Chronic Back Pain

While muscular strain, injury, or spinal deformity are the most common causes of back pain, they may also be caused by a systemic or rheumatic condition2. When pain lasts more than three months, it is called chronic.

Back discomfort may occur anywhere in the spine, from the neck to the lower back. The pain may be localized or widespread, radiating from a central location.

Because pain might originate in soft tissue, bone, discs, or nerves, determining the specific source of the pain can be challenging. Smokers are more prone to develop low back discomfort, as are those who work in occupations that demand repeated or heavy lifting or entail vibration from automobiles or industrial machines.

Pain in the lower back that lasts for three months or longer is considered chronic. Cross-country skiing and long-distance driving are two activities that might induce back discomfort. As soon as acute back pain subsides, there is no longer any negative impact on movement.

Pain may also be caused by diseases such as spinal osteoarthritis or spondylitis3 and compression fractures or sleeping position. These problems are more common among the elderly. As a result, elderly persons are more likely to have back discomfort.

It is possible that your doctor may recommend antidepressant pills as part of your therapy for chronic low back pain even if you are not depressed.

Lower back discomfort and sleeping issues have long been linked, and accumulating evidence suggests a two-way relationship in which the two might reinforce one other.

Pain may be a huge stumbling block to sleeping. In extreme cases, lower back pain might keep you awake at night.

Sleep deprivation may slow healing, affect mood, or alter brain chemicals’ central pain perception. On the other hand, people with sleep disorders are more likely to develop discomfort or have their pain worsen. Although experts are unsure why this occurs, there are many options.

3. What Can I Do to Help My Back Pain Relief?

Do you have lower back pain that you have to cope with?

According to the Global Burden of Disease survey, lower back pain is the most common cause of disability worldwide.

And what’s even more surprising is that the vast majority of cases of back pain are not caused by significant medical illnesses such as cancer or arthritis. Instead, tension or strain from improper posture, inappropriate sleeping positions, and other lifestyle behaviors are often responsible for the condition.

In this article, you’ll learn about the best sleeping positions to attempt if you’re experiencing lower back discomfort and some additional tips for getting a better night’s sleep.

Back pain may be minor to severe, and it can linger for a short time or for a long time. It may be debilitating and interfere with practically every area of everyday living, including sleep when it is severe.

The link between pain and sleep position4 is complicated. Pain may interrupt sleep, and poor sleep might increase the likelihood of experiencing pain. A sleeping posture or mattress that does not support the lumbar spine may also cause or worsen lower back discomfort.

4. Sleeping Position to Get Rid of Lower Back Pain

4.1 On Your Back

Back sleepers are available. If you’re one of them, you may want to consider sleeping on your back. Simply lie down flat on your back with a cushion under your legs. Keep your spine in a neutral position. Place a rolled towel beneath your lower back for increased support and comfort.

The advantage of sleeping on your back is that you gain better alignment and spread your weight evenly. This implies the pressure points will be less stressed. In the process, this delivers pain relief.

4.2 On Your Stomach

For stomach sleep

ers, this posture is ideal. Others, however, should avoid this sleeping posture since it might create neck tension. Place a cushion beneath your lower abdomen and pelvis to reduce strain on your back. You can sleep with or without a pillow on your head. If a degenerative disc condition causes discomfort, this posture is highly suggested.

4.3 Sleep in the Position of a Fetus

This is another method for reducing lower back discomfort when sleeping. Simply lay on your side, tuck your knees close to your chest, and curl into a fetal position. To avoid stiffness and asymmetries, it’s vital to swap sides now and again. This posture is highly suggested for those with a herniated disc in their lower back.

A herniated disc pushes the natural cushion out of its proper location, resulting in discomfort and weakness. Curling into a posture allows the area between your vertebrae to loosen up and relax, bringing comfort.

4.4 Sleep on Your Side if Possible.

If lying on your back is uncomfortable for you, try this posture. Allow your shoulder and the remainder of the side of your body to lay comfortably on the soft mattress, depending on which side you sleep on. Between your knees, place a body pillow. Add a small cushion between the mattress and your waist for further support. Even though you like sleeping on one side, you should not sleep on the same side every night.

It is not the posture itself that brings relief in this situation. The cushion is effective. This is because the cushion helps straighten your spine, pelvis, and hips, providing comfort. To avoid muscular imbalance and other problems, try switching sides and avoid stomach sleeping.

4.5 In a Reclining Position

In most cases, sleeping in a chair is bad for your lower back. If you have a recliner, though, you may attempt this posture. A recliner helps you to align and support your back’s natural curvature. A recliner provides you with the ability to align and maintain the natural curve of your spine5. This may be the ideal option if you just want to rest during the day, but not if you want to sleep all night.

When you sleep in a reclined posture, the trunk and thighs form a large angle, relieving strain on the spine. However, if you have isthmic spondylolisthesis6, you should sleep in this posture. When one vertebra slides over the other, this is called a slipped vertebra.

4.6 Alignment

It’s not so much the job title that makes a difference. The essential key to relieving lower back discomfort when sleeping is alignment.

Align your hips, shoulders, and ears to avoid imbalance and misalignment. You may sleep on your back, side, or any position that is most comfortable for you. What matters is that your spine remains in appropriate alignment.

When you align these three, you can never go wrong. When sleeping or resting in bed, you must remember to move your body appropriately. Avoid twisting and turning actions as much as possible.

4.7 Mattresses and Pillows

Pillows and mattresses are essential for offering pain relief. They aid in the alignment process and give relief. They function by alleviating strain on your spine and lowering tension. Simply change the size of the pillows you’re using. Depending on your preferences, you may also choose between a soft or firm mattress.

To correct this, raise the lower spine into a more neutral position concerning the upper spine and neck, and consider putting a pillow underneath your stomach while laying on your back or side.

You may have an adjustable bed created if you sleep in a reclined posture. You must also consider comfort in addition to alignment and sleeping posture.

5. Other Sleep Hygiene Recommendations

Here are some more suggestions for improving your sleep and reducing your back pain:

5.1 Make a Sleep Routine for Yourself

It may be difficult to resist sleeping in if you toss and turn all night. Setting consistent bedtimes and wake times, on the other hand, may assist your body in settling into a more natural sleeping pattern. Aim for an average of eight hours of sleep each night.

5.2 Problems Sticking to a Sleep Schedule

Make a nighttime ritual for yourself. Begin this regimen 30-60 minutes before your scheduled bedtime. Choose two peaceful hobbies that will help you rest your thoughts.

Taking a bath, practicing some mild yoga, or participating in peaceful hobbies like reading or knitting are all good options.

5.3 Avoid Caffeinated Beverages.

If you just need to drink one cup, complete it before noon.

5.4 Hard Exercise

Exercise should be done in the morning or early afternoon. If you do anything strenuous just before night, your adrenaline levels and body temperature may rise. These two elements make sleeping much more difficult.

6. When should you seek medical attention?

Back discomfort is common and usually goes away on its own, but it’s crucial to see a doctor if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • The soreness began as a consequence of a specific injury that had occurred.
  • Pain may radiate to the legs or other parts of the body occasionally, although this is rare.
  • In your lower extremities, you are experiencing numbness or a feeling of weakness.
  • There are several signs and symptoms of infection, including redness, warmth, swelling, and fever, among other things, to watch for.
  • You have a family history of cancer – a cause for worry.
  • Your health is changing in ways that are not quite understandable, such as weight loss or urinary difficulties.

Based on them, a doctor may examine your symptoms and suggest the best course of action, including testing, diagnosis, and therapy.

7. The Bottom Line

Finally, although it can be difficult, sleeping while dealing with lower back discomfort is not impossible. You can enhance the quality of your sleep and get relief from lower back pain by combining lifestyle changes, appropriate sleeping postures, and pain management techniques.

Keep in mind that every individual with lower back pain has a different experience, and what helps one person may not help another. It’s important to pay attention to your body and customize the advice to meet your unique demands. Consult a healthcare practitioner for a more thorough evaluation and treatment options if the pain continues or gets worse.

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  1. Kannus, Pekka. “Structure of the tendon connective tissue.” Scandinavian journal of medicine & science in sports 10.6 (2000): 312-320. ↩︎
  2. Thomas, Elaine, et al. “Risk of malignancy among patients with rheumatic conditions.” International journal of cancer 88.3 (2000): 497-502. ↩︎
  3. Gold, Richard H., Lawrence W. Bassett, and Leanne L. Seeger. “The other arthritides: roentgenologic features of osteoarthritis, erosive osteoarthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, psoriatic arthritis, Reiter’s disease, multicentric reticulohistiocytosis, and progressive systemic sclerosis.” Radiologic Clinics of North America 26.6 (1988): 1195-1212. ↩︎
  4. Zenian, John. “Sleep position and shoulder pain.” Medical hypotheses 74.4 (2010): 639-643. ↩︎
  5. Wallden, Matt. “The neutral spine principle.” Journal of bodywork and movement therapies 13.4 (2009): 350-361. ↩︎
  6. Ganju, Aruna. “Isthmic spondylolisthesis.” Neurosurgical focus 13.1 (2002): 1-6. ↩︎

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