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10 Life Hacks to Sleep with Back Pain

Back pain is one of the most common body pain affecting people of all ages. Reason for body disability, back pain is one of the main reasons why most people seek medical treatment. Back pain affects you not only physically but also mentally.  Let us find out how to sleep with back pain.

Back pain makes you lose a good night’s sleep and causes sleeping problems. It can affect your family and professional lives. Back pain is not a grave illness. It can affect people of all ages, and the reason for the pain varies from person to person. Aged people tend to develop lower back pain in the later years of their age.

A more serious concern in today’s world is the occurrence of back pain among the younger generation. It is mainly because of their occupation. Continuous hours of working in front of laptops, travelling, and less time for regular exercise have made them susceptible to back pain. 

1. Anatomy of the Back

The structure of your back firmly supports your body. The regions that cause pain include your spine and back.

The cervical spine, the Thoracic spine, the Lumbar spine, and Sacrum and Coccyx are the four regions of the spine.

We have vertebrae and the spinal cord. Vertebrae’s function is to maintain proper spinal alignment and protect the spinal cord. Vertebrae are a stack of small bones placed one above the other. Ligaments are the tissues that hold vertebrae together. Ligaments are strong and flexible.

The spinal cord carries a bundle of nerves that run through the back of the body through a canal and is protected by the vertebra. To protect the spine from moderate shock to the body, you have small cushion-like pads between the vertebrates called intervertebral discs.

Muscles around the vertebrae, are fibers that help you move your body and support the spine. Muscles and bones meet through an organ called tendons.

2. Causes of Back Pain

There is no specific medical condition that can lead you to have back pain. There are several reasons why you can have back pain. It can be due to a structural problem with the spine, inflammatory reasons, or any other medical condition.

2.1 Strain

Mechanical or structural problems occur when there is an undue strain on the body. You can suffer a sprain when you lift a heavy object or twist your body irregularly.

47798004 hes starting to feel the strain of sitting too long a young businessman experiencing back pain while working in an office
by YuriArcurs/unlimphotos

Excessive exercising or playing sports can also cause strain that can lead to muscle imbalance. This muscle imbalance can result in muscle spasms or tension.

With ageing, the protective discs of the vertebrate break down and can cause degenerative disc disease. It can also lead to a ruptured disc and thereby cause pain.

Accidents or injuries that cause fractures can also cause back pain. These falls can change the alignment of the spinal cord. Lifting weights more than your body weight can also rupture the backbone.

2.2 Inflammatory Conditions

Arthritis of the spine is another common reason for back pain. Arthritis is due to several reasons like wear and tear, medical conditions, and infections. Ankylosing spondylitis is the most common arthritis leading to back pain. These conditions usually occur with increasing age. Elder persons are more susceptible to inflammatory problems.

2.3 Posture and Sleeping Positions

Bad body posture can cause body pain. Driving for long hours without any breaks and sitting in front of a computer can strain your neck and spinal cord. Overstretching your neck muscles for a long duration or bending can also cause back pain.

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by Wavebreakmedia/unlimphotos

Another major cause of the pain is your sleeping position. Bad posture while sleeping can create havoc in your spinal cord. Also, select a good mattress for yourself while purchasing. A good mattress supports your body and keeps your spine in a straight line.

2.4 Underlying Medical Cause

You can have back pain because of an existing medical condition. Tumours present on the spine can also call back pain. It can also be due to an infection of the spine or spinal cord. Inflammation in the pelvic area and kidney infection can also cause back pain.

3. How to Sleep with Back Pain

Most back or body pain-related problems arise when you have an improper sleeping position. The correct sleep position and sleep schedule can help you deal with back pain.

3.1 Right Sleeping Position

Maintaining the perfect body position helps you to ease your pain. Try to sleep in that position that is comfortable for you. Keeping a pillow between your knees will give extra support to your legs. You can also place the pillow underneath your legs. It is good to use a firm pillow.

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by phovoir/unlimphotos

Put the pillow between your legs if you are a side sleeper. Here, you can bring your knees slightly towards the chest. If you sleep on your back, you can use a small pillow or towel and remove the pressure on your back.

It is best to avoid sleeping on your stomach as it can cause chronic low back pain. However, if you are a stomach sleeper and if it’s the only position that helps you to sleep peacefully, keeping a pillow under your stomach will reduce the pain. Placing a thin pillow under your back will help to take the pressure off your back.

The fetal position is considered one of the best sleeping positions. Maintaining the natural curve of your body helps you to fall asleep and have a better sleep.

3.2 Get a Good Mattress

You must invest in the right mattress. It might take some time to get the right mattress for your body. The National Sleep Foundation has said that you should carefully evaluate your mattress every 6-8 years.

You can test a few mattress options before finalizing the product. The mattress should support your spine in the correct body posture. The pillow and mattress combined should give you neck support to reduce neck pain.

Medical associations used to recommend hard mattresses for people with back pain. A study by The National Sleep Foundation has found that people with lower back pain have a tough time sleeping on hard mattresses. Having said that soft mattresses can also cause problems. n soft mattress, your body can sink inside the mattress and cause twisting of joints. It will, thus, create more pain.

Lying flat on the ground is also a comfortable sleeping position.

3.3 Moving in and out of Bed 

You have to be careful while moving into and out of bed. Making any quick movement or bending forward can cause back pain. While waking up, roll over to the end of the bed and slowly get your legs out to stand up. Similarly, be careful when it’s time to sleep.

3.4 Exercise

You can increase the flexibility of the muscles through regular exercise. Your exercises must target the muscles of the hips, lower back, and abdomen. It will help to target your core and relieve pain.

How to sleep with back pain
by Wavebreakmedia/unlimphotos

Building strength in these muscles will reduce your chances of having a strained back or experiencing muscle spasms at night.

3.5 Gentle Yoga

Gentle yoga before bed is known to reduce back pain and increase your sleep quality. Stretching of your muscles can reduce back pain.

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If you are new to yoga, consult a yoga trainer and practice only those poses that are safe for you. Never try poses that can make your pain worse. The right pose and breathing exercises will help you to relax. 

3.6 Bedtime Routine

Following a strict sleep schedule is pertinent. Try to follow a time schedule and ensure that you go to bed at the same time every day. This systematic pattern will help you prevent sleep deprivation and provide relief to back pain.

3.7 Ice and Heat Pack

The application of ice and heat therapy brings pain relief to lower back pain. First, use an ice pack. It will help to lower the body temperature, swelling, or inflammation. It will help to reduce neck pain and joints pain.

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by Wavebreakmedia/unlimphotos

Alternatively, apply heat therapy every few hours. The heat from the pack will stimulate blood circulation and reduce lower back pain. This therapy helps to soothe pain in the pressure points.

3.8 Healthy Weight

An unhealthy weight creates increased risks of having back pain. People with extra weight often experience lower back pain. It is not the case with those having a healthy weight. Spinal structures get impacted when you are obese.

29320546 boy checking his weight on weight scale
by Wavebreakmedia/unlimphotos

Medical experts agree that to experience reduced incidents of back pain, you must have a healthy diet. A proper healthy diet with regular exercise can reduce pain and help prevent future problems.

3.9 Reduce Stress

Back pain can also be because of stress. You should, therefore, look for ways to manage your stress levels. Higher stress will affect your sleep. Do not use alcohol or other intoxicants to induce deep sleep. If you cannot deal with your stress, consult a therapist.

3.10 Medications

You get relief from most back pains in 4 weeks. However, if you experience unbearable pain nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are available in medical stores. They help to relieve low back pain. Consult a doctor before you take any medications.

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by Wavebreakmedia/unlimphotos

Physiotherapy is recommended when you experience difficulty in sleeping or have neck pain. Surgeries are needed when the spinal cord slips from its natural alignment. In some cases, neurological disorders can cause back pain and affect the immune system.

4. Conclusion

It is preferred to have a night of better sleep than being deprived of it. Back pain other than those caused by accidents is mainly because of carelessness. You can prevent back pain by finding the best sleeping positions for your body. Try to emulate the best sleeping positions and stretching exercises for your well-being. If the pain bothers you, consult your doctor.

A research student in Economics, enjoys free time traveling and writing.