Back pain: Four ways to prevent back pain while you sleep - have you tried this?

George Morris Physio Wigan


Back pain: Four ways to prevent back pain while you sleep - have you tried this?

BACK pain is not an alien experience - most people people will suffer from it at least once in their lives. It is particularly noticeable at night, when sleep seems impossible. What steps can you take to soothe symptoms and get a sound night’s sleep?

Back pain can range from uncomfortable to debilitating depending on the severity of the condition. Pain in the lower back (lumbago) is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine, from the neck down to the hips. Busy days may distract the mind but at night the pain can loom large.

Back pain can range from uncomfortable to debilitating depending on the severity of the condition. Most people find the pain usually subsides within within a few weeks or months. Pain in the lower back (lumbago) is particularly common, although it can be felt anywhere along the spine, from the neck down to the hips. Busy days may distract the mind but at night the pain can loom large.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, there are four main ways to stop your back playing up in bed.

Switch Positions

Certain sleep positions can place extra pressure on the neck, hips, lower back, and more—all of which can cause back pain. Luckily, a pillow can fix this. If you sleep on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees while you snooze. This will allow for proper alignment of the spine. If you sleep on your stomach, a pillow under your lower abdomen can help, while those who sleep on their side should tuck the pillow between their knees.

Try a new mattress

Your bed may be to blame for your aching back. In fact, 63 percent of people say that their back pain improved after switching to a new mattress. Look for a medium-firm or firm mattress (the super cushy ones may feel great at first, but they are not back-friendly). Many companies allow you to test drive a mattress for a few weeks before you’re obligated to keep it, which is a good method for finding one that works for you. If a new mattress isn’t in the cards, adding plywood supports under the mattress may help.

Move Carefully

Paying attention to how you get in and out of bed may help ward off back pain. Avoid sudden, jerky movements and also try not to bend forward from the waist when getting out of bed, as this can hurt your back. Instead, roll over onto your side and push yourself up using your hands while swinging your legs over the side of the bed.

Hit the Gym

Working out, in general, helps you sleep better. And a stronger, more flexible core can help reduce your risk of back strains and muscle spasms during the night. Add exercises that work your abs and back to your regular workout routine, like the following plank move. Start on your hands and knees, with your hands directly under your shoulders. Walk your legs back until your body is in a straight line from head to toe. Engage and tighten your abs (as if you’re about to be punched in the stomach) and hold the position for 15 to 30 seconds.

“If you’re consistent about following this advice, your back pain will hopefully lessen, but see your doctor if these nighttime tweaks don’t lead to improvement, since chronic back pain could be linked to more serious conditions such as scoliosis, fractures, or spinal tumours,” said the health body.

It is imperative to keep moving in the waking hours, however, as contrary to popular opinion, long periods of rest can exacerbate the problem.

The NHS also recommends taking anti-inflammatory painkillers, such as ibuprofen. “Remember to check the medicine is safe for you to take first and ask a pharmacist if you're not sure,” the health body added.

Hot or cold compression packs may provide some short-term relief – you can buy these from your local pharmacy, or a hot water bottle and a bag of frozen vegetables wrapped in a cloth will work just as well, it added.

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