Are you sleeping with lower back pain jabbing at every pore of your body? You may be one of the many people suffering from a lower back pain epidemic.
According to the Canadian Chiropractic Association, about half of Canadians suffer from low back pain, and up to 85 percent of working people can expect to endure the pain of lower back troubles in their lifetime. As a result, it is estimated that medical costs can top $12 billion a year – that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Rather than living in pain, perhaps there’s something you can do. Well, there is, and it all starts with how you sleep at night (or during the day if you’re a shift worker). Ready?
Here are eight tips for how to sleep with lower back pain:
1. Sleep alignment is Important
Many of us, including those of us who are fortunate enough to not suffer from lower back pain, do not realize how important alignment is. While you think about what position you’re most comfortable with, you need to remember that the proper alignment of your spine is critical.
If you want to sleep with lower back pain, you must keep your ears, hips, and shoulders aligned. Then, you have to maintain this position even as you turn in bed, something we all do, which can easily be remedied by bringing your knees to your chest as you roll over.
2. Side with Pillow Between Knees
Lying flat on your back can often feel uncomfortable over a lengthy period of time. This is why it is best to sleep on your side from time to time, but there is a proper way to do this: place a pillow in between your knees.
In order to sleep with lower back pain, here are some useful advice:
- Let your left or right shoulder make contact with the mattress.
- Use an extra small pillow for added support if there’s a gap between the mattress and your waist.
These simple tricks will ensure your hips, pelvis, and spine are properly aligned.
3. Sleep in the Fetal Position
We like to rest in the fetal position when we feel like crawling into a hole and escaping the problems of the world. But this isn’t just an escape mechanism; you can utilize this sleeping strategy for your back.
Here is what you do:
- Lay on your back.
- Roll over onto your side.
- Tuck your knees toward your chest.
- Curl your torso toward your knees.
One more thing: switch sides throughout the night to prevent imbalances.
4. Rest on Stomach with Pillow Under Abdomen
Sleeping on your stomach can feel quite comfortable, especially after a long day at the office and you crash on the bed – who wants to get up after this anymore?
While some experts will recommend against this practice, you can take comfort into the fact that you can embrace resting on your stomach as long as you place a pillow under your abdomen.
Here is something else that will blow your mind: you don’t have to use a pillow under your head!
5. Elevate Your Knees
It’s true: your recliner shouldn’t be your primary bedding of choice. It is also true that sleeping in a reclined position helps alleviate your lower back pain. So, what should you do? Well, there is a compromise you can make: invest in an adjustable bed that you can position to your needs.
6. Stretch Before Bed
Stretching feels amazing and it is great for you because it rejuvenates you, gives you a brain boost, and provides some brief moments of relaxation. Have you thought about doing this before bed?
You may think makes you mad, but it really is a great technique to offer you either short-term relief or long-term health.
- Here are some stretches to consider:
- A starfish on the floor.
- Downward dog (place your body in a V position, slowly come down onto your stomach, and then stretch your back using your hands for power).
- Stand on one leg and curl the other leg using an arm.
- Stand straight and then try to touch your toes with your fingertips.
- Stretch your arms in the air and take a deep breath.
7. Choose the Right Pillows
In the end, you may just need the best pillow to provide some relief. Your eight-year-old pillow from college just isn’t cutting it anymore. So, head to the local Walmart or browse on Amazon and pick the best pillow that is firm but comfortable.
8. Time to Replace Your Mattress?
It is recommended that every household replaces its mattress every 10 years or so. On one hand, this is an expensive investment to make. On the other, it is an investment that pays dividend in not only a great night’s sleep, but also in long-term health. The type of mattress is up to you (firm, soft, or just about right), but the point is to just swap your broken-down mattress that makes too many creaking noises for a brand new one.
If every night you begin and end with, “Ouch my back!” then you know something needs to be done. This should start with a conversation on pillows, continue with a discussion on sleeping positions, and an ending regarding the mattress. While these elements may not exactly cure your lower back pain, they can serve as tremendous complements to your overall treatment.