“Pleasure and freedom from pain are the only things desirable as ends.” – John Stuart Mill
When you’ve got back pain, sleeping can go from rejuvenating to exhausting. Instead of getting the rest you need to be productive during the day, you’re left tossing and turning at night trying to get comfortable. Luckily, there are some things you can do to take back those peaceful, pain-free nights. Follow these tips to find the cause of your pain and start dreaming again.
The Mattress Makes It
Your bed is perhaps one of the most important pieces of furniture that you own. It’s true that most mattresses are rated to last up to 10 years, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you shouldn’t make a change if you have back pain. Most recommendations suggest evaluating your mattress about every five years. If you have stiffness or numb limbs upon waking, that should be a clear sign that it’s time for a new mattress.
If you decide that your mattress has seen better days and start shopping for a new one, it’s always a good idea make sure that price isn’t the only factor in your purchasing decision. When it comes time to purchase a new mattress, so many people skimp on quality in order to save money. If you need to save a bit before you can afford it, a few short-term options can help you sleep better in the meantime. For instance, mattress pads are generally pretty inexpensive and can relieve pain from pressure points and take some pressure off your spine. If you’re looking for more support, you can also simply insert a sheet of plywood between your mattress and bed frame.
Position Yourself for Less Back Pain
What is your sleeping position? How you sleep might be the cause of your back pain. The best sleeping position for people with back pain is on the back. Stomach and side sleeping positions tend to contort the spine in ways that lead to more pain, so consider changing your sleep habits if you regularly sleep in one of these positions. Unfortunately, most people have mattresses that are far too soft for a back sleeping position, so their lower backs and hips sink out of alignment during the night. However, one or two pillows behind the knees can correct your posture enough to reduce pain.
A Pillow Here, A Pillow There
Your pillow is almost as important as your mattress because it supports the alignment of your neck and upper back. The kind you should have depends on your sleeping position, too. Back and stomach sleepers should use thinner pillows so that their heads aren’t jutting out during the night. Side sleepers need more support, so thicker, firmer pillows are ideal. If you’re not sure about which pillow to buy, consider buying several different options and trying them out. You can always return the ones that don’t work for you. On the other hand, you can also use those extra pillows to support your legs. Use them under your legs if you are a back sleeper and between your knees if you sleep on your side.
Just because you have back pain at night, doesn’t necessarily mean that bad sleep habits are the cause. What you do during waking hours affects the quality of your sleep, too. For instance, if you don’t get enough exercise, your back and core muscles won’t be strong enough to support you while you sleep. Poor posture during the day, perhaps from sitting at a desk and staring at a computer screen for hours at a time, might lead to pain that you don’t feel right away. Likewise, if your standing posture doesn’t help your back pain, you might need to look at some ways to help you straighten up. If you think that what you do during the day might be affecting how you sleep, make some changes.
For more tips and advice on good sleeping habits and back pain relief, contact Dr. Mike’s office in Miami. He and his supportive staff will help you overcome your pain with proven chiropractic techniques and procedures.