My family just got back from a camping trip, so this guest post is very timely for my aching back! I hope it helps you, too.
How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain
Chronic lower back pain is a common ailment to many, and can lower the quality of life for those effected by it. There are many reasons for lower back pain, so let’s explore how to sleep with lower back pain, and what could make it worse or better.
Why does my lower back hurt?
There are many pieces of the spine and back that can cause your lower back to hurt. About 80% of people have low back pain at some point in their life. Your back is made up of spinal vertebrae, discs, ligaments, tendons and nerves.
Back pain can be either acute, which means it lasts on a number of days or weeks. Or it can be chronic, meaning it lasts for 3 months or more.
One of the most common causes of lower back pain are tendon or muscle strains, which is caused by twisting, heavily lifting, or moving the wrong way.
Degenerated discs are another very common cause of lower back pain, and this typically happens with age as your spinal discs dry out, and can cause pressure on your nerves. The degeneration happens naturally, but can be sped up by repetitive spinal motions over a long period of time, or impact trauma such a sports injury or car accident.
Sciatica is also another pain that can effect the back, and move down to your legs and possibly to your feet depending on the severity. This is caused by inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in your body running from your lower back to your feet.
Lower Back Pain after Sleeping
When you have lower back pain after sleeping, it’s likely that your sleeping posture is the cause. Sleeping in certain positions can put pressure on your spine and cause back strain with pressure on your joints. The important part of trying to remedy this is taking pressure off your back.
Best sleeping positions for back pain
An important impact on your daily life will be your sleeping position. Sleeping on your back does help with a healthy back, as it evenly distributes weight through the body’s surface. It helps alignment of the spine and body, and minimizes pressure points.
You can also sleep on your side with a pillow in between your knees. The emphasis here is the pillow in between your knees, because without that this sleeping position can pull the spine out of alignment and strain your lower back. A pillow will raise your upper leg, and restore the natural alignment of the hips and spine.
How to sleep on your back
If your favorite sleeping position is on your back, you’ll want to add some slight support here. Your pillow should be comfortably supporting the head and neck, without twisting the head sideways. A small pillow underneath your knees can provide extra support to maintain that natural curve of your spine. If you feel a gap between your back and the mattress, you can add a pillow under your lower back to help.
How to relieve lower back pain
There are several exercises to stretch your back in case of a back strain, such as the knee to chest, cat-cow yoga positions, and strengthening with a plank.
When it comes to disc degeneration or herniated discs you can explore other options depending on severity. Physical therapy such as stretching and strengthening help, but if the degeneration was progressed to a chronic level then an MRI may be necessary to see the exact cause of the pain.
Pain management for lower back pain is helpful while treating the underlying causes of the pain. You can talk to a doctor to see which treatment solutions are best for you.