A Beginner’s Guide To Sleeping With Lower Back Pain

Written by: Chris

Updated on:

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Over the course of the past several days, the invigorating experience of a good night’s sleep has escaped your grasp, interrupted by the re-emergence of your chronic lower back pain. No matter how you’ve tossed and turned, trying to get positioned comfortably, the nagging pain and discomfort have kept you awake.

If lower back pain has been keeping you up at night, take heart, as you are not alone.

As lower back pain statistics indicate, this uninvited bedroom guest afflicts over 30 million of us each year and, at one time or another, will inevitably cause 8-out-of-10 people to miss out on valuable sleep.

You are far from achieving doctors’ recommend 7-9 hours of sleep, and you’re feeling the effects. We’re going to look at what may be causing your lower back pain, and how you can ease the discomfort to make way for a good night’s sleep.

These Chronic Lower Back Pain Conditions May be Disrupting Your Sleep

A man in his office who has a lower bad back

According to the Mayo Clinic online chronic (long-term) back pain stems usually from a number of pre-existing medical conditions, including:

  • A past traumatic injury to your spine like a car accident, fall, or sports injury
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Getting older, body wear-and-tear
  • A past back surgery
  • Bulging or ruptured spinal disks
  • Osteoporosis

To get you back on track towards a full night’s sleep, there is some positive news with respect to alleviating the onset and symptomatic intensity of low back pain. In fact, there are several tried and true methods to help ensure that when your head hits the pillow, the next thing you will be hearing should be your alarm clock next morning.

Let’s take a look at some of these back pain-reducing, sleep-inducing recommendations now.

Toss that Old Mattress to the Curb

Does the surface of your current mattress exhibit bulging, sagging or an indented appearance? Or is it more than 10 years old? If you answered yes to any part of those questions, it’s time to throw that thing out.

It’s time to invest in your back. Purchase a mattress paying close attention to the firmness and material. Firmness means how it feels when you lay down totally reclined, and mattresses come in a variety of support levels, from very soft to really firm.

According to recent studies conducted by back specialists, a medium firmness mattress actually works the best for many chronic back pain sufferers. However, different body weights can require different firmness:

  • A heavier person with wider hips tends to feel more comfortable on a softer product.
  • A thinner individual with narrow hips sleeps better on a more firm bed surface.

Ideally, your spine needs to be aligned in its natural position, even while lying down and asleep.

The next factor to consider is the material itself that the mattress is constructed from, inside and out. For the most part, this is dependent on personal preference. Mattresses come composed of foam, latex, coiled inner springs, air and adjustable firmness. Oh, and for anyone who lived the water bed craze of the 1970s and 80s, those definitely were not the most “back friendly” choices out there!

In any event, the best mattresses have been found to be the ones with adjustable firmness settings. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive, and many of us cannot afford that level of comfort in our bedrooms.

So overall, let your body be your guide as it directs you to select the right mattress in order to facilitate a full night’s sleep, while also helping to relieve your lower back pain issues. Some of the big firms have specialist technology that will also help you figure which is best for you.

Build a Solid Core to Support Your Spine

A woman training her core using a yoga ball

Actually strengthening your core back muscles that will be resting on that surface is another key method to helping your back. Research has determined that when you use core back muscle strengthening and stretching exercises, your spine is better supported during the day, and even at night while you twist and turn, resulting in less stress to your lower back.

This will go a long way in preventing a subsequent lower back pain flare-up and reduce the inflammation, discomfort, and aching that accompany such episodes. Working on your body’s core also has so many other back health issue-resolving benefits moving forward, including these:

  • Releases natural pain relievers into your system like endorphins and serotonin
  • Promotes better circulation and oxygenation to your spinal tissues
  • Facilitates more rapid healing, including stressed back muscles
  • Helps reduce mental stress which can exacerbate lower back pain
  • Causes you to be more tired at bedtime which will help you sleep soundly

Bottom line: A stronger back and trunk muscle core will help you sleep soundly during the night, while warding off the unwanted lower back pain.

In Conclusion

Good posture even in bed leads to a deeper sleep, and all these pointers should guide you to a stronger, healthier, happy back.

Disclaimer: The content provided on this website is for informational purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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