Lower back pain can affect every aspect of your life and can be the result of several factors, including how you sleep. Poor sleeping posture can cause low back pain or worsen current pain from medical conditions by putting additional pressure on your spine, neck, hips and back. For example, if you have sciatica when you lie down or stand up, it can get worse, as compression in the spine reduces blood flow that provides oxygen to the discs. Let's look at the factors that may cause or worsen your back pain.
The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain is a common ailment that can be triggered by different factors. For example, poor sleeping habits that ultimately lead to improper alignment during sleep can easily put undue stress in your body, causing it to become twisted and contorted when you finally settle down for a good night’s rest. To help you achieve the best possible alignment while in bed, we suggest using pillows to support your body and fix any potential issues with shape or position before you begin snoozing. Of course, we will also be going over how you can immediately alleviate and relieve yourself from any lower back pain that could possibly come from these ailments.
Positions for Back Sleepers
Back Sleepers! Did you know that laying on your back is a great way to avoid straining and waking up with low back pain? It's helpful to maintain proper alignment of your head, shoulders, hips, and knees when reclining. Laying on your back will help keep your body weight spread over a larger surface area, so as to alleviate pressure points that could hurt your lower back. Here are the ways in which you could get such desirable results:
1. Place a pillow under your knees
How many pillows you use depends on the firmness and fullness of your bed.
2. Use a leg raise pillow
To raise your legs and knees to a 45 degree angle, you can use regular pillows instead of getting a leg raise pillow. Proper positioning will require multiple pillows that may shift out of place once you fall asleep.
3. In a reclined position using a bed wedgeThis angle, when your head is slightly elevated and if your bed is adjustable, is the best resting position for those with back pains. Resources have indicated that sleeping in a horizontal or reclining position helps alleviate pain in other areas of the body. If you love stretching a lot, then you might also use this moment to lengthen out those muscles, because sitting in a chair all day could cause problems in the long-run.
Positions for Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side makes you fall asleep quickly, but keeps you from sleeping deeply. Your top knee pulls down and can cause pain. If you’re a side sleeper, make sure your hips and waist are properly angled to relieve pressure on the back.
4. Using a pillow between your knees
Traditional pillows are great too cozy down with at night, but what about when you're traveling or out camping in the great outdoors? When it comes to finding a comfortable place to snooze, there are ample options for every situation and preference. One of the most popular alternatives is knee pillows. These contouring cushions are uniquely designed with a gentle slope, giving your bottom leg room to stretch out, while the other side is tapered inward so as to keep your back comfortably straightened. The end result is an ergonomic solution for a more peaceful sleep!
5. Placing support under the hollow of your waist
If you're a side sleeper, there are a few things that can help you avoid back pain, including a special pillow or rolled up towel. If you place something like this under your waist, it helps lift your spine just enough so that your posture isn’t compromised - preventing future body aches.
6. In the fetal position
If you want to avoid back pain when you sleep, sleeping in the fetal position or on your side is best. When you lie with your knees pulled up, the space between your vertebrae decreases, allowing more room for the spinal column. This allows room for free movement and lessens back pain, helping you sleep more soundly throughout the night.
Tips for Sleeping with Lower Back Pain
Before we get into position, let’s bust some of these myths and rumors about back pain! Here’s the thing, many people think lower back pain is caused by sleeping longer or too high up on a mattress. However, sleep position has little to do with developing lower back pain, and it’s even common for those suffering from pain to sleep in different positions at different times throughout the day. The main thing when it comes to preventing this from happening is what position you fall asleep in. "When we dream, we toss and turn while our muscles flex and relax," Maher says. And getting your body into certain positions while sleeping can compound that issue all night long.
Your sleeping position is not the only thing that can help prevent lower back pain. In this section, we'll discuss how these other variables can help you get the best night's sleep and ensure you're pain-free regularly.
Use Cold Packs or Heating Pads
Lower back pain can be caused by a slew of conditions. Muscle spams, pinched nerves, and herniated discs, just to name a few. If you suffer from acute lower back pain, a cold pack will help reduce inflammation and the pressure your injury may be putting on nearby tissue. After a few days of icing your injury, you may want to consider using a herbal heating pad instead to warm up tissues. This is also known as hot-cold therapy - it encourages blood flow, which will lead to more oxygen and nutrients reaching injured tissue, thereby bringing relief where it's needed most!
Get In and Out of Bed Carefully
When you get out of bed, do not bend forward to stand up. The bending motion places stress on the lower back. Instead, roll onto your side, move your legs over the edge of the bed, and guide your arms under your trunk and push your upper body into a sitting position. From there, slowly stand up. Reverse this movement when getting into bed.
Use Positioning Pillows
Pillows used to support the head during sleep may not support the legs, back and hip area of your body. We’ve found that foam pillows created for positioning the body are better at supporting some areas than others. If you’re a side sleeper, a body pillow can support almost every joint in your body.
Consider Massage Therapy
Still another method to prevent lower back pain is massages. The idea behind massage therapy is to release the tightness in your back muscles, as well as ease tensions which could spur on your discomfort. In fact, you can get massages performed virtually any part of your body, like your head, shoulders, and legs. Unfortunately, not all massage therapists are trained in this area, which translates into some people receiving sub-par instead of the full effectiveness of their massages. So if you want to perform a massage for you, look for someone who specializes in sports or therapeutic massages versus a technique used solely for relaxation purposes.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have pain radiating down your leg or up your back, and this is not getting better, increasing in severity, or accompanied by numbness, pins-and-needles sensations, weakness and/or a fever, it's time to get it checked out by a doctor. Your physician can uncover the underlying problem causing pain that can develop into chronic back pain. If a specialist doesn't find anything wrong with you, then physical therapy can help strengthen your core from within and ensure you return to normal activities again as soon as possible.