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Sleep & Rest

Simple Sleeping Techniques To Relieve Your Back Pain Effectively

Back pain can strike at any time, and when it does, it can range from a general uncomfortable feeling to extreme pain. Many things can contribute to back pain such as sitting positions, posture, bending or lifting awkwardly and weakened muscles, but the way in which we sleep can actually be a major cause.

Did you know that around two-thirds of people with back pain suffer from some kind of sleep disorder? Considering the majority of us spend about a third of our lives getting our shut-eye, it’s important to consider how our sleeping arrangements might affect us physically. Our sleeping patterns, whether lack of, or interrupted sleep together with improper sleeping positions can have a huge effect on whether or not we develop back pain and making positive changes can help relieve back pain and increase our quality of life.

How To Relieve Back Pain By Changing Your Sleeping Positions

We all have our favourite sleeping positions, some allow us to fall asleep much more easily but not all are beneficial to our back health. Here are 4 sleeping techniques that can help relieve back pain or prevent it from occurring in the first place.

1. Sleeping on your back

via Cleveland Clinic

Sleeping on your back isn’t the easiest of positions for people to fall asleep, but it is the best sleeping position for overall health and will do wonders for your back and the alignment of your spine. By laying on your back, you are placing the spine in a neutral position and distributes your weight evenly across the body helping to keep your internal organs in a stress-free natural position.

If you have trouble sleeping on your back, try placing a pillow under your knees. This will help prevent you from rolling onto your side or end up in your usual position.

2. Alternating sides

via Cleveland Clinic

If you must sleep on your side, try not to stay in one position for a long period of time. We obviously can’t control this when we’re sleeping but in the moments leading up to sleep try to alternate from left to right.

Sticking to one side can cause muscle imbalance forcing the alignment of the spine out of place. The hips and pelvis also get pushed into an unfamiliar position causing stress on the spine. Try placing a pillow between the knees to create a better hip alignment.

3. Position your pillow correctly

via Cleveland Clinic

Whether you opt to sleep on your back or side, the positioning of your pillow is key for keeping optimal alignment for your back muscles and spine. Always position your pillow beneath your head and neck and not your shoulders.

When sleeping on your back, make sure the pillow supports the gap between your neck and the mattress while sleeping on your side requires the pillow to be thicker and places under the ear in order to keep the head and neck in alignment with your back.

4. Sleeping positions change for different body types

via Cleveland Clinic

Whether you have wider hips than your waist or your hips and waist are relatively straight, it can make a difference to your mattress needs. Wider hips benefit from a softer mattress as it allows your spine to stay in a neutral position, whereas straight waist and hips require a firmer mattress in order to get the needed support.

How Lack Of Sleep Leads To Back Pain

When it comes to sleep and back pain, we tend to think of sleeping positions but when we don’t get enough sleep our whole body suffers and sleep deprivation can lower our pain threshold, therefore highlighting a back pain problem much more.

Lack of sleep also causes muscles to become fatigued and tired. This means the muscles around the spine become weakened and take longer to recover and when this happens the back becomes less supported and susceptible to misalignment and pain.

To optimize better sleep and create less back pain, there are many positive habits you can adopt before bedtime. These include:

  • Rubbing back muscles to promote blood flow and relaxation.
  • Taking a hot bath to relax the muscles and lessen aches and pains. This will also promote a better sleep.
  • Meditation or breathing techniques can help relax the mind and body.
  • Changing your mattress if it’s nearing seven years of use. Regular use can cause less support over time and attribute to increased back pain.
  • Investing in a well-made innerspring or foam mattress that provides good support.

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