Sleeping Away Back Pain
By Sara Butler
When it comes to the health of your back, one of the most important things you can do is sleep in a way that supports it. This is even more important if you suffer from back pain. Here are some of the ways you may be making your pain worse as you sleep and what you can do to avoid them.
The Worst Way to Sleep
If you ever tell the chiropractor at The Joint you’re a stomach sleeper, be prepared for a lecture. This is absolutely the worst way you can sleep for your back. When you sleep on your stomach, you’re forced to turn your head in order to breathe. That puts pressure on the neck, often hyper-extending it. It also happens to exaggerate the arch of the lower back, leading to instability and possibly pain. This position also compresses the spinal joints. If you’re already struggling with back pain, then it can get even worse. Over time, the stress and strain placed on your spine by this position can lead to irreversible degenerative changes.
How You Should Sleep
There are two generally acceptable sleeping positions for back pain. They are:
- Flat on your back – In this position you want to make sure to support your spine by keeping the knees slightly bent. Put a pillow under your knees and keep your head in line with the rest of your body, not up too high.
- On your side – In this position, you need to place a pillow between your knees to keep your hips supported as well as the lower back. It works best with the bottom leg straight and the top leg bent over the pillow. You can hug a pillow to your chest for extra support, too.
Your Mattress is Bad
A mattress that is too old and saggy or unsupportive can be a real issue when you have back problems. Actually, it can be a real issue anytime, but especially when you are struggling with back problems and pain.
Many mattresses are only good for about 10 years – how long have you had yours? After that, they will begin to degrade and not work to support your body while sleeping. Make sure you replace your mattress under manufacturer’s guidelines and make sure when buying new mattresses they offer the support you need.
Talk to your chiropractor about the ways you can avoid back pain when you sleep!
To learn more about your health and wellness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Pasadena, Tex.