Low back pain is one of the most common types of chronic pain, and is the largest cause of disability among those under 45 worldwide. Since back pain affects every facet of life, it comes as no surprise that more than half of people with back pain regularly report a significant problem with sleep, according to the European Spine Journal. What’s the problem with a lack of shut-eye, and how can you find rest and reduce back pain when sleeping?
The Sleep/Sick Cycle
People suffering from chronic low back pain often find that their condition is made worse by insomnia, with 50-80% reporting ongoing problems with sleep according to a study published in the Sleep Medicine Clinics Journal. The problem with not getting restful, restorative sleep is that it not only hampers the body’s immune system, it also affects mental function and pain perception. What results is a terrible cycle in which back pain disrupts sleep which makes pain seem worse, and then worsened pain makes it more difficult to sleep. What tips can help you get out of your sleepless rut and find lower back pain relief?
Prepare For Rest
Help your body prepare for rest by limiting consumption of any caffeinated or alcoholic drinks in the evening so you can improve your sleep quality. Also, avoid using any electronics for an hour or more before bed, since the blue light emitted from their screens restrains the production of melatonin, which makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.
Hydrate, But Not Too Much
Dehydration can sometimes trigger muscle cramping and spasms that contribute to low back pain. Drinking some water before settling down to rest can help keep muscles hydrated and relaxed, but don’t drink so much that having to get up repeatedly becomes a disruption.
Have Adequate Support
If your mattress is more than 5-7 years old, it’s recommended that you assess its current condition and consider a replacement. In a study published in the Journal of Applied Ergonomics, almost 63% of those surveyed reported that they experienced significant lower back pain relief after switching to a new sleep system. Also, propping the body to find comfort can help you stay asleep during the night. Consider using a pillow between the knees to neutralize strain on the hips and to keep the pelvis level, or using a pillow behind the upper back for support.
Stretch Before Bed
Doing some simple stretches for the muscles in the legs, hips and back before bed can keep muscles limber and joints hydrated, reducing, stiffness and back pain when sleeping. Try lying on your back and bringing the knees to the chest to loosen the muscles in the low back, supine twists to bring some movement into the mid to lower spine, and reclined “figure fours” to lengthen the muscles in the glutes and hips.
Find Relief and Rest with Atlanta Medical
We’re here to help! The Physicians at Atlanta Medical successfully treat all types of acute or chronic pain, and offer safe, minimally invasive, clinically proven medical treatments and therapies that are highly efficient. Contact us today to learn more about our effective, responsible pain management options.