Ever wake up with an achy back? Most Americans have struggled with back pain at some point in their life – but there’s no need to live with it!
Your back is a combination of strong bones, flexible ligaments and tendons, large muscles, and highly sensitive nerves. It is designed to be very strong to protect nerve roots, yet flexible enough to provide mobility in daily life.
Back pain can either be acute, chronic, or neuropathic and it’s important to have a doctor diagnose which type of pain you are suffering from so that you can get proper medical care, if needed.
Acute pain is common and is defined as pain lasting less than 3 to 6 moths, or pain that is directly related to tissue
Chronic pain can be debilitating for most people because it tends to last more than six months. Certain structural spine conditions, such as degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and spondylolisthesis can cause ongoing pain until it is successfully treated.
Neuropathic pain is caused from nerve damage after the signs of the original injury are gone. Neuropathic pain is different from pain caused by an underlying injury and feels different than musculoskeletal pain. It is often described as: severe, sharp, lancinating, lightning-like, stabbing, burning, cold, and/or ongoing numbness.
It’s important to know when to see a physician for your back pain — but what if back pain is caused by your physical sleeping patterns?
The truth is — the spine wants to be perfectly aligned all day, but how can it when we spend one-third (8 hours) of our day in bed? Consider the way you sleep so that you can make changes which may reduce your back pain.
How can we help keep our spine in proper alignment while we sleep? Here are a few sleeping positions to avoid, which may be contributing to your back pain. Change resting positions if:
- Your lower back is overly arched: For those with tight hips, sleeping with your legs too straight may pull the lower back into an arched position.
- Your back is overly rounded: Tucking the legs up too close to the chest will result in an over-rounding of the lower back.
- Your shoulders are overly hunched and the head is bent down too much: If you find yourself curled up as you sleep, it may be important to pay attention to your shoulder and neck alignment.
- You’re sleeping on your stomach: Tight hips cause the lower back to overly arch. Try putting a pillow under your stomach/groin to help push your lower back into alignment.
In most cases, the best way to get a good night’s sleep and avoid back pain is to sleep on your back. Sleeping on your back protects neck, back, and hips from twisting, which can help keep your back in alignment.
Sleeping on your back also reduces aggravation to different parts of the spine. While resting on your back, you are naturally lying flat which is letting gravity re-align the body – it can off-set the effect of sitting at your desk job for 8 hours, with your head tilting forward.
If changing your sleeping position doesn’t relieve back pain, or if you believe that you are suffering from chronic pain, seek a consultation with Dr. Kamson by calling (206) 496-0630. Find out if a minimally invasive procedure may eliminate your achy back – so you can get a good night’s sleep!
- Spine Health, “Spinal Anatomy and Back Pain.” Retrieved on 11/22/2016 at spine-health.com/conditions/spine-anatomy/spinal-anatomy-and-back-pain.
- Spine Health, “Types of Back Pain: Acute Pain, Chronic Pain, and Neuropathic Pain.” Retrieved on 11/22/2016 at http://www.spine-health.com/conditions/chronic-pain/types-back-pain-acute-pain-chronic-pain-and-neuropathic-pain.
- Modern Health Monk, “Got Back Pain When Sleeping? Here’s How to Fix It (In Pictures).” Retrieved on 11/22/2016 at http://modernhealthmonk.com/back-pain-when-sleeping/