Back pain is a widespread problem many adults are faced with every day. It is estimated that around 80% of adults will experience back pain at some time in their lives. It is also responsible for being the third most common reason adults visit their doctors.
Falling asleep can seem impossible while suffering from an aching back. If you are able to fall asleep, your symptoms may even worsen overnight. Luckily, there are many ways to ease sleeping and improve your spine health at the same time.
Consider A New Mattress
The mattress you sleep on could be the main cause of your spine pain. It is important that you ensure you are using a mattress that supports your back while also offering a peaceful night of sleep. Medium firmness mattresses are best for the health of your spine. Having a memory foam mattress or a cushion top mattress can also be beneficial. Even if you are happy with the feel of your current mattress it could be time for a replacement. According to The National Sleep Foundation, your mattress should be replaced every 10 years.
Study Sleep Positions
Side or back sleeping are both ideal for minimizing back issues. In these positions, your spine remains in a straight line throughout the night which eases any pressure. For those who sleep on their stomachs, they often find there is too much stress placed on the lower back. If your body is used to falling asleep while on your stomach, attempt to train yourself to sleep in a more back-friendly-position. What’s more important is that you have a mattress and pillow that supports your spine properly.
Use Props and Pillows
Like mattresses, pillows should be replaced regularly to ensure they are giving the proper support. It is suggested that you replace standard pillows every six to 12 months. Memory foam pillows, on the other hand, are made with strong cores and can last up to two to three years before needing to be replaced. Contrary to popular belief pillows are not just for heads. Side sleepers can benefit from a pillow or wedge between their knees. Stomach sleepers should use the pillow below their stomachs to support their lower back. The idea behind using the pillow as a prop is the support your spine and keep it aligned causing the least amount of stress.
Seek Healthy Alternatives
All of the tips above are great to improve the health of your spine, but there are other alternatives worth considering to reduce the stress placed on your spine. Building up your core during the day is one way. Core and stomach exercises help build strong abdominal muscles, which serve to support your spine. Stretching exercises and yoga can also help in relieving tension that is known to cause back pain. Visiting a chiropractor, getting massages, or getting an acupuncture treatment may help ease the nightly pain. Essential oils such as eucalyptus, frankincense or peppermint should also be considered. Diffusing these oils at night may help you to awaken with a back that is less achy.
If you have serious back issues you should always consult your physician. In many cases, the underlying problem is due to the position of your spine while lying in bed at night. Using your nighttime hours to support and promote the health of your spine rather than contribute to issues may be all you need to begin living pain-free.