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Back pain is one of the most common chronic conditions among American adults. You may not be surprised to learn that about 70 percent of American adults do not get enough sleep at least a few nights per month. About 11 percent of Americans don’t get enough sleep every night, explains the Sleep Foundation.
Poor-quality sleep could be related to chronic pain, but it can also be related to poor sleep hygiene, anxiety, excessive alcohol or caffeine consumption, and many other reasons. If your back pain interferes with your ability to sleep at night, use these tips for a better and more comfortable night’s rest.
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During the day when you are active, it may be easier to ignore the pain. At night, this becomes more difficult. You are trying to relax and fall asleep, but all you can perceive is your back pain. If you are anxious about your pain and your poor sleep, the anxiety can build upon itself.
Try some relaxation techniques before you go to bed. Breathing techniques, progressive muscle relaxation, or meditation are some good options. Writing in a journal, praying, or visualizing a relaxing scene can also help release tense muscles in your back.
You could try some home remedies for relieving pain when you sleep at night. Consider the application of a heating pad onto the area of your back that hurts. Taking a relaxing bath may also help with tight muscles that cramp at night. A handheld showerhead with the spray directed at the back could relax sore muscles. Drinking warm milk or herbal tea about 30 minutes before bedtime could encourage better sleep. You might benefit from aromatherapy for relaxation and reduction of pain at bedtime.
Your back pain could be aggravated by your sleep position. If you sleep on your side, try bending your legs toward your chest. Place a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your back, consider tucking a pillow under your back or below your knees. A rolled towel under the small of your back could also help with pain relief. f you are a stomach sleeper, try putting a pillow under your belly. You might consider eliminating the pillow under your head. This could reduce some of the strain on your neck and upper back.
Consider using more pillows and placing them around your body in order to take the pressure off sore areas. If your lower back aches, using a pillow between your knees or in the small of your back may offer some relief. If a standard-size head pillow does not provide enough support, experiment with other sizes and types.
A full-body pillow could help reduce aches and movement if you sleep on your side. If you usually use a fiberfill pillow, try a synthetic or natural latex or rubber foam pillow. Foam is firmer than fiberfill, and it might provide you with better support. You can also buy contoured pillows suited to your particular sleep style. These provide better support to your upper back, and they may reduce neck and upper back pain.
If your current mattress is more than eight to 10 years old, consider buying a new one. Over time, the foam in the mattress degrades, reducing the amount of support that it is able to provide to your body. If you have had a major health or life change, such as pregnancy, surgery, or significant weight loss or weight gain, even a new mattress might not provide the right type of support. A memory foam gel mattress offers to cushion for sensitive areas of your back. You might also benefit from a mattress that offers motion isolation, especially if you or your sleep partner move around a lot in your sleep.
Back pain impacts your ability to get comfortable, relax, and fall asleep. These tips are non-invasive, affordable solutions that you can try one at a time or combine several at once in order to find relief. Each of these solutions is a simple way to decrease your pain and wake up feeling well-rested.