For many people, back pain can become a chronic problem that interferes with daily productivity and restful sleep. Unfortunately, this can create a vicious cycle as a lack of sleep can cause pain to be experienced on a more intense level. Thankfully, there are several techniques that you can start using tonight to get a better night’s sleep despite chronic back pain.
Depending on whether you prefer to sleep on your back, stomach, or side, there are several techniques you can implement to improve your sleep quality. Here are five of the most highly recommended sleeping positions for those who suffer from back pain:
Side Sleeping with Pillow Between Knees
For many people who experience regular back pain, lying flat can aggravate those symptoms and create stiffness as well. Side sleeping is highly recommended as a better way to take pressure off the spine. However, it is important to keep the spine in its proper alignment if you prefer to sleep on your side. This is best performed by placing a pillow under your head and between your knees.
Placing a pillow between your knees prevents you from rolling forward as you sleep. For best results with this position, be sure to avoid sleeping on the same side each night so that you don’t develop an imbalance in the muscles and supporting ligaments of the back.
Side Sleeping in Fetal Position
For those who have a curvature of the spine that contributes to their back pain, sleeping in the fetal position can help take unnecessary pressure off the spinal cord. Pain that results from herniated discs in the spine can also be greatly reduced by utilizing this position. Simply lie on your side and support your neck with a pillow. Draw your knees up toward your chest and curl your upper body toward your knees. Remember to switch sides regularly anytime you make use of side sleeping positions.
Back Sleeping with Pillow Under Knees
The important thing to remember in all sleeping positions is to keep your spine in a neutral alignment. Since everyone’s lower back tends to have a natural curve to it, placing a pillow under the knees while lying on your back can keep your spine aligned properly. If you notice a gap between your lower back and the mattress as you rest in this position, placing a small rolled up towel under this area can help take excess stress off your lower back. Back sleeping, when performed properly, allows your body weight to be evenly distributed and reduces the development of painful pressure points in various areas.
Stomach Sleeping with Pillow Under Pelvis
Those with back pain are often advised to avoid sleeping on their stomach as this is one position that tends to place a lot of strain on the spine and its supporting ligaments. However, some people turn on their stomach once they are asleep out of habit or to seek a more comfortable position.
If you prefer to sleep on your stomach, be sure to place an extra pillow under your pelvis. This helps to keep your lower back from dipping during sleep, creating more pain. Depending on your personal preference, you may find you don’t need a pillow under your neck once you are using one under your pelvis. Those with degenerative disc disease generally find a lot of relief in this position as it opens the spaces between the vertebrae of the spine.
Believe it or not, some people with specific back conditions or injuries respond best to reclined sleeping. This can include sleeping against an incline cushion on a bed or simply sleeping in your favorite comfortable reclining chair. If your budget allows, the best and most comfortable long-term option is a bed that allows you to adjust the incline with the simple push of a button. By choosing an adjustable bed, you can make easy alterations to the level of incline needed if the state of your medical condition changes over time.
What to Look for in a Mattress
Mattresses are usually a large investment, and we all want to make sure we choose the right one for our needs. Keep the following points in mind as you shop for a mattress designed to last you many years to come.
Know Your Personal Preference for Firmness
If you have local mattress shops that will allow you to test a mattress before you commit yourself to purchasing it, be sure to take advantage of this. While lying on a mattress for a few minutes may be comfortable, sleeping on it for eight hours a night on an ongoing basis may not.
Choose an Adjustable Mattress if Possible
Many of today’s mattresses adjust their firmness levels as well as their level of incline. Since your health condition may change over time, this can be a very useful quality in a mattress.
Strike a Balance Between Comfort and Support
Your overall comfort while lying on a mattress is just as important as the existence of adequate back support. Inquire about the type of inner springs that each mattress contains and the reputation the mattress has for improving back pain in the long run.
Best Mattress Brands
The following five mattress brands are commonly recognized as providing high-quality sleeping surfaces designed to last a number of years.
Casper is a unique company in that they offer only one mattress designed to fit all sleep needs in the best manner. The Casper mattress consists of memory foam underneath a layer of latex foam. It rates among the highest in terms of customer satisfaction and runs approximately $950 for a Queen size mattress.
Tempur-Pedic is another well-known brand regarding customer satisfaction and all-over comfort. Tempur-Pedic offers a wide variety of mattress types with prices ranging from $1,200 to over $6,000 on the high end. Most of the available Tempur-Pedic mattresses utilize a proprietary foam inside to offer comfort, support, and quality sleep overall.
The Simmons brand includes several well-known mattress lines including Beautyrest and ComforPedic. Prices can range from a modest $500 to over $6,000 for a top-of-the-line latex pillow-top Queen-sized mattress.
Serta mattresses are available at large chain stores such as Sears. Serta is well-known for offering a technology known as Cool-Action memory foam. This unique material is designed to provide maximum comfort while regulating body temperature during sleep more effectively. Prices range from $200 to over $3,000 for a Queen size luxury model.
Sealy remains one of the largest mattress manufacturers in America. Their range of mattresses is specifically marketed as being helpful for those with back issues. Sealy offers a wide range of mattress materials including those made with memory foam and plush pillow tops for ideal comfort. Prices for Sealy mattresses can range from $500 to over $4,000 for more luxurious models.
Back pain is one of the most common physical complaints among American adults. By approaching this problem from multiple angles such as those mentioned above, many people can obtain relief and get quality sleep on an ongoing basis.