How to Prevent Back Pain in Bed
It’s a problem many of us are all too familiar with: you settle down to a restful night’s sleep only to be plagued by aches and pains in your lower back. Unfortunately, back pain at night is a common complaint. However, you may be surprised to learn that your bed (and the way you sleep in it) can make an existing back problem far worse and even cause problems with your back if you didn’t have them before. On the other hand, the right bed and healthy sleeping habits can work wonders when it comes to improving back pain. So, how do you prevent back pain in bed? Read on for some top tips straight from the experts.
Take a long, hard look at your mattress
So, how exactly do you know that your bed is at least partly to blame for your sore back? Well, there are a few tell-tale signs you can look out for. First of all, have a look at your bed. Are there any dips in the mattress, or is it sagging? If this is the case, your mattress is not providing you with the support your spine needs. Over time, this can lead to a lot of unnecessary pain.
Also, ask yourself: when is my back pain the worst? If you wake up in real discomfort but find that your pain improves after you get up and over the course of the morning, this is a sure-fire way to tell that your bed is doing your back no favors.
Replace your mattress and bed frame if necessary
If you’ve reached the conclusion that your bed is making your back pain worse, it’s time to replace your mattress. Although this can be costly, sleeping on the right mattress is one of the best ways to help sort out a bad back. Which type of mattress you go for depends on various factors, including what position you sleep in and your body weight and size. However, what all good mattresses for back pain have in common is an excellent level of support for your spine, which helps to relieve discomfort. Therefore, support should be your number-one must-have while you’re mattress shopping
While you’re at it, don’t neglect your bed frame. Most people don’t think about the height of the frame when trying to tackle back problems. However, a low bed can make your pain worse. Think of it this way: it’s a bit like getting in and out of a sports car. Looks stylish, but the strain of rising from such a low position can play havoc with your back over time.
Ditch the piles of pillows
Many of us sleep on huge piles of fluffy pillows. While this may feel cosy when you’re nodding off, the truth is that too many pillows can put your neck at an awkward angle and, in turn, throw your whole spine out of alignment. All in all, it’s a recipe for a bad back. What’s the solution? Overall, the best thing is to sleep with just one thick, supportive pillow under your head. Although this may take some getting used to, your back will thank you in the morning.
You may have heard that the best thing is to sleep with no pillow at all. It’s true that some people do find this helps with back pain. However, most of us would find sleeping without a pillow impossible to get used to. In the end, if you’re not comfortable, then this is counter-productive as a way of reducing back pain. The exception is for stomach sleepers. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t a great position for your back. However, if you really must sleep this way, then moving the pillow from under your head to under your hips may go some way to improving your spine’s alignment.
Reconsider your sleeping position
Chances are, you’ve been sleeping in the same position since you were a kid. In fact, you’ve probably never given your sleeping position much thought at all. However, the position you adopt to catch some shut-eye can have a big effect on your back, both positive and negative. Most people sleep on their sides, with a smaller number sleeping on their backs or stomachs. If you sleep on your side or back: well done. You’re already in one of the better positions for your back. However, it’s not great news for stomach sleepers. This is the worst position you could choose to adopt as it provides very little support for your spine. Whilst breaking the habit of a lifetime is a tough ask, it may be worth it to ditch those aches and pains.
However, even back and side sleepers can still experience problems if their mattress is the wrong firmness. Back sleepers need a firmer mattress to give their back the support it needs. On the other hand, side sleepers will need something a little softer to allow the contours of the body to sink comfortably into the mattress. Placing a pillow between the knees can also help to support your spine into a healthier alignment if you sleep on your side. And if you sleep on your front? As we’ve already mentioned, the best thing would be to try to switch your sleeping position altogether. However, if you just can’t nod off any other way, then you’ll need a firm mattress to support your spine in this position.
The Bottom Line
As you can see, there are lots of simple measures you can take to help say goodbye to night-time back pain once and for all. From making positive changes to your bedding to changing the way you sleep, there is real hope for anyone struggling with a sore back during the night. While you may have to shell out a little for some new bedding, it’s worth it for a good night’s sleep. Sweet dreams!