Waking up with back pain is no picnic. Rather than feeling refreshed and ready for a new day, back pain can make it a struggle to get up. People who suffer from chronic back pain in the morning may be uncomfortable enough to be anxious about going to bed. That can lead to ongoing cycle of poor sleep and even more pain.
The doctors at Lone Star Pain Medicine in Weatherford, Texas say that there are lots of things that can cause morning back pain. In some cases, the root cause is related to how a person sleeps. In other cases, the pain is caused by some underlying condition.
Below are some tips for addressing minor back pain by adjusting how you sleep. If you would consider your pain severe or debilitating, you might want to schedule a visit with your doctor. The same thing goes if you apply the tips and still find no relief.
Use Extra Pillows
A person’s preferred sleeping position might be causing minor back pain. In such cases, the spine and hips are not getting enough support to remain properly aligned. Something as simple as using an extra pillow can make a big difference.
For example. People who sleep on their backs can place a pillow or two under their knees. This slightly elevated position keeps the spine and hips better aligned. As an added bonus, it takes pressure off the toes and ankles.
People who sleep on their sides can place a pillow between their legs, at the knees. This prevents the upper leg from sliding forward and hanging slightly over the lower leg. A more properly aligned spine is the result. As for stomach sleepers, placing an extra pillow underneath the lower abdomen can take a lot of pressure off the lumbar spine.
Replace Your Mattress
Mattresses do not last forever. A good mattress typically has a lifespan of about 20 years. On old and uncomfortable mattress will not just be uncomfortable to fall asleep in but it will also be uncomfortable throughout the night, interrupting your sleep and possibly contributing to back pain.
For some people, coil spring mattresses are a problem. The springs create pressure points that irritate an already sensitive back. Three types of mattresses are available as alternatives:
- Air – An air mattress (not a camping mattress) utilizes bladders placed inside a foam frame and encased in a heavy shell that closely resembles a coil spring mattress. The bladders are adjustable for optimal firmness.
- Memory Foam – A memory foam mattress is just as its name suggests. It is a thick block of memory foam that offers firm support and enveloping comfort.
- Foam-Gel Hybrid – This type of mattress combines memory foam with a layer of gel. The secondary layer makes the mattress a bit softer than memory foam alone.
Rise More Slowly
Believe it or not, some people suffer morning back pain because they attempt to get out of bed too quickly. They wake up and immediately spring to action. The solution is to slow down. Spend a few minutes lying in bed and stretching the arms and legs. Then sit up slowly on the edge of the bed. After a moment, plant your feet firmly on the ground and lift up from the knees, keeping your back straight.
None of these tips are likely to help if you are suffering from an underlying condition such as a slipped disc or spondylolisthesis. But for minor back pain that is merely the result of how you sleep, relief could be just a few quick adjustments away.