We all know how important quality sleep is to our health, and unfortunately, many of us just aren’t getting it due to living busy lives and never finding enough time in the day! But when you also add in experiencing pain every time you try to sleep, there is even more chance you are not getting the quality sleep your body needs. Both poor sleep and chronic back pain can have a significant impact on our daily outlook and overall well-being. A spine doctor can help treat your back pain and also identify ways or relieving back pain so you can sleep better and experience healing faster. Here are a few ideas for how to relieve lower back pain when you are sleeping based on the expertise of the best spine doctors in Atlanta.
Try Sleeping on Your Back
If you aren’t already a back sleeper, then this might be a good time to try something new. Lying on your back can allow the spine to be in its most natural position and take the pressure off of specific areas of vertebrae where you are experiencing pain. This sleeping position also helps to evenly distribute your body weight along the spine, which also helps to minimize pressure points. In order to achieve healthy alignment of the head, neck, and spine, you might also consider putting a pillow beneath your knees to also help take the pressure off your hips, or place a small pillow or rolled-up towel beneath the small of your back.
Try Sleeping on Your Side
Side sleeping may take second place to sleeping on your back, but it is the preferred sleeping position for many people. The important thing to focus on when sleeping on your side is using pillows for support. Without any extra support, your spine may not be able to rest in its most natural alignment, which can actually cause more discomfort. When you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow between your knees to help open the hips and mimic the natural posture of the spine. Keeping your knees slightly bent and angled up toward the chest also helps the spine find its neutral position.
Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sorry, stomach sleepers! Doctors generally do not recommend sleeping on your stomach as it puts a lot of pressure on the spine and does not allow for the spine to rest in its neutral position. Because most of the weight in the body is centralized in the middle, this puts added strain on the spine. When the spine is strained as you sleep, this can add to the discomfort and pain you are already experiencing in your lower back. If you have trouble falling asleep without lying on your stomach, try placing a pillow underneath your stomach to help elevate the lower spine into a more neutral position with the upper spine and neck.
Improve Sleep Hygiene
Sleep hygiene refers to the healthy ways we prepare ourselves for sleep. This includes avoiding stimulants before bed, such as caffeine, and trying to avoid blue lights from cell phone and tablet screens right before bed. However, there are also ways to proactively help your body relax before bed, including yoga and stretching. Developing a routine before bad that includes light stretching and increasing blood flow through your body can signal your brain that it is time to relax. Your spine doctor and physical therapist can recommend stretches before bed that can help reduce pain in your lower back.
Improve Strength and Flexibility
Regular exercise and physical activity are great ways to improve and encourage healthy sleep patterns, and can also help in reducing lower back pain. Specific exercises can target areas surrounding the lower back to help strengthen the muscles and tendons that support the area. Stronger muscles surrounding your spine allow your body to healthily support the spine and can also improve posture.
Focus on strengthening the back muscles can help reduce discomfort when trying to maintain proper posture for long stretches of time. The more strength you have in both your back muscles and abdominal muscles, the more your body is able to maintain a healthy posture. Practicing stretches and exercises that improve flexibility in these areas can also allow the body to better absorb any twists or tumbles and keep the back safe.
Taking control of your sleep habits and sleeping posture is one way you can do your part to support a treatment plan for your lower back pain. Talk through your symptoms of back pain, including when you notice it most often, and what the pain feels like, with your spine doctor so they can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and personalized treatment plan. AICA Orthopedics spine doctors are part of a team of orthopedic doctors, physical therapists, and chiropractors who all work together to provide you with the comprehensive care you need to relieve your lower back pain for good.