Sleeping with Lower Back Pain Solutions

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Written by Guest | Last Updated December 3rd, 2019
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Guest Post by Jessica Hyden

Learning how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica is difficult. Everyone deserves a good night’s sleep but sometimes it is extremely difficult, especially if you suffer from chronic back pain like sciatica or arthritis. There are other causes for lower back pain that include issues with the lumbar discs, fractures, and congenital issues like scoliosis. Sadly up to 10 percent of people who suffer from chronic back pain have no solid diagnosis of the reason. 

When you are sleep deprived, you become more irritable and actually more sensitive to pain. Unfortunately, you are caught in a nasty circle of back pain resulting in less or poor sleep resulting in more back pain.

There are some things that you can try to alleviate the discomfort and help you rest better at night. You probably want to discuss these with your primary physician or caregiver before experimenting.

Body position

Avoid staying in the same position all through the night, because it can eventually cause even more problems.  

Elevating your knees may reduce the pressure. One way to do this is to bend your knees while lying flat on your back. Keeping your heels and buttocks on the bed, slide a pillow under your knees until you reach a comfortable position. It may take more than one pillow or different types of pillows, like throw pillows for example, that won’t give under pressure. The pillows should keep everything in alignment to relieve the pressure.

Sleeping on the side and curling into a fetal position helps some people. This can open the spaces between discs in your back and ease the discomfort.

Some people also find relief by sleeping in a reclining, rather than flat, position. Try adding a second pillow under your head. Just be sure to keep your neck and spine in good alignment. Sleeping in a recliner may or may not be the answer. The best choice would probably be an adjustable mattress or bed. This will keep all your parts in the best position but still give you the slight incline you are looking for.

Relaxation techniques

Not all back problems are caused by discs or nerves. Sometimes muscles simply tighten from the stress of the day.  

Try soaking in a warm bath before bed. This should relax the muscles and may even cause the release of endorphins. 

You should also try to maintain a consistent pre-sleep routine.  Psychologically, it will give your body and mind cues to know that it is time to rest. As much as possible, maintain a schedule to get your body into a circadian rhythm. Avoid caffeine, vigorous exercise, and scary movies. There are also methods of progressive relaxation akin to yoga. 

Your mattress

Mattresses do not last forever.  Most survive 7 to 10 years. If your mattress is older than that, start your research to find a new one. They are expensive, so give it the time you need to make an informed decision.

Realize that stretching out on a floor model may not give you the test run you need. When you have narrowed your search, see if the company offers a return policy after a specified time, like a 30-day trial period.  

Generally those individuals with back problems do better with a medium-firm to firm mattress that will provide the support the spine needs.  

There are also memory foam toppers. This is a removable piece of polyurethane that is sold in a number of thicknesses and density. It is laid on top of an existing mattress to provide more support.

A stopgap measure can be placing a piece of plywood under your mattress. This puts a buffer between the mattress and the box springs. Easing the bed movement can help with your lower back pain.

Here’s hoping that some of these techniques will help you learn how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica.

Jessica Hyden appreciates nature, animals, and how life can be so much better with the right new appliance. She and her husband manage a family business that includes home appliance innovation investment and home improvement courses that help young couples manage residential space and time.

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