Sleeping Solutions for Chronic Back Pain
If you’re one of the eighty percent of adults living with back pain, getting a good night’s sleep is a feat. But don’t let that stand between you and quality rest. One of our power beds is a great way to expand your range of comfortable sleeping positions, of course. But there are additional ways to help deal with a bad back. Try these six tips for a little relief, and let us know if they work for you.
1) If you sleep on your side, pull your knees up slightly and place a pillow between them. This will help keep your legs from sliding and help reduce the stress from your hips and lower back.
2) If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees. This will help maintain the natural curve of your lower back. If it doesn’t help, try adding a small, rolled towel under the small of your back for some extra support.
3) Don’t sleep on your stomach. This can flatten your spine’s natural curve, straining the back muscles. Additionally, it may also twist your neck. Unofficial CrossFit physical therapist Kelly Starrett notes that sleeping on your stomach results in the “crushing down” of your cervical vertebrae joints. The cervical vertebrae are the thinnest and most delicate bones, and they have a huge job. Not only do they support the head, but they also protect the spinal cord and provide mobility to the head and the neck. Your neck sustains enough damage from sitting all day; please be kind to it at night.
4) Choose the right mattress. A mattress that’s too soft or saggy can throw your spine out of alignment. Ditch sleep systems made out of short-lived springs that push back against the body, and choose one that’s made with natural latex. (Bonus: It’ll be a lot more resistant to dust mites and mold.)
5) Improve your pillow game. Replace your pillow every twelve to eighteen months. Get ready to be grossed out: up to half the weight of an old pillow can be skin cells, mold, fungus, and dust mites. Yuck! Back sleepers need thinner pillows to prevent the head from being pushed too far forward. Side sleepers should get a firmer pillow to fill in the space between the shoulder and the ear. For those wanting an advanced pillow strategy, invest in a pillow with extra thickness in the bottom third, which will help cradle your neck. A low-budget alternative from Kelly Starrett: insert a rolled-up towel into your pillow sleeve.
6) Be mindful of your activity levels during the day. If you have back pain during the eight hours you sleep, there’s a good chance it stems from what your back does during the day. You’re almost certainly sitting (or slouching) too much. Try to stand as much as possible during the day, work on your posture, and stretch at least once per day. Finally, your feet may be to blame for some of the back pain, so make sure they're properly cared for as well.
What's the big deal about the Zero Gravity position for sore backs? Learn more.
Note: This website is not intended to diagnose or treat any medical condition. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, always consult with a physician or other health care professional.