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Waking up with back pain in the morning is definitely one of the worst feelings ever. Even if you are an early bird, getting out of bed when your back hurts can be quite a daunting task. But, don’t worry. You are not alone. About 80% of people in the U.S. experience lower back pain at some point in their life. So, what is the first thing you should do? Google your symptoms and make a diagnosis all by yourself. It is what most of us would do anyway, right?
Well, maybe we shouldn’t because for the majority of people back pain is not a symptom of any spine-related issue. Persistent pain in the back can be caused by many factors including stress, poor posture, bad mattress or even poor sleep position. If you have bad posture, your ergonomics may take a toll on your back that becomes worse at night when you’re lying still. Also, sleeping on your stomach causes your lower back to extend placing more pressure on it. Even side sleepers who don’t bend their knees might be unknowingly hurting their back while they sleep.
Before you go to the doctor’s to complain about your back pain, here are a few factors you should rule out first.
In case you are not suffering from back pain in the morning but you are trying to go to sleep while suffering from back pain then the following article should help you.
Evaluate if your Mattress still is the right one for you
Do you wake up with back pain in the morning? Or your back feels sore after sleeping? The chances are that your good old mattress is what is causing your back pain. Changing your mattress will not only make your bed more comfortable but also help you get rid of many other issues, including back pain.
If you think that it’s finally the time to get rid of your lumpy old mattress, here are some tips that will help you find the perfect one.
1. Ask for Advice
The first thing you can do is ask your friends and family for some advice. They will definitely have a lot to say about their mattresses, especially if some of them struggled with lower back pain. You can also search for customer reviews online and see which manufacturers have the best rating. Some manufacturers even offer a specially-designed mattress for back pain.
2. Try the Mattress Out
Don’t be shy to try out the mattresses in a store. Touching a mattress with your hands won’t help you make the right decision. Instead, once you’re in the store feel free to lie down on the mattress you like. We spend about 33% percent of our lives sleeping. So, you make sure to invest some time and money to make this experience as good as it gets.
While searching for a new mattress, you should try to find the one that will keep your spine aligned properly, just like when you’re standing. But, in general, you always pick the mattress that feels good to you.
You can also search for stores or online retailers who offer a 30-day money-back guarantee. This way, you will get to sleep on the mattress and return it if it doesn’t feel right.
3. Make any Change
What can you do if you are suffering from lower back pain but buying a new mattress for back pain is not in your budget right now? Making any change can be very beneficial. For example, if you feel like your mattress is saggy and you need more support, add a few sheets of plywood between the box spring and the mattress. If you need a bit more cushion, then consider purchasing a topper for back pain that is generally a more affordable solution than getting a brand new mattress.
Also, you can always use more pillows to help you get some better sleep. You must have heard the stories of pregnant women who have discovered the magic of using a full-body pillow. This type of pillow goes under their belly when they are lying on their side and it protects the spine’s natural curves by supporting the weight of the baby. Non-pregnant folks can do the same thing. Place a pillow under your knees, between them, and, of course, under your head to get a full support during your good night’s sleep.
Recommended Sleeping Position for back pain
We all know that pain can cause bad sleep. Did you know that bad sleep can cause pain? Or, to be more precise lower back pain. Something seemingly irrelevant as your sleeping position might be the leading cause of your back pain. So many people sleep on their stomach. But, this position is very likely to cause back pain. The reason behind this is that because of the lack of support your spine will bend while you sleep in this position. And, even sleeping on your back can cause pain if your spine is not properly aligned. Here are some tricks you can use to improve your sleeping position and get rid of lower back pain in the morning.
1. Add Knee Support While Sleeping on Your Back
Lying on the back is usually considered to be the best sleeping position that will keep your back healthy. This position evenly distributes your weight across your back. It also minimizes pressure points and ensures a proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine. But, what if you sleep on your back and still experience back pain? Well, then you should try placing a small pillow under your knees. This will provide additional support and help you maintain the natural curve of the spine. If you need even more support, then fill any other gaps that appear between your body and the mattress with additional pillows.
2. Sleep on the Side With a Pillow Between Your Knees
Lying on the side is definitely one of the most common and most comfortable sleeping positions. However, it can easily pull the spine out of its natural position. In return, this can strain your lower back. Luckily, it is quite easy to correct this sleeping position. All you’ll need is one additional pillow that can be placed between your knees. This trick will raise your upper leg and restore the natural alignment of your spine, hips, and pelvis. You can also place additional pillows at your waist area to create even greater support.
For those who tend to turn on their front while they sleep, they can also try hugging a large pillow against their chest and stomach.
3. Try Out the Fetal Position
The fetal position can help you solve your lower back pain. It can also bring relief to those with a herniated disc. To get into the fetal position, lie down on to one side and place a pillow under your head. Then, draw the knees towards your chest until your back is relatively straight.
This sleeping position is quite helpful because it reduces the bending of the spine and helps open up the joints.
4. Place a Pillow Under Your Stomach
As we already mentioned, sleeping on your stomach is one of the most frequent causes of lower back pain in the morning. But, there are so many people who find it impossible to sleep in any other position. One thing that might do the trick and bring relief is placing a slim pillow underneath your stomach and hips. This will undoubtedly improve spinal alignment and might cure your back pain. In addition, sleeping on the stomach might benefit people with a herniated disc or a degenerative disc disease.
Besides placing a slim pillow underneath your abdomen and hips, you should also consider using a flat pillow or sleeping without one.
5. Sleeping On Stomach With Head Face Down
If you tried placing a pillow under your stomach and still can’t feel any changes, here is one more thing you can do – try lying face down. One of the reasons why sleeping on your stomach is considered bad is because people tend to turn their head to one side. In return, this twists the spine and places stress on your neck, shoulders, and back.
A simple solution for this would be lying face down. Use a small but firm pillow or a rolled up towel to prop up your forehead and create some space for breathing. But, don’t forget one thing. It is highly unlikely that this tip will work if you forget to place a slim pillow underneath your abdomen and hips.
6. Sleep in a Reclined Position
If none of the mentioned solutions work, then you might consider sleeping in a reclined position. This position can help those suffering from lower back pain. It is particularly beneficial for those suffering from isthmic spondylolisthesis.
How can you know if this position works for you? Do you ever feel significant relief while resting in a recliner chair? If so, then you might consider investing in a bed that can be adjusted and positioned accordingly. Or, you can simply sleep in a recliner chair for a couple of nights, until you get rid of the lower back pain.
Lack of Sleep can make back pain worse
It might sound funny, but lack of sleep can actually cause lower back pain or even make it worse. One of the main reasons behind this is that lack of sleep can worsen an inflammation. If you wonder what inflammation has to do with you, there is one simple explanation. Whenever there is something wrong going on in your body, an inflammation gets stirred up, just like you get a fever when you’re fighting a virus. Unfortunately, inflammation can also cause or worsen already existing pain. And, according to one study, people who didn’t get enough sleep had overactive immune systems. Translated, this means that they were generating too much inflammation that caused pain or made existing pains worse.
In addition, lack of sleep might make you more sensitive to pain and even block the effects of painkillers. So, what can you do to get some better sleep? Here are a few tips that might help you out.
The first thing you should do is start working on your sleep hygiene. That is a routine that is necessary for a good night’s sleep. You might not be aware that, for example, looking at your phone while in your bed or watching TV will make you struggle to get a restful night of sleep. Here are some things you should do to improve your nighttime routine:
- Turn of all the screens. Actually, try to avoid all screens at least 90 minutes before going to bed. This will allow your brain to drift back into a more restful pattern of activity.
- Make your bedroom all about resting. Anything related to your work should be moved somewhere else. This will actually train your brain to relate your bedroom to sleep only and make falling asleep easier.
- Keep your bedroom dark. There is no point in keeping your TV on while you sleep. Also, keep the lights low and shades drawn.
- Maintain a sleep schedule even if you sleep poorly. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
- Keep your room and nightstand clean. The clutter in your room might reflect the clutter of your mind. Keeping both of those things clean will help you sleep better.
- Do you take any medications? Look at their side effects. If any might cause sleep disturbances then ask your doctor to replace them.
- Don’t exercise before going to bed. If you like to exercise at night, then you should make sure that at least three hours go by after your workout and before your bedtime.
- Do yoga before bedtime. Yoga will help you relax and also relieve the tension in your muscles. Try doing the child’s pose, corpse pose, wind-relieving pose, and reclining bound angel pose.
- Avoid drinking alcohol. Even though having a drink or two might make you sleepy, drinking before going to bed tends to result in poor sleep that is frequently interrupted.
- Keep your bedroom cool, at 65 degrees or less and use blankets. The reason why you should do this is that the brain produces melatonin that makes you sleepy whenever your body temperature drops.
For more tips on how to sleep you should read our article about how to sleep like a baby
It is estimated that up to seven million people in the U.S. might be suffering from lower back pain in the morning due to scoliosis. The curvature of the spine might include back pain in the morning that tends to disappear during the day. Spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal column, can also cause considerable back pain. In addition, any trauma to your spine such as a fall or a car accident might cause more intense back pain in the mornings.
There might be some other causes of your back pain that you might not be aware of. For example, it is quite common for pregnant women to experience lower back pain. Or, you might be suffering from some musculoskeletal issue. It might sound scary but it actually refers to any bumps, bruises, and muscular pains. Did you push yourself too hard during your workout? Or, maybe you’ve done some shoveling in the garden recently? There you go. Those might be the reasons why back pain in the morning is something you are experiencing.
Do not give up! There is a solution for Back Pain
No matter what the cause of your lower back pain is, there is always a solution. You can start by trying different sleeping positions or changing your mattress. Keep in mind that sleep deprivation can have serious effects on your body. It can cause increased body fat, a less effective immune system, and, of course, lower back pain. In addition, people who suffer from chronic pain will suffer more since lack of sleep makes chronic pain even worse.
If none of our advice works and you continue waking up with lower back pain that disappears as the day progresses, consider visiting your doctor. They might recommend something else such as stretching, painkillers, or a change to your medications. In addition, you can always visit a pain specialist who can run a full evaluation of your sleep routine and recommend a holistic approach.
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