There’s no denying the importance of getting about 7-8 hours of high-quality sleep each night, and this is especially true if you have back pain from an existing condition since it’s during this time when the body’s natural healing processes kick into high gear. Even if you’re not among the 30 million or so Americans with chronic back pain, the way you sleep can affect your spine and the various parts that support it in some way. No matter how old you are or what your experiences with back pain may be, you’ll be doing your spine a favor if you make an effort to improve your sleep hygiene.
First of all, avoid any strenuous exercise before bed so you’re not woken from a sound sleep by muscle aches or back spasms. If you’re recovering from a recent spine-related injury or you have existing back pain, try the “log roll” method of getting into bed. The following steps are involved:
• Sit on the edge of the bed and ease yourself onto your side before lifting your legs onto the bed
• Maintain your hip-back alignment as you roll onto your back
• Tighten your abdominal muscles to reduce the risk of twisting your back
If you happen to be a back sleeper, minimize stress on your spine by using the log roll method to get into bed. Place a medium-sized pillow under your head to maintain your spine’s natural alignment. A pillow under your lower back and another one or two below your knees can also keep your spine aligned properly.
When side sleeping, start with the log roll method to get into bed, then place a pillow below your head to keep your neck and upper spine lined up correctly. If this doesn’t get you sufficiently aligned, place a small towel in the curve of your neck. A pillow between your knees can provide added support for your lower back.
Generally, stomach sleeping isn’t all that good for the spine, especially if you sleep on a pillow that puts your neck in an elevated position where it doesn’t naturally align with your upper spine. If you’re not able to comfortably sleep in any other position, ease stress on your back and neck by:
• Lowering your body onto your stomach after you sit down on the side of the bed and roll onto your side with support from your arms
• Using a thin pillow (or no pillow at all) under your head to retain your neck-upper spine alignment
• Placing a medium-sized pillow under your pelvic/stomach area to keep your spine in a neutral position
• Slightly bending one leg as you bring it to your side
• Placing a pillow below your knee to take pressure off your lower spine
If you have existing back pain, take a few moments to do some deep breathing or gentle stretching before you get out of bed. When you get up, bend your knees and roll onto your side. Next, slowly push yourself to a sitting position, bend forward at your hips, and stand up. If it’s comfortable for you to do so, do a brief stretch when standing to loosen up your back-supporting muscles before you start your day.
It can also be helpful to be just as mindful of your mattress. According to a Consumer Reports survey of more than 60,000 subscribers with arthritis, back pain, and neck pain, an adjustable air mattress provided the right combination of firmness and control. If you’re still experiencing back and/or neck pain after updating your mattress and making an effort to improve your sleep habits, see your Beverly Hills spine surgeon.
Whether you’re experiencing back pain or any spine-related discomfort, reach out to The Spine Institute. Dr. Hyun Bae and his experienced team of professional surgeons can identify the root cause of the pain and determine an effective course of treatment. We offer a wide array of treatments such as spinal decompression andMobi-C cervical disc. Beverly Hillsresidents who want to start a pain-free life can call 310-828-757 to schedule an appointment.