By Dr Tony Setiobudi BMedSci, MBBS, MRCS, MMed (Ortho), FRCS (Ortho)
There’s nothing in this world that beats a good night’s sleep. One that leaves you refreshed and ready to start a new day. However, having a good sleep for those suffering from back pain may not be easy.
Pain and sleep are intertwined in a vicious cycle, meaning they can be mutually reinforcing. Pain can disrupt sleep, but at the same time, poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience having pain or pain get worse.
It is possible to get a good night’s rest and help relieve back pain with proper sleeping strategies. Here are some tips below that can help you to sleep better.
- Fix your sleeping position
A sleeping position affects spinal alignment. Wrong sleeping positions can put pressure on the lumbar spine, which can cause pain and stiffness. It is important to maintain the natural curve of the spine when lying in bed, thus helping ease your back pain. To do this make sure that the head, shoulders, and hips are aligned and properly supported. Put a pillow underneath your legs for extra support. If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees and another one behind your back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach because it puts a lot of strain on your back.
- Get a good mattress
Mattress choice can influence and alleviate nighttime back pain. A mattress that doesn’t support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate lower back pain. Soft mattresses make you sink in too deep, twisting your joints, causing back pain. Research has shown that a very hard mattress is also not good. In general, a medium-firm mattress is probably better for people with back pain. However, there is no right answer, because every person has different preferences and needs that are important to consider. You should try which type of mattress is the most comfortable for you.
Building strength and flexibility in the core muscles can help ease back pain. It also lowers the chances of you straining your back and experiencing muscle spasms during the night. Exercise also helps reduce your stress and make you sleep better.
- Heating pad
The heating pad is effective as it can improve circulation. Hence, a heating pad can help ease aches and pains as well as reduce stiffness in the muscles and joints. Taking hot baths may ease your back pain as well.
A self-massage can be effective in reducing lower back pain. It can give immediate relief from pain, aches, and reduce tension in your muscles. It helps improve blood circulation in the muscles and helps relax them, which altogether results in a reduction of stress-related pains.
Quality sleep is essential to your health and overall well-being. Having a good night’s sleep can help prevent or reduce back pain. While knowing how to sleep when you have back problems can help cope with pain and contribute to healing and recovery.
Consult with your doctor if back pain is interfering with your sleep quality. For more details about your back pain condition, Spring Hope Orthopaedic Spine and Surgery can give you solutions. Schedule an appointment with us.
Dr Tony Setiobudi is an Orthopaedic & Spine Surgeon at Mount Elizabeth Hospital (Orchard), Singapore. He treats bone, joint, muscle and ligament problems in adults and children. He has a special interest in nerve compression and spine problems such as back & neck pain, scoliosis, kyphosis, spine tumor & infection, spinal cord injury, osteoporosis fracture, spinal stenosis and slipped disc.