If you’re living with neck or back pain, you know that it’s a struggle at all times of the day, and in all aspects of your life. But when it comes to the frustration of back pain, there’s not a time where that’s greater than when you’re trying to get to sleep. Pain is exhausting, and for many patients, the pain that they endure throughout the day is so draining that they can’t wait to fall into bed. Many go to bed in the simple hope that they will have a few hours of unconsciousness where they are able to escape what they’re feeling in their neck or back.
Unfortunately, the majority of people find no relief when they crawl into bed. More than half report that their pain is either keeping them up or waking them up at night.
Even if you’re not aware of losing sleep as a result of your back pain, it may be happening. If you’re a back pain sufferer and you’re waking up feeling exhausted, there’s a good chance you’re experiencing something called a microarousal, in which you wake up briefly in the middle of the night as a result of your pain. You may not be aware that it’s happening, but it is having an impact on your sleep quality.
Losing sleep is a significant health risk. We all need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night to stay healthy. Getting insufficient sleep can impact our performance at work and our ability to think clearly and respond appropriately in high stress situations. It makes us more vulnerable to sickness and weight gain, and can present a danger to us, the people we transport, and the people with whom we share the road when we get behind the wheel of a car.
The best step to avoid sleep problems from back or neck pain is to see a lumbar spine specialist in New Jersey so you can have your physical problem diagnosed and addressed: relief is the best answer. In the meantime, there are a few steps you can take to help yourself get more comfortable when you get into bed.
- The first thing you need to look at is your mattress. Most people hold on to their mattresses for too long, and this can actually contribute to back problems. Check your mattresses age and condition: if you’ve owned it for more than 7 years and/or it seems to be sagging in spots, it may be time to replace it with a new, medium-firm update.
- The second thing is your sleep position. The best position for back pain keeps your spine in its natural alignment. That means that when you’re sleeping on your side, you should try to stretch your body out rather than sleep curled up in a ball. Place a pillow between your knees to keep your top leg higher and keep your spine from twisting. Don’t use a pillow that elevates your head too high. And try hard to avoid sleeping on your stomach.
- Get some exercise. It may seem counterintuitive, but the more you move, the stronger your back muscles will be, and the better you’ll feel.
To find out what’s causing your pain, you need the help of a lumbar spine specialist. Call our office today to make an appointment, and get back to getting a good night of sleep.