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Don’t Let Back Pain Disrupt Your Sleep
After a long day and an aching back, nothing sounds better than falling into bed and drifting off to sleep. Unfortunately, if you are a back pain sufferer, sleep might not provide the sweet relief you are looking for. The pain continues, you can’t get comfortable, and it ends up being a painful night of tossing and turning. While there isn’t a cure for your back pain, there are a few ways to take some of the pressure off so that you can escape to dreamland.
Strengthen Your Core
When pain is involved, exercise is likely the last thing you want to do, but strengthening your core could help alleviate some of that pain. According to physical therapist Sean Kinsman, “When the muscles that surround and help stabilize the spine aren’t strong enough to properly function, other structures have to pick up the slack,” which results in stress on your back and the resulting pain. A strong core can take the pressure off and give you some relief. There are several easy exercises you can perform from the comfort of home such as the bird dog, dead bug, or seated hip switches. You might also try some gentle stretching before bed as well to loosen up tight muscles and relax both your mind and body.
Eat Right for Healthy Joints
Have you ever stopped and truly thought about how important food is to your overall health? The food you put in your body has a direct impact on every system in your body, including bone and joint health. Some foods in particular rise above the others as far as their ability to promote healthy joints. Cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, and kale help your bones absorb calcium. Broccoli even takes its superpowers a step further with sulforaphane, a bio-active compound that can help prevent joint pain. Other super foods to add to your diet include ginger, bone broth, and fruits that are rich in vitamin C such as pineapples, strawberries, and mangoes.
Change Your Sleep Position
We all have that one sleep position in which we feel the most comfortable, but there are a few changes you can make to reduce pain. Side sleepers should keep knees bent, put a pillow between their legs to align their spine, and switch sides periodically. If you are a back sleeper, put a pillow under your knees and a rolled-up towel under the small of your back to mimic your back’s natural curve. Sleeping on your stomach isn’t recommended due to its lack of support, but if you must, put a pillow under your abdomen and try going without the head pillow to avoid straining your neck.
Shop for a New Mattress and Pillow
Both your mattress and your pillow could be exacerbating your pain rather than relieving it. The proper mattress for ultimate spinal support will be the perfect firmness (medium-firm), which can be achieved with memory foam, latex foam, or an innerspring. All options conform to your body’s natural shape, so it comes down to a matter of comfort, preference, and budget. When you shop around for a new mattress, make sure you try it out on each side as well as your back, and ask about the return policy.
You might also consider investing in a new pillow that helps align your spine, support your head and neck, and reduce pressure points. Back and stomach sleepers will benefit from a thin pillow with a little lift at the bottom to support the head. Side sleeps should opt for a firm pillow with a gusset to add thickness. No matter what you choose, don’t let your purchases go to waste by getting out of bed the wrong way and twisting your back. Instead of popping out of bed and risking even more pain, roll on your side and push yourself up.
Millions of people have back pain, and as one of them, you know the effects it has on your sleep. Don’t lie there in pain. Instead of just reading the above tips, put them into action today!