If you suffer with lower back pain, chances are that you have terrible sleep. But did you know that poor sleep can cause lower back pain, and make the problem worse?
In this post, we look at why sleep is important, how a lack of sleep can cause and/or aggravate lower back pain, and ways in which you can get back to getting some shut eye so as to alleviate your discomfort.
Are you ready? Let’s go!
Why Is Sleep Important For Lower Back Pain?
During the hours of sleep our bodies have a chance to heal and to reenergize – muscles, nerves, and joints all have time to re-set and take some time to regroup. Sleep regulates blood pressure, mood, alertness, brain responses, immune system responses, weight control, and so much more. And for these reasons, it’s clear that a lack of sleep may adversely affect you… not least when it comes to lower back pain.
But why is a lack of sleep particularly bad when it comes to lower back pain?
Well, as mentioned, sleeping hours give the body a chance to recover from the exertions from the day before: muscles relax, blood flow is regulated, and the immune system is given an opportunity to see to any nagging issues that are present.
How Poor Sleep Can Cause Lower Back Pain
If sleep quality and quantity is disrupted, therefore, the body is unable to do many – if any – of those things, and your tissues, joints, muscles, and nerves are neglected. Because the back and spinal cord are the veritable epicenter of your nervous system for the majority of your body, it stands to reason that a lack of sleep will eventually culminate in lower back pain – the body has a unique way of centralizing stress placed on it in the back, and in very few ways is this less obvious as when it comes to being tired.
Poor Sleep Causing Bad Posture And Movement
In addition, being tired means you’re less aware of your posture and movements, thereby constantly placing your back in vulnerable and compromising positions. You may be unaware of the way in which you’re walking, sitting, or carrying heavy objects. You may also not be particularly aware of twisting in the spine or pressure placed on it in the form of carrying a backpack, for example. Mental alertness – gained from a good night’s sleep – will help you make positive decisions for your back. The opposite is true if you’re tired and fatigued.
And let’s face it: lower back pain is very rarely centralized – over time, your lower back pain may very well turn into neck, shoulder, or even hip pain… not to mention headaches! It’s an ongoing, often debilitating cycle… all of which is facilitated by poor quality sleep.
How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
So, what can be done?
The first thing to do is to take a serious look at precisely why you are getting sub-par sleep quality and quantity. You ought to aim for a good 8 hours of sleep so as to reap the most benefits possible. If you’re falling short of this, these tips will help you sleep with lower back pain.
Do Lower Back Stretches Before Bed
Stretching your lower back before bed can make all the difference: from lubricating your joints to easing the pent-up stress in your muscles, a good bedtime stretch routine is essential for a good night’s rest. There are a number of lower back stretches
Support Your Neck And Spine With The Right Pillow
Ensure that your pillow supports your neck and spinal cord correctly – if you’re unsure, please reach out to a physical therapist for help and information.
Avoid The Worst Sleeping Position For Lower Back Pain
Stomach sleepers, beware! Avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs, as the pressure placed on your back can be immense – This is why front sleeping is the worst sleeping position for lower back pain.
Try The Best Sleeping Position For Lower Back Pain
The best sleeping position for lower back pain is to sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees and ankles to support your spine. This ensures that your spine remains aligned.
Develop A Healthy Bedtime Routine
Ensure that the hour or so before bed is dominated by a healthful routine: read a book, drink some herbal tea, listen to some music, or mediate. Avoid screens if possible – all this will mean you have a much better quality of sleep simply because you have primed your body to relax.
Stay Hydrated To Ease Lower Back Pain
Aches and pains can become more severe or more frequent as a result of dehydration. Directly, dehydration can cause lower back pain in the long run through an increase in blood pressure, and indirectly impact lower back pain through disturbed sleep.
Aim to drink enough water throughout the day, and if dehydration is contributing to your poor sleep, you may notice an improvement in a matter of days.
Reduce Stress To Ease Lower Back Pain
Stress can and will affect your sleep quality and quantity if you let it: be sure to meditate, practice yoga, walk, or read so as to relieve some of the stress of the day. Never take your stress to bed.
For more advice on stress, read our blog – Stress: Physical Symptoms and Solutions
Long Term Results So You Don't Have To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
Lower Back pain can spell the end of a successful training routine, the beginning of bad moods, and the potential ruin of your relationships and activity levels. It’s absolutely vital that you find the root cause of your lower back pain so as to start getting back to the things you love. One way to do this is to take a good look at your sleep patterns. Physical therapy is a fantastic option if you’re ready to get to the bottom of your sleep problems and lower back pain. By finding and treating the root cause, assessing your sleeping patterns, giving you exercises and stretches to do at home, and advising you on the best sleep-posture and bedtime routine for you, physical therapy will make all the difference. If you’ve not considered physical therapy, now’s your chance!
Don’t let a bad night’s sleep steal one more day from you – For more information and for advice on how we can help you with your sleep and lower back pain, why not contact one of our professional, friendly physical therapists right now?
At Kriz Physical Therapy, P.A., we provide expert medical advice and premier physical therapy services to quickly ease your aches and pains, so you can get a restful night’s sleep and wake up feeling refreshed.
Call our offices today at 239-992-6700 to schedule an appointment or arrange a free discovery visit where you can speak to a member of the team and learn whether physical therapy is the right solution for you.
We also have other free resources if you are suffering with niggling lower back pain below: