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The Link Between Sleep and Back Pain (and What To Do About It)

We now know what many have long suspected: sleep and back pain are inextricably linked. Poor sleep can make back pain worse, and vice versa. At PMR, we’re familiar this unfortunate relationship, but we’re also …

We now know what many have long suspected: sleep and back pain are inextricably linked. Poor sleep can make back pain worse, and vice versa. At PMR, we’re familiar this unfortunate relationship, but we’re also well-versed in the many ways that it can be improved. Chiropractic care will make a difference, but additional lifestyle and sleeping changes may be necessary. For more on how a few simple changes may help to improve your back pain and sleep quality at the same time, read on.

A Vicious Cycle

When examining the problems you may be experiencing related to both back pain and sleeping, it’s important to understand that sleep and chronic pain form a two-way street.

On the one hand, those experiencing chronic lower back pain are less likely to get a full night’s sleep. Pain can keep you tossing and turning more than usual, and those with chronic pain are significantly more likely to wake up multiple times during the night, losing out on restorative rest. At the same time, the way you sleep at night might be affecting your back pain. Everything from your mattress to your sleeping position can affect your body, often putting unnecessary strain on the most vulnerable parts of your back.

Adjusting Your Sleeping Position

Depending on the way you’re currently sleeping, a simple adjustment to your sleeping position (and pillow placement) can have a significant positive effect on the quality of your sleep. The key is to consider the alignment of your spine and the strain that your sleeping position is putting on your back.

For example, back sleepers will benefit from placing a pillow under their knees, while side sleepers may benefit from drawing the legs toward the chest and placing a long pillow between the legs. Sleeping on the stomach puts the most strain on the back, but if necessary, placing a pillow under the pelvis/lower abdomen should help.

Additional Lifestyle Changes

Ultimately, there are more factors influencing your sleep quality than just your sleeping position. For example, sleeping on the right mattress is important, and many experts suggest that mattresses should be replaced about every six years to ensure maximum comfort. In addition, sleeping at the right time (later in the evening) and for the right length of time matters. If you have trouble falling asleep, consider your physical activity throughout the day, and avoid devices with screens, caffeine, and other non-prescription drugs before bed.
For more information on how chiropractic care can help to alleviate your pain and improve your nightly sleep, give us a call at PMR today!

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