Bad Back Bungling Your Beauty Sleep? Follow These Tips for Better Rest

Do you toss and turn all night, wake up feeling tired and sore, or simply have trouble falling asleep in the first place? If yes, your back may be the prime culprit. Back pain is more common than you think and can wreak havoc on a good night’s rest.

More than 10 percent of people suffer from chronic lower back pain, for example, and over 80 percent of people with suffer some acute incident of back pain in their lives. So the good news is that you’re not alone, and people with back pain just like you find ways to manage it and get a good night’s rest.

Adjust your sleep position

The easiest way to get better sleep when you suffer from back pain is the first one you should try — change up your sleep position. In the end, the right sleep position for you will be the one that makes you the most comfortable and that doesn’t aggravate your back. Obviously, that position will be different for everyone. But for most people, sleeping on your stomach is a recipe for back pain and poor sleep quality. Some people have success sleeping on their back or on their side with under-knee support.

Exercise your core and stretch before bedtime

It’s unlikely that just changing your position with cure all your woes — most people with back pain must address the true causes of said pain in order to get better sleep. You can do this by opting for core and back exercises to help with back pain and to help your back muscles function better. Right before bed you should consider a stretching regimen. It doesn’t have to be full-on yoga, just some quick stretches to loosen up your problem areas.

Get into a relaxation routine

Pain, tension, stress, and poor sleep are all intertwined in a gnarly mess, and it’s hard to tackle a single issue without tackling them all. Once you’ve applied strengthening and stretching into your regular routine, it’s time to enter full-on relaxation mode. Often people simply hop into bed without taking any time to decompress from the day, and they expect to fall asleep fast and sleep soundly. True, there are some people who can achieve this, but for many, it’s necessary to unwind mentally and physically to prep your body for bedtime.

Good relaxation techniques help the body and mind, and can be anything from progressive muscle relaxation to guided breathing to meditation. Simply engaging in an activity that calms you and lowers your overall stress is also productive (think a hot bath or warm shower and drinking hot tea). Anything that triggers your body’s inherent relaxation response will help.

If the problem becomes unmanageable, seek medical help

The tricky thing about poor sleep quality and back pain is that one begets the other, it’s all a vicious cycle, and it’s hard to know whether to treat the pain or the insomnia. When you’ve tried everything and are still experiencing discomfort that affects your sleep, it’s time to talk to a doctor.

There are numerous ways to attack the problem, but it will take time. There’s cognitive behavioral therapy to treat sleep issues, intensive sleep studies to isolate root causes of sleeplessness, rehab and therapy for back pain. Before committing to any treatment, review your health insurance coverage to determine what therapies are covered. If you have Medicare, for example, you’ll want to carefully review the sorts of treatments you’re eligible for under your specific plan.

Remember this in the end: No single act will magically cure your back pain and help you achieve perfect sleep every night. There’s no real magic bullet for this sort of problem. What you do have at your disposal are multiple techniques like stretching, exercise, relaxation, and therapy that — if done in conjunction with each other — can help you get some nighttime relief.

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Article by Cheryl Conklin