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Dread going to bed because of back pain? Here's what to do...

by , 19 August 2013

If you suffer from back pain, you'll know all too well about the anxiety of going to bed at night. You dread another night of increased back pain and little, if any, sleep. The good news is you can put an end to this agony once and for all. Here are simple methods you can use to get a good night's rest if you suffer from back pain.

If you suffer from back pain, you’ll be glad to know there are simple techniques you can use to sleep peacefully.

That’s right, you can finally put an end to those painful hours of turning and tossing and staring at the clock that seems to be running at about half its normal speed.

Here’s how you can sleep peacefully with a sore back

Method#1: Get a proper mattress

According to Chet Cunningham author of the Sciatica Report, a firm mattress is best for you if you have a sore back.


A “firm surface will tend to keep your spine from flexing as it does when your body sags into a soft mattress. That flexing can cause you pain and anguish and not allow you a whole lot of sleep,” writes Cunningham.

You can try firming up your existing bed by putting a half centimetre thick piece of plywood between your mattress and your box springs. One nice thing about this is that on a queen or king sized bed, this board can go on your side and not bother your spouse. The board will give a much firmer feel to the mattress without the expense of buying a new one.

Try this for a week or so and see if it makes any difference. If it doesn’t, go to a store and lie down on a few mattresses. Give them all a try and see which one works best for you. This is an investment in sleeping and pain-free living, so you need to be willing to invest in the right one for you.

Method#2: Pre-bed prepping

If you’ve been working hard all day and are still tense and tight at bedtime, try some gentle stretching to relax your body and to wind down. Simple hands over the head stretches, or some side bends and ‘shaking out’ your hands and legs will usually be enough.

Caution: Don’t do any intense exercise before bed. This’ll elevate your heart rate and may interfere with your sleep.

Method#3: Get a bedtime routine

Getting the most out of your sleep starts before you even climb into bed.

You must develop a real routine you can stick to. You need to commit to going to bed at the same time every night and getting up the same time every morning.

This helps programme your brain and body to be ready for sleep at a certain time and to wake up at a certain time.

Method#4:Think about your sleep position

“Most of us have a preferred sleep position that we twist into as soon as our head hits the pillow. But it may be advisable to actually have two. The first for the wind down period and the second for actual sleeping,” writes Cunningham.

For example, you might lie on your back when you first get to bed, then after 10 or 15 minutes of relaxing you turn on your side and tuck one arm under your pillow and drop off to sleep.

You’ll be more relaxed after you’ve had your 10 minutes of resting (resting position) in bed and you’ll be ready to sleep.

What’s the best position for your bad back?

“Most experts and back pain sufferers concur that unsupported stomach lying is hard on the back and can aggravate any kind of back pain. The key word here is unsupported,” writes Cunningham.

But a pillow or two often can turn a bad sleeping position into an ideal one. So make sure you find the best pillow for you.

“If it’s under your head when you lie on your back, it should be full enough so your head can rest in a position that allows a straight between head, neck and spine,” advises Cunningham.

Your head shouldn’t fall backward or be propped too high. Either one will put a strain on your neck and spine. When lying on your back, it’s also a good idea to put pillows under your lower thighs and legs as well.

Usually the pillows work best to help you get to sleep. After that unless the position is too extreme, it probably won’t wake you up even when it’s hurting your back a little.

One easy idea is to try a lumbar roll around your waist. This’ll help fill in the void when you lie down. Lumbar rolls are sold in stores, or you can make one yourself: Take a bath towel and fold it in half lengthwise. Then roll it tightly from the side so you have a roll. Adjust the length so it will fit snugly around your waist. Now fasten it securely with safety pins so it won’t slide around as you change positions at night. Try it for a night or two and see if it helps your hurting back.

Well there you have it. With these simple methods you’ll never have to dread going to bed because of your hurting back.

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