If you’re like most people, you’re no stranger to back pain. According to the American Chiropractic Association, a whopping eight in every 10 Americans will experience back problems at some point in their lives. Lower back pain is especially on the rise, so much so that it’s actually the leading cause of disability.
Back pain also tends to impact another major part of our lives—our sleep habits. Pain-related sleep loss is no small thing. The experts at the National Sleep Foundation say that pain plays a key role in the sleep gap (a.k.a. the amount of sleep we need versus the amount we actually get). Those suffering from chronic pain, on average, sleep 42 minutes less than those who don’t.
Back pain keeping you up at night? Here are a few expert tips for getting a much-needed good night’s sleep.
What Causes Back Pain?
There’s no shortage of things that cause back pain. Some of the biggest culprits include:
- Unsupportive shoes: Kicks that put your feet into an unnatural position can throw off your alignment and, in turn, lead to an achy back. (We’re looking at you, high heels, cheap sneakers and ballet flats.)
- Inactivity: Sit in front of a computer all day long? Sitting too much is especially linked to low back pain. Experts say that for every half hour, we should sit for 20 minutes, stand for eight and move our bodies for two.
- Staring at your phone: The average U.S. consumer spends five hours a day on mobile devices. For most, that means five hours of hunching over with your head bent downward. This position is anything but good for your neck and back. Try switching to a headset or, at the very least, keeping your phone at eye level.
- Spinal conditions: Ailments like osteoarthritis, spinal stenosis, or a herniated or slipped disc can all cause chronic back pain. These conditions should definitely prompt you to seek proper treatment with a medical professional. (Health Star Clinic specializes in back pain relief and can create a customized plan of action.)
Tips for Sleeping with Back Pain
Ready to finally snag a solid night of sleep? Give these tried-and-true hacks a whirl.
- Replace your mattress and pillow: A saggy mattress is definitely a huge hurdle. On the flip side, a high-quality mattress will help keep your spine straight and aligned throughout the night. The same goes for your pillow. The idea is to go with an ergonomic cervical pillow that supports your neck’s natural shape and contour.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach: Stomach sleepers are much more likely to experience neck and back pain. Why? They’re putting unnecessary strain on their spines. Sleeping on your back or side is a much better way to go.
- Stretch before bedtime: Experts recommend doing some gentle yoga stretches before jumping into bed for the night. This can help loosen up tight muscles and relieve discomfort.
What to Do About Back Pain
If back pain persists, it’s probably time to turn to the professionals. Health Star Clinic relies on a combination of physical therapy, chiropractic approaches and traditional medicine to create tailored, customized treatment plans. Ready to kick your back pain once and for all? Here’s how to get started.