If you suffer from back pain, you know that discomfort can keep you up throughout the night. And you are not alone. Approximately 37 percent of Americans that suffer from regular back pain report sleep problems. Unfortunately, there’s a direct link between sleep deprivation and pain. When you don’t sleep, your back pain can feel more intense, leading to a vicious cycle that keeps you up all night and hurting all day.
However, there is good news: back pain doesn’t have to interfere with your sleep. Here are a few tips to help you find relief.
Supplement the smart way
Sleeping pills are prescribed at an alarming rate, and these pharmacologic concoctions are physically and mentally addictive. There are many natural supplements available that can help you fall asleep, and stay asleep, by reducing inflammation or giving your internal clock signals that it’s time to rest.
CBD oil is a relative newcomer in the world of health supplements, but it’s parent plant, cannabis sativa, has been used for generations for a number of ailments. CBD, or cannabidiol, exists in hemp and marijuana. Unlike its more famous relative compound, THC, CBD is not hallucinogenic but it does share anti-inflammatory properties. Since pain is worsened by inflammation, reducing this inflammation can provide relief. Before purchasing CBD oil, do your research to find out all of the pros and cons and see what brand or dosage is best for you.
Melatonin and 5-HTP are also both popular. Melatonin, which is associated with sleep, is a hormone found naturally in the body and is one of the few hormones available for purchase without a prescription. 5-HTP is another substance produced by the brain. It works by encouraging the body to ramp up its production of serotonin, a neurochemical that triggers the production of melatonin. WellAndGood.com explains that 5-HTP may be best suited for those that suffer from depression on top of sleep disturbances.
Don’t push it
There are probably a million things you want to do, but when you have back pain, pushing yourself too far will result in more pain and — you guessed it — restless sleep. So, if the laundry’s piling up and the dog needs walking, ask someone to help you out. For example, you can hire someone to give the pooch a little exercise; hiring a professional dog walker will cost you around $20 for a 30-minute walk. You can also call in the pros to help clean your house when things start to get a little too grungy.
Find your sweet spot
Everyone has a preferred sleeping position. When you have back pain, you may need to find a new way to settle in under the sheets. According to Medical News Today, back pain sufferers may find relief by sleeping in a fetal position. Other ways to ease pain at night include laying down on your back with a support under the knees and sleeping on your side with a knee pillow, which puts the spine in proper alignment and can be purchased for only $21.87.
Of course, finding that perfect sleep position might involve purchasing a brand new mattress, one that’s designed to help people suffering from back pain. Of course, you need to identify how you sleep to determine what type of mattress you’ll need. For example, if you’re a side sleeper who has back pain, then something like a BioPosture mattress could be the perfect fit. This is our recommended brand which is a combination foam (high density and memory foam) which is also free of chemicals commonly used in mattress manufacturing. It does require a doctor’s prescription to remove these chemicals. People who prefer innerspring mattresses might want a WinkBed, which will provide a bit more support. Talk to your doctor before investing in a new mattress or changing your sleep position if your pain was triggered by an injury.
While snoring is often associated with sleep apnea, the reality is that millions of healthy Americans are noisy throughout the night. The SnoreRX sleep device, which has been cleared by the FDA, helps open up the narrow passageways of the throat, leading to an unobstructed airway. The device promotes healthy breathing patterns, which can keep you (and your partner) from being jarred awake several times per night.
See a Chiropractor
Many people find significant success in alleviating back pain through regular visits to a chiropractor. Oftentimes a lack of core strength can lead to back pain, but with the right set of exercises and some guidance from a chiropractor, you can boost strength in your back and find some much-needed relief that helps you achieve the sleep you need. A chiropractor is the primary physician that adjusts the vertebra of your spine to help stuck joints move better through a pain free range of motion.
A 2018 study published in JAMA Network Open is among the latest to weigh in on the pros and cons of chiropractic care for treating low back pain. Researchers enrolled 750 active-duty military personnel who complained of back pain. Half were randomly assigned to receive usual care (including medications, self-care, and physical therapy) while the other half received usual care plus up to 12 chiropractic treatments.
After six weeks of treatment, those assigned to receive chiropractic care:
- reported less pain intensity
- experienced less disability and more improvement in function
- reported higher satisfaction with their treatment
- needed less pain medicine.
Tape it Up
If you’ve ever watched the Olympics, you have no doubt seen athletes covered in brightly-colored strips of tape. This athletic tape is not just for decoration. It’s called kinesiology tape and is useful for decompression and to reduce swelling and information. CircleOfDoctors.com offers more information, including instructional videos on how to apply kinesiology tape for back pain. When positioned correctly, this flexible tape can stay in place for several days and nights.
Back pain, regardless of its cause, can tank your efforts to get an entire night of rest. However, giving yourself seven to eight hours of sleep each night is one of the most important things you can do for your overall health and well-being. Try one of the above tips to help you get some sleep and get the rest you and your back need.