Back pain is a very common problem in the UK, especially in the lower part of the back. The Global Burden of Disease study named lower back pain the leading cause of disability across the globe. Back pain is not caused by serious medical conditions, instead, it’s often brought on by stress or strain from bad posture, awkward sleeping positions, and other lifestyle habits.
Many times, pain at night and in the morning is due to the postural habits and movement behaviours that cause the lower back pain in the first place.
The shock absorbers between every one of the spinal bones, or “discs”, decompress and fill with fluid in a physiological process called imbibition.
Start Sleeping said on their website: “Envision your back is like a sponge in water, you press it down and the water pushes out, but if you let go, it sucks water back in.
“This is similar to your back and our discs are plump with fluid in the morning leading a person to becoming more sensate to the symptoms of back pain for the first hour of the day where you’re getting your body initially moving against gravity.”
The best sleeping strategies to help reduce lower back pain include:
Use your extra pillows for support
Placing a pillow under the knees can help flatten your back which can open up the spaces where irritated nerves traverse, giving them a break.
If sleeping on your front, place a pillow underneath the hips and waistline, this will open up spaces for the nerves in the low back to decompress and reduce tension.
For the side sleeper, try placing a pillow underneath the abdomen between the ribs and pelvis. This position buttresses the flank which will support the spine in a better position.
Sleep on different surfaces
If you’re having back pain with your current mattress and you’ve tried the different pillow strategies, then trying different beds may be an option.
A great way to know if the mattress you are sleeping on is the problem is trying other beds.
Luckily there are many “Bed in a Box” brands who guarantee a great nights rest or they will remove it from the home with a full refund.
Take your time in the morning
As the morning time is when spinal discs contain more fluid from decompressing after a nights rest, taking it easy in the morning is crucial.
The excess fluid leaves the discs after a period of spinal loading in upright positions however this takes a bit of time.
When the discs are pressurised with fluid, a lower back pain problem can be more sensitive which is why many feel stiffness in the morning time.
Ease yourself out of bed slowly and make sure you don’t do any strenuous activity when first waking up.
Keeping a proper alignment of the spine when sleeping is the most important part of the back pain equation.
A person needs to be extra careful when turning in bed as the back can get out of alignment during the twisting and turning motions.
Always move the entire body together, keeping the core tight and pulled in.