When is the last time you got a good night of sleep? It may not be insomnia, or too much caffeine at night, or an infant waking multiple times that’s ruining your REM sleep. Back pain can destroy the chance of restorative sleep, which means you’re not only tired every day, you’re tormented by an aching back at all hours too.
Blame Your Sleep Position, or Something Else?
The relationship between back pain and sleep is a case of the chicken or the egg: Did your sleep position cause your back pain? Or does your back pain prevent you from sleeping well? All you know is that you’re suffering and you want the discomfort to stop and sleep to come. Some of the biggest causes of back pain during sleeping hours include:
- Sleeping on the stomach. Stomach sleepers often find themselves in misery because sleeping on your stomach can contribute to neck pain. Keeping your head turned to one side for too long and your neck rotated is not physically comfortable for anyone. Neck or back pain between the shoulders could be the result. Sleeping on your stomach can flatten the natural curve of the spine, which means the spine is not supported and there is additional strain on back muscles.
- Sleeping with arms up. If your hands are above your head while you sleep, there is pressure put on the nerves in your upper back which can lead to shoulder pain. Back sleep is good for spin support, but the extended arms create a different kind of hurt.
- Sleeping on your side. Sleeping on your right or left side means your back is unsupported and creates arm, back, and shoulder pain by restricting blood flow and putting pressure on the nerves.
- Sleeping in the fetal position. Being curled up in a ball means your neck and spine have a complete lack of support.
- Lack of activity. Being sedentary during daylight hours can absolutely impact how your back feels during the night. Desk jobs and computer work keep you focused on the wrong thing and do not encourage motion. Sitting too long can cause massive back pain.
- Improper seated position. Do you sit at your laptop with your feet flat and uncrossed on the floor, knees at a 90-degree angle to the floor? If no, then you put yourself at risk for poor posture. A slouched, rounded back impacts your back health, so varying posture and practicing good posture – whether sitting or standing – can help ease nighttime back pain.
What other sleep positions are left? Minimizing the stress to your back isn’t necessarily about changing sleep position, but modifying your favorite sleep spot through the use of pillows and asupportive mattress.
Obviously, you cannot control where your body shifts throughout the night as you’re sleeping, and it’s good for the body to shift a bit because being in any one position for too long is uncomfortable. But starting off in the right position in your bed is a good beginning, as is altering your lifestyle to contribute to healthy sleep.
Find Relief from Back Pain with Functional Medicine
Every part of your body is interconnected. Practitioners of functional medicine understand this concept and know that putting a bandage on back pain is not enough. Finding the very source of the pain is essential to truly treating it and putting it behind you for good.
Because sleep deprivation can affect mood, how you function, and your perception of pain, back problems will be exacerbated. The cycle is vicious, and one of the best places to begin to find relief is by identifying the source of your back pain and alleviating it.
Through customized spinal disc therapy, spinal decompression, and even a safe weight loss program, you can get relief from back pain and finally enjoy the amazing feeling of a good night of sleep. Contact the Restorative Wellness Center in Ann Arbor to schedule your consultation.