How to Ease Back Pain

How to Ease Back Pain

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What You Can Do to Ease Your Back Pain and Sleep Better

Back pain can be debilitating, but it is often most bothersome and uncomfortable at night. It interrupts our sleep, and when we wake, we experience aggravated pain. If this sounds like you, it's time for you to reclaim your nights and sleep well with decreased discomfort.

Check Your Mattress

Those of us who experience back pain at night need to look at our mattresses. Unfortunately, an unsupportive mattress may contribute to your discomfort. If you wake up feeling worse than when you went to bed, it's time to consider a replacement. Luckily, there are several options that can help support your back and bring comfort back to the bedroom. You can get a traditional spring coil with varying levels of padding. However, they don't contour to your spine the way a memory foam or latex mattress does. Memory foam mattresses offer crucial spine alignment, alleviate back pain, and are perfect for any sleep position. However, there are many things to take into consideration, such as thickness, CertiPUR certification, and the different levels of support. 

Change How You Sleep

Without a doubt, sleeping on your back is the best way to prevent pain and keep your spine properly aligned. Still, you may struggle to sleep in a position you're unfamiliar with or feels uncomfortable. There are ways you can reduce nightly pain while sleeping in a familiar position. Stomach sleepers should put a pillow under their torso, and only use one under the head if needed; this can help to relieve pressure on the spine. If you're a back sleeper and suffer from pain, place a pillow under your knees. This keeps weight off of pressure points. Side sleepers can try a pillow between their knees to take the strain off of their hips. If you have disc issues, try curling into the fetal position. Should all else fail, sleep in a reclined sitting position.

Exercise to Strengthen the Core

One of the most effective treatments for back pain is to increase core strength. Always talk to your doctor about what is safe for your condition, but, typically, yoga is a good way to slowly build muscle. For instance, there are accessible positions, such bird dog and tabletop leg press, that can help improve the strength of your core. You can also gently do pelvic thrusts, but make sure that you don't push your back too far. Even planking and side planking are good alternatives to building up your core muscles. If a certain movement causes pain, stop immediately, as exercise should not hinder your progress. 

Exercises to Avoid

Just as we need to strengthen our back, we need to protect it. That means avoiding or limiting certain exercises. One of the best things we can do is keep our backs straight. Yet, when we experience pain, we need more care. Avoid things that twist the spine or overextend it, like toe-touches. Sit-ups and crunches are equally dangerous, as is hunching over a bicycle. High-impact aerobics, like running, can compress the spine, increasing discomfort. Strenuous tasks like cleaning the house, mowing the lawn, and doing laundry can worsen the pain. Hire a service to take care of these chores so that you have time to heal. The average cost of a maid service in Oxnard, CA, is $129 - $256. 

Evaluate Your Pillow

Like your mattress, your pillow can affect how you feel as you sleep. Depending on your posture during the night, you may need a new kind of pillow; after all, you want your spine to stay in its healthy, natural curve. Your neck needs the same support, or you may end up putting too much pressure on your back and shoulders. Back sleepers need medium support, as well as a design that cups the neck without elevating the head too high (back-sleeping pillows are available for $21.87 and up). Side sleepers need firmer, higher pillows to reduce strain. Stomach sleepers, meanwhile, need the softest but flattest pillows possible. A good pillow fosters comfort, whereas the wrong one can aggravate pain.

There are many avenues available to alleviate your discomfort. At night, it may come down to your mattress and pillow. Work out smart, and consider adjusting your sleep position. You don't need to suffer night after night.

Image courtesy of Pixabay

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to see the first patient in my private practice who was sent from the VA. This veteran has been suffering with pain in both shoulders for over a year now. He has failed conservative treatment already with physical therapy, pain medications, and steroid injections. As a result, he was referred to me for Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections to help him heal his injured rotator cuffs and arthritic joints. I look forward to taking care of him and other veterans like him in the future who have served our great country over the years. ... See MoreSee Less

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