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9. Sleep the Right Way

The amount of rest you get is important, and so is the position you get it in. “Sleeping in a bad position or on a mattress without support can cause back pain,” Wilmarth says.

Some pointers:

  • Back sleepers should put pillows under their knees.
  • Side sleepers should place pillows between their knees to keep their spine in a neutral position.
  • Stomach sleeping causes the neck and head to twist and can put undue stress on the back.

10. Quit Smoking

Lighting up doesn’t just damage your lungs; it can also hurt your back.

A study recently published in the American Journal of Medicine found that current and former smokers are more likely to have back pain when compared with people who have never smoked. 

“Nicotine causes the small blood vessels to constrict and decreases the delivery of blood to the soft tissue,” Flippin says. “I tell all my patients that quitting smoking could help alleviate their back pain.”

11. Try Talk Therapy

Back pain is often seen with issues such as depression and anxiety, says Alex Moroz, MD, associate professor of rehabilitation medicine at NYU Langone Medical Center.

“Your emotional state colors the perception of pain,” Moroz says. “Therapy can be a helpful part of rehabilitation.”

12. Use Relaxation Techniques

Research shows that practices such as meditation, deep breathing, tai chi, and yoga, which help put the mind at rest, can do wonders for the back.

“If you can induce a relaxation response, it will help reduce the perceived pain level," Moroz says.

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