If you have low back pain, pain doesn't stop when you go to bed at night. There's a vicious cycle of back pain and sleep problems that contribute to each other. It can be difficult to sleep well if your back hurts. And sometimes your back hurts more because you're not sleeping well. Here are some simple steps you can take to get a better night's rest, even when you have low back pain symptoms.
Support Your Low Back While in Bed
Do you often wake up with low back pain? Do you sleep better on a hotel mattress? Does your mattress show signs of wear? The Better Sleep Council recommends that you evaluate your mattress about every 5 to 7 years. You may need a change for optimal comfort and support. In a Journal of Applied Ergonomics study, nearly 63% reported significant improvements in low back pain after switching to a new sleep system.
If your budget allows for buying a new mattress, don’t be afraid to "test drive" a few options. When in the store, take off your shoes, lie down in your favorite sleeping position, and spend a few minutes resting. Make sure the mattress supports you well enough to maintain your spine in the position you have with good standing posture. A firm or medium-firm mattress is usually best.
Here are some other things to try for better sleep:
- If buying a new bed is not an option right now, try adding plywood supports between the mattress and its base. Or as a temporary solution, have someone move your mattress onto the floor.
- Put a pillow under your knees when lying on your back and between your knees when lying on your side.
- To help maintain the curve in your back while sleeping, try a rolled-up towel, wrapped around your waist and tied in front.
Get In and Out of Bed Safely
When getting in and out of bed, never jerk yourself up from a lying position.
- To get into bed, sit on the side of the bed. Supporting yourself with your hands, bend your knees, and lie down onto your side.
- To get out of bed, roll onto your side, bend both knees, and push yourself up with your hands, while swinging your legs over the side of the bed. Avoid bending forward at the waist, which can put strain on your back.