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Pain Management Health Center

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Sleep Comfortably

Do you wake up in the morning feeling more tired than you did when you went to bed? Something's wrecking your sleep. Maybe it's your bed. It's time to investigate.

The Best Mattress

Choose a comfortable mattress. You don't have to spend a lot of money. Studies show that a medium-firm mattress is best for most people. Pick one that's comfortable for you. If your mattress is too firm, add an egg crate mattress pad.

The Right Pillow

Choose the best pillow for your sleep style:

* Back sleepers need a thinner pillow with extra loft in the bottom third to cradle your neck.

* Side sleepers need a firmer pillow to fill in the distance between the ear and outside shoulder.

* Stomach sleepers need a very thin, almost flat pillow.

Even if you don't need a pillow, tucking one under your stomach can help prevent lower back pain.

Easy-on-Back Sleep

Your sleep position can help or worsen your back pain. Sleeping on your stomach puts stress on your back. Try sleeping on your back or your side.

If you sleep on your back, put pillows under your knees for support.

If you sleep on your side, put a pillow between your knees so your spine is neutral. And pull your knees slightly up to your chest.

Firm's Better for AS

If you have ankylosing spondylitis, choose a firm mattress to help reduce your back pain. Also, use a very flat pillow under your head instead of a thick one.

If your back pain is caused by other problems, look for a medium-firm mattress. It should be about a 5 on a 10-point hard-to-soft scale. Be sure to try out a mattress before buying.

Mattress Makeover

If you can't buy a new mattress, improve your existing one. Add a sheet of plywood between the mattress and box springs or the base of the bed. Or, ask someone to move your saggy mattress onto the floor for better support.

Using Heating Pads

It's tempting to lie down on a heating pad in bed when you have pain. Instead, use your heating pad while sitting on a chair or a sofa. Lying with your body weight against a heating pad puts you at risk of burns to the skin.

Getting Up Safely

If you have back pain, never jerk yourself up from a lying position in bed. Instead, roll onto your side. Bend both knees. Then push yourself up with your hands while swinging your legs over the side of the bed.

Avoid bending forward at the waist as you stand up. This can put strain on your back.

A Pre-Bedtime Bath

Try taking a warm shower or bath before bed to help you sleep. Warm water helps some people relax stiff muscles before bedtime. Studies suggest that adequate deep sleep helps people manage pain better.

Neutral Neck Tips

When you need to rest, keep your neck in a neutral position. This puts less stress on your neck muscles and causes less pain. Place a rolled up towel or small pillow under your neck to help keep your neck aligned with your spine.

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