Back pain and poor sleep
Back pain is a real problem, in the UK, 2.5 million people suffer from back pain every day of the year.
Furthermore, in the UK, poor sleep is a major issue. And of all the physical components, bodily discomfort has been cited as the single biggest cause of poor sleep according to the Great British Sleep Survey.
Obviously back pain and sleep deprivation can have a massively detrimental effect on your mood, your motivation and can even impact your ability to complete your day to day work effectively.
It is possible that you suffer from one or both of these complaints. But few people think about the connection between the two. We take a quick look at some simple improvements that can help you.
Possible sleeping positions
In the simplest terms there are 3 main positions that you can sleep in; on your back (supine), on your stomach (prone) or on your side.
But according to Professor Chris Idzikowski who is the director of the Sleep Assessment and Advisory Service, there are actually six common sleep positions; the ‘free fall’, the ‘fetal’, the ‘log’, the ‘yearner’, the ‘soldier, and the aptly named ‘starfish’.
The truth of the matter is people sleep in lots of weird and wonderful positions. And although many of these positions are now firmly established as habit, there are a few things you can do to help alleviate back pain and improve the quality of your sleep.
Tips to improve your posture while sleeping
If you sleep on your side, here is what you should consider doing. Firstly, as with all positions, it is key to try and maintain a neutral spine position. To aid this, ensure that your pillow (or pillows) support the weight of your head that keeps it level with the rest of the spine.
Next, consider keeping a slim pillow (or towel) between the knees. This is particularly helpful in helping to relieve pressure on the lower back. And finally, to help maintain a stable position while you sleep, slightly bend the knees.
If you sleep on your back, then congratulations! It is generally considered the best position to sleep in to maintain a decent posture. There are a few things you can do to optimise your sleep in the position too.
As always maintain a proper alignment of the spine by ensuring your pillow properly supports your head and spine. It is very important that your pillow is not too big though, as this will create unnecessary pressure on the cervical spine. It may also help to rest a small pillow under your knees,
If you sleep on your front, then I am sorry to say, you are in the habit of sleeping in the most challenging position of all. The worst aspect of sleeping on your front is that it exaggerates the curve in the lumbar spine.
It is not generally advised that you sleep on your front. Try and change the habit if you can. But if you can’t change it, try resting a slim pillow under your abdomen to protect your lower back.
If you do suffer from back pain, we have a number of therapists that can help you.