How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain

person holding lower back pain with animation of curved spine and lightning striking the pain point

16 million American adults experience chronic back pain.

It can be even more frustrating contending with this pain at night when you’re trying to get to sleep and experience a little more relief. But when you learn how to sleep with lower back pain, you can minimize your discomfort.

So what are some lower back pain tips? How can they offer lower back pain relief? Keep reading to learn more.

Fetal Position

Fetal position lessens disc tension, opens the space between spinal vertebrae, and stops the spine from curving back. This is beneficial for those with herniated discs since herniation refers to spinal discs excessively pushing out of their spaces.

Keep in mind that it’s best to switch sides to avoid imbalances when employing this method. It would also be best to place a firm pillow between the knees for maximal comfort. Here’s how to successfully get into this position:

1. Lie down on your back.

2. Gently roll to the side.

3. Slowly draw your knees to your chest into a partial bend.

4. Carefully curl your torso to your knees.

Pillow Support

Your pillow is there for comfort and support. This is especially true for those with chronic lower back pain. Unfortunately, not all pillows are made the same, and not all people have the same requirements for pillow support.

Choose the right pillow that supports the head and neck, supporting your upper spine. This will help with long-term spinal alignment. Memory foam is popular for providing this benefit since it adapts to the shape of sleepers’ necks.

However, the right pillow support also depends on how people sleep. People who sleep on their backs may want extra padding for neck support.

Those who sleep on their stomachs should ideally use no pillow, but opt for the thinnest options if they insist on sleeping with one. Side sleepers need pillows with extra-large gussets and must place a firm pillow between their knees for spinal balance.

Getting Out of Bed Carefully

It’s good to feel ready to take the day on upon waking up. But you don’t want to let that excitement thwart itself by hurting yourself while getting out of bed.

Upon waking up, don’t make any sudden, jerky movements. Slow, steady movements are essential. These movements, when done carefully, can prevent the waist from bending and getting overexerted:

1. Gently roll onto your side to the edge of the bed.

2. Bend your knees.

3. Push yourself up with your arms.

4. Move your legs over the side.

Reclined Sleeping

If you insist on sleeping on your back, consider a reclined position. Even a slight incline can minimize spinal pressure while offering back support.

Not only that, but it allows your core muscles to rest, letting them heal up and get stronger. Core strength is crucial for strengthening the back too, making this a vital benefit for long-term health.

Keep in mind that too much of an incline could be harmful, tightening your joints and limiting your posture. So sleep with a slight incline to reap all its benefits and none of its disadvantages.

Alcohol and Caffeine Limit

Alcohol can make people feel relaxed, carefree, and sleepy. Caffeine can also reduce inflammation, leading to other health benefits. Neither is conducive to improving your lower back pain though.

First, alcohol can make you too intoxicated to get into bed properly. As a result, you may sleep carelessly, waking up tired, irritable, and sore. Caffeine also prevents people from sleeping when they need to, resulting in lower quality sleep.

Quality of sleep is just as important as your sleeping method. It allows your body to heal itself, lowers cortisol levels, which can otherwise inflame your joints, and manages pain. So limit your alcohol and caffeine consumption, and don’t push those limits too much.

Pre-Bedtime Relaxation

Relaxing before bed could help you fall asleep faster, improving the quality of your sleep. Although the following eight hours of sleep should help you relax, you can’t meet this requirement if you can’t fall asleep. So here are some relaxation methods to include in your pre-bedtime rituals:

  • Lighting calming candles
  • Stretching
  • Listening to calming sounds and music
  • Taking a bath
  • Showering

It’s also good to minimize any sleep disturbances, especially light and sound distractions. If needed, use noise-cancelling headphones and eye masks.

Exercising Earlier

Exercise is excellent for you, but not in the nighttime when you have lower back pain. At night, cortisol levels are lower, which would otherwise inhibit pain.

Of course, there are still a few light exercises, mostly stretching-based, that you can do at night. But with higher impact activities, it’s best to reserve them for the daytime. You have more energy to fuel your workouts and less pain to interrupt them at this time of day.

Sleeping With Comfort Despite Lower Back Pain

Whether you just hurt your back or have been dealing with lower back pain for years, you deserve to sleep peacefully. Luckily, with this lower back pain guide, you’ll learn how to sleep with lower back pain and regain your quality of life.

At New York City Spine, we know how stressful chronic back pain can be — both for your body and your livelihood. For that reason, we offer some of the best spine treatment services in New York and New Jersey. Contact us today if you’re ready to take the next step!

At New York City Spine Surgery, our standard for excellent care means treating you as a whole person, and not just another spine disorder on a chart.

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