Anyone dealing with back pain, whether acute or chronic, has experienced difficulty falling or staying asleep. How are these two issues related, how do they influence and exacerbate each other, and how can you overcome them to have a restful night’s sleep in spite of back pain?

Here are some facts and tips about back pain and sleep issues.

  • It’s a vicious cycle. When pain makes it difficult to sleep, a lack of sleep can make the pain worse. This catch 22 is part of the root of the problem. It is important to determine which came first in your specific case. The pain can be a physical symptom of an underlying sleep disorder or back pain can make sleep difficult because of the discomfort. Understanding which to treat and why will be an important step to figuring out the right steps.
  • Sleep helps reduce pain. Once you have diagnosed the underlying cause, it is important to work on techniques to sleep better. Adjustments in the firmness of your mattress or the right pillows can influence your sleep quality. Having a proper nighttime routine can also help. Look at your habits to see how they may be influencing your sleep patterns and work on making positive changes.
  • Are drugs the answer? Individuals experiencing back pain may already take multiple medications to curb the symptoms so they can function. This presents a challenge for medical professionals because prescribing more medication is often not the appropriate answer. Other non-traditional techniques like relaxation and guided imagery may be more effective for some patients.
  • There are techniques and products that can help. There are a few things you can do that can help you sleep better while experiencing back pain. Adjusting your sleeping position and using additional pillows to support your neck and legs properly can help. Topical pain relief creams may also help alleviate your back pain long enough for you to fall asleep and stay that way. Consider sleeping with a heating pad. Try an infrared heating pad which is safer and more effective.

Do you think techniques for better sleep can help with your low back pain?

Image by Clare Bell via Flickr

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