Many Americans have trouble sleeping at night, often as a result of chronic back and joint pain. The right mattress can be essential to reducing and eliminating lower back pain. When properly supported, the muscles and structures of the back have a time to fully relax for a good night’s sleep. Without support, the back muscles tense in an effort to maintain the structure of the spine, which may lead to muscle aches and chronic pain.
Roughly 8 out of 10 people will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain can be a minor issue that flares up from time to time, or it can be a significant problem that infiltrates every aspect of your life.
If you suffer from chronic pain, chances are you’re not getting the sleep you need. Trying to sleep with pain can worsen the condition, which ensures that you won’t get sleep in a vicious cycle.
So, how do to break that cycle?
What is Lower Back Pain
Back pain is actually a broad term that refers to a wide variety of painful sensations that can be felt anywhere from the neck to the legs. There are several types of pain associated with lower back pain that can tell you the cause of the problem, as well as what you can do to alleviate it.
The Science Behind the Pain
Your back is made up of a multifarious structure of bones, discs, muscles, tendons, and ligaments that work collaboratively to provide your body with proper support and enable you to move around. Any structural problem with any of these components can result in back pain.
There are two main types of back pain: chronic and acute pain. Chronic back pain is long-term back pain that lasts for at least three months no matter your sleep position. As for acute back pain, it is a short-term pain that lasts no more than a few weeks affecting sleep quality.
Back pain that begins as acute may develop into chronic back pain. It’s projected that approximately 20 percent of acute cases persist and develop into chronic back pain causing you to change your sleep position.
What Causes Back Pain?
According to the American Chiropractic Association, back pain is the single largest cause of workplace disability, accounting for over 264 million lost days of work a year. In addition, the annual healthcare cost of back pain has skyrocketed to roughly $50 billion, making it one of the most expensive medical conditions commonly experienced by most of the world’s population.
The term “back pain” is broad enough to encompass a series of issues related to your spine, muscles, and nerves. It ranges from a dull ache that annoys you to a sharp pain that makes walking challenging.
The causes of back pain vary, but they include:
- Stress or injury of the back muscles due to chronic overload caused by obesity, or acute overload caused by heavy lifting or pregnancy
- Degenerative arthritis caused by aging and genetic predisposition
- Physical injury to the vertebrae from harsh impacts (falls, car accidents, sports injuries, etc.)
- Diseases that cause wearing away of the bone, such as osteoporosis
- Injury or disease involving the spinal nerves, such as a protruding disk or spinal stenosis
- Kidney stones or a kidney infection
- Inflammatory arthritis, including ankylosing spondylitis and related conditions
- A spinal tumor or cancer that has spread to the spine from elsewhere in the body
In addition, there are three types of back pain. Acute back pain occurs suddenly and can last for a few days to a few weeks. Subacute back pain can occur suddenly or develop over time, lasting about 4 to 12 weeks. And chronic back pain can also happen suddenly or develop over time, but it lasts consistently for longer than 12 weeks after an initial injury or underlying cause has been treated.
The symptoms of back pain are entirely dependent on the cause of the back pain. Often, pain is accompanied by other issues that point to its cause. For example, if the back pain radiates down your legs or arms, it could be a sign of nerve damage. Or stiffness and difficulty bending can be an indicator of degenerative arthritis.
It’s important to discuss your symptoms with a healthcare provider if they last for longer than 12 weeks and don’t respond to any initial treatment.
This condition is characterized by shooting pain that travels from the lower back down one of the legs. This is a common indicator of sciatica, or irritation of the sciatic nerve. Sciatic nerve pain comes across as a sharp, biting pain, which occurs when the sciatic nerve is pressed by a herniated or slipped disc along your spine.
Since the nerve radiates or branches into the buttock, thighs, and lower legs, the pain feels as if it is coming from there, a phenomenon known as referred pain.
If the pain you experience is characterized by numbness, fatigue, and stiffness of the back, you may be suffering from scoliosis. Scoliosis is a lateral curvature of the spine, which mostly occurs in young people just before puberty. At this time, they experience a growth spurt which, coupled with other less understood causes, can combine to cause scoliosis.
Scoliosis is easily diagnosed. If one of your shoulders falls below the other, your waist is uneven, or one hip is higher than the other, you might be suffering from scoliosis. A CT or MRI scan will confirm the diagnosis.
The imbalance caused by scoliosis can cause severe pain in the back, neck, and lumbar region.
Scoliosis can be corrected with braces if caught early in young people, while older adults may need surgery to resolve the problem.
A herniated disk occurs when one of the side walls of spinal discs ruptures, causing the lubricating jelly-like substance to spill and exert pressure on the nerve.
Ruptured discs can be caused by a variety of problems as we will see, but bad posture, heavy (bad) lifting and strenuous activity can all trigger the problem.
A slipped disc also showA slipped disc also shows other symptoms such as numbness and tingling in the shoulders, back, arms, legs, hands, or feet. Neck pain and problems bending are also an indicator of a slipped disc.
Luckily, a slipped disc can usually heal on its own given time and proper management. For very severe cases, you might have to see a chiropractor about other ways of managing it including therapy and surgery.
How Does Sleep Affect Your Back Pain?
While awake, you can control how your body moves to avoid jarring your spine or back muscles. However, you move around in your sleep, even if it’s only tiny movements at a time. And these movements aren’t made with any regard to the position of your back. So, if you’ve got injured muscles, a herniated disk, or any other physical ailment, you will end up exacerbating it if you manage to get any sleep at all.
In addition, if you sleep on your side, there’s a chance that you’ll worsen your back pain. Without the proper support for your head, your neck will list to one side. This misalignment will easily affect the rest of your spine down to your lower back. However, you should note that sleeping on your side is a good option when dealing with back pain if you have the proper precautions and support.
Even if you don’t suffer from back pain, you should be wary of how you sleep, particularly if you wake up feeling stiff or sore in the morning. Those feelings are an indication that your body is not in a comfortable position when you sleep, and they can lead to back pain if you aren’t careful. Fortunately, there are ways to ensure that you don’t develop back pain if you’re not a fan of sleeping on your side.
Selecting The Right Mattress Type Makes All The Difference
When it comes to preventing back pain from interfering with your sleep or vice-versa, your mattress makes a huge difference. Proper spinal alignment depends on a firm mattress to support you. Though research indicates that a medium-firm mattress is ideal for supporting your lower back, the appropriate firmness can vary due to your body weight, age, body type, sleeping position, and personal preference.
Choosing the best mattress for your needs will guarantee that you will have a solid night of sleep. Here are 8 questions you should think about for mattresses. Getting the right amount of sleep can prevent several problems that can not only exacerbate your back pain but can introduce several new issues.
So, get in touch with us to find your perfect mattress.
Choose The Best Mattress For Back Pain.
The first thing to consider when mattress shopping is your preferred sleeping position. Are you a side sleeper, a back sleeper, or a stomach sleeper? Do you prefer to shift positions often during the night? All these factors will affect the type of mattress that will work best for you. Variations in firmness affect which positions are most comfortable, so it’s best to match your mattress to your personal sleeping style.
If you’re a back-sleeper, you may wish to seek out a medium-firm mattress. You’ll want enough support for your lower back. The firmness should allow for some flexibility, however, to cradle your body rather than pushing against the spine. Be sure to try several mattresses to find one that cradles your body and allows your spine to be held comfortably straight, rather than sagging or arching.
If you sleep on your back
It would help if you placed a firm pillow under your knees or lower back to help support the natural curve of your spine. This practice is essential if you’re sleeping on an innerspring mattress or a mattress that is firmer than what your body needs. Also, be sure to use a thinner pillow to maintain the natural curve of your cervical spine in your neck, which can help reduce or prevent chronic neck pain.
Side sleepers may wish to seek out a softer mattress to cushion the hips and shoulders while supporting the back and spine. A pillow top mattress or dense memory foam mattress may be the best choice for side sleepers who need to balance the demands of firm support with softness to cushion joints.
Many lower back pain sufferers sleep on their stomachs in an effort to alleviate back pain caused by strain. Stomach sleepers tend to sleep most deeply on a firm mattress which supports the body in its natural position.
If you sleep on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach can exacerbate neck pain by putting extra stress on your vertebrae. Therefore, it’s best to avoid this position if you can help it. However, if you find that stomach sleeping is the only way to be comfortable in bed, you can place a thin pillow under your head while keeping a firmer pillow under your abdomen and hips. Doing so will keep your lower back from sinking and pulling your spine out of alignment, which can put pressure on both your lower back and your neck.
The fetal position
This is a sleeping position where you lie down with your legs drawn toward your chest. This position helps to keep your back straight, thus helping to align your spine. With a well-aligned spine, you are less likely to experience back pain. This position extends the spinal discs and works very well to ease pain from herniated discs and sciatica.
Other options to alleviate pain:
- Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees and a rolled up towel under the small of your back. This is the natural position of the spine where your weight is evenly distributed and the whole body is aligned, which can help with almost all kinds of back pain.
- Sleep in a reclined position. If you feel more comfortable in reclining chairs, you might want to sleep on a recliner such as La-Z-y Boy or get yourself a reclining bed.
- Sleep in Zero Gravity position which elevates and supports your back while keeping your spine relaxed. Your feet are elevated for good blood circulation.
Sleeping on a recliner is not the best idea in the long term, but it can be tremendously useful because it stretches the spine and relieves pressure. Some recliners are also heated along the lumbar region, which can be therapeutic.
When experiencing back pain, the last sleeping position you should adopt is sleeping on your stomach. This sleeping position is considered the worst sleeping position as it forces you to turn your head to the side, which is bad for your check and back. If the face-down position is your favorite sleeping position, consider placing a slim pillow underneath your hips to improve the alignment of your spine.
Whether you’re a side sleeper or you love sleeping on your back, using a pillow is highly recommended. When sleeping on your back, ensure that the pillow occupies the space between the mattress and your neck to sustain a neutral position. When sleeping on your side, place a thicker pillow under your ear to ensure that you won’t strain your neck and back.
Whatever sleeping position you prefer, No Bull Mattress has a variety of mattresses to match your personal sleep style. Come in to examine our variety of offerings, and we will find you the best mattress for back pain. Speak to our knowledgeable staff about which mattress might best fit your needs and budget.
How can sleep affect back pain?
Poor sleep posture and inadequate support can exacerbate back pain, while proper sleep posture and a supportive mattress can alleviate it.
When should I see a doctor for back pain?
If your back pain is severe, persistent, or accompanied by other symptoms, such as numbness or tingling, you should see a doctor for evaluation and treatment.
How can you avoid back pain during sleep?
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees, use a supportive mattress and pillow, and avoid sleeping on your stomach.
How a Good Mattress Can Help
If you’ve always slept in whichever sleeping position without experiencing back pain, your mattress could be the reason you are in the current predicament. Since it’s a primary means of supporting your body when you sleep, a mattress plays a significant role in reducing or preventing back pain.
To ensure that your spine is properly aligned, you will need a mattress that is in good condition. According to researchers, making use of a medium-firm mattress can help prevent back pain.
Nevertheless, the appropriate mattress firmness will vary from one user to another, depending on several factors, including an individual’s body shape, weight, favorite sleeping position, and comfort preferences.
If you are blessed with wide hips, you should choose a softer mattress that can accommodate your spine’s width while allowing your spine to stay neutral. If you have narrow hips that are in a straight line with your waist, you can consider sleeping on a more rigid mattress.
Say Goodbye To Back Pain With No Bull Mattress!
No matter which position you prefer to sleep in, you need the right kind of mattress to help ease back pain and promote better sleep. A poorly built or old mattress forces you to sleep in unnatural positions, which exacerbates back pain and makes recovery impossible.
Our mattresses are designed and built with the latest technology in springs, coils, and memory foam with the same high-end quality you expect from big-name brands, but at a fraction of the cost. Why? Because we sell value, not inflated brand names.
There are many mattress brands on the market, which make choosing the right mattress a daunting task. But it doesn’t necessarily have to be an intricate process for you if you know where to look.
As a mom-and-pop business, No Bull Mattress ensures that your back gets the soothing, comfortable, and supportive action that is crucial to better spine alignment. That way, you can alleviate and control your back pain when you sleep.
Are you ready to order your mattress? Compare our best deals to find the mattress that suits your needs and budget.