Lady Sleeping

Studies reveal getting a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do for your heart, but if you suffer from back pain, you know how difficult that can be to get a good night’s sleep. In fact, one study found almost 60 percent of people with low-back pain suffer sleep disturbances as a result of their pain.

Back pain can affect sleep in several ways:

  • Directly, when the back is not properly supported or pain develops as a result of an injury, health condition or overexertion
  • Indirectly, when movements during sleep pull on sore back muscles
  • Indirectly, when anxiety or stress caused by back pain make it difficult to fall into a deep, prolonged sleep

So what can you do to help ensure you’re getting the best night’s sleep possible?

  • Get a new mattress. Your mattress provides critical support to your back while you sleep. If it’s old or worn, it may be time to invest in a new one.
  • Support your back with a pillow. Place it under your knees when lying on your back, or between your knees if you prefer to lie on your side.
  • Limit alcohol and caffeine in the evening. Both can impair sleep.
  • Don’t eat a big meal right before bed, and don’t exercise right before bed.
  • Practice relaxation techniques like mindful breathing or guided imagery to help release stress.
  • Try medication. Taking an over-the-counter, anti-inflammatory medication can help you deal with mild back pain until you can see a doctor.

Poor sleep isn’t the only way back pain can be bad for your heart: A sore, painful back also can limit your physical activity or make you more reluctant to exercise, which can increase your risk for heart disease.

February is American Heart Month, when the American Heart Association urges men and women not to take heart health for granted. If you’re having back pain, call 800.890.1964 and schedule an evaluation today with our physicians, Dr. Richard Wohns, Dr. David Paly, Dr. Trent Tredway or Kathy Wang so you can make sure you’re doing all you can to support the health of your heart all year long.