For individuals suffering from chronic back pain, its consequences can pervade every aspect of their lives. Sleeping is no exception, as many deal with issues such as discomfort and poor sleep quality. In fact, 59% of these individuals report regular sleep disturbance.

Lack of sleep alone comes with its own set of consequences. The average individual between the ages 26 and 64 is suggested to get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep nightly for optimum performance. Consistent lack of adequate sleep can translate into lower moods, decreased work performance, lowered immune response, and weight gain. Chronic lower back pain sufferers take on average more sick leave than those without.

  • Some of the greatest sleep obstacles faced include:
  • Sleep disturbance and duration
  • Poor day-time function
  • Decreased sleep quality with the absence of stage 3 and 4 (deep) sleep
  • Increased time taken to fall asleep

What can I do?

  • Mattress: Unsurprisingly, the surface you lay on at night can have drastic effects on your sleep experience. Medium-firm mattresses are suggested for chronic lower back pain. Compared to firm mattresses, individuals reported less daytime low-back pain, decreased pain while lying in bed, and decreased pain on rising.
  • Sleeping position: When deciding sleep position, it is important to remember the importance of supporting the natural curvature of the spine. Avoid sleeping in the fetal position and instead, make an effort to elongate your body. Placing a pillow between the knees when sleeping on one’s side has been shown to be beneficial for chronic back pain sufferers. Also, be mindful to select a pillow that holds the head midway between the shoulders so that the neck is neither drooping nor angled sharply upwards.
  • Exercise: How you treat your body during your waking hours plays a large role in how it feels when the time comes to wind down. Individuals with lower back pain demonstrate on average significantly reduced back muscle endurance. Consistent practice of strengthening exercises under the supervision of a healthcare professional has proven to lead to positive treatment outcomes.

Remember, back pain is not a condition, but rather a symptom of a greater problem. If you or someone you know is living with acute or chronic back pain, know that there is a solution. Learn more about how Microsurgical Spine Center can serve you in helping to find a solution to managing your back pain here or contact us at 243-841-8939.