We spend a third of our lives sleeping. The process is supposed to help rejuvenate us, so we have that “I can take on the world!” attitude when you wake up in the mornings.
For many of those who wake up every morning with back pain, it’s less about taking on the world and more about taking something to help with the pain.
There are several issues that come into play when you wake up with back pain. Here are some ideas and tips to help you get back to taking on the world.
1. Your sleeping position could be killing your back – For the purposes of ideal sleep, your spine should be aligned. Depending on how you sleep – on your back, side, or stomach – your spine might not be getting the alignment you need. If this is what’s causing the pain, there’s a simple fix – sleep with another pillow. You won’t be sleeping with it under your head, though. According to the Mayo Clinic, if you’re a side sleeper, it’s best to draw your knees slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. If you sleep on your back, place the pillow under your knees. And if you sleep on your stomach, which can be hard on your back, place the pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.
2. Start using that gym membership – While working out does help you sleep better, working on strengthening your core can help with back pain at night. Make sure you work on your abs and your back during your workout. Over time, the stronger muscles should keep the back pain away. Of course, don’t be surprised if you’re sore for the first week or so while you’re working out. If you’re not used to it, that’s normal.
3. Have you thought about the mattress? – It should seem obvious, right? You sleep on it every night, you have back pain when you wake up, put two and two together and there’s the problem. It might, but it also might not. Our bodies change as we get older and, because of that, we need different types of support from our mattresses. A super soft mattress that feels like you’re sleeping on a cloud might have been great in your 20s or 30s, but in your 40s or 50s, that super soft mattress is probably doing a number on your back due to lack of support. If your back is hurting after doing the pillow technique and/or hitting the gym, it might be time to buy a new mattress that will give you a better, firmer support. It might not be the happy little cloud you’re used to sleeping on, but your back will thank you for it … mainly by not hurting.
4. You’ve tried it all, but you’re still hurting – There’s a chance that you can try all of these things and none of it will help. If that’s the case, you should see your doctor to make sure there’s no damage to your back. Chronic back pain could be linked to serious medical issues, so if it doesn’t lessen over time, be sure to make that appointment. Don’t put it off.