Back pain can impact many areas of your life. But one of the most challenging side effects is the inability to sleep well at night. Fortunately, there are ways you can achieve better rest plus help reduce pain both day and night.
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Don’t Discount the Healing Power of Stretching
While back pain can immobilize you, there are benefits to stretching out tight and painful muscles. Especially before bed, stretching and yoga can help ease your discomfort.
Studies have confirmed that yoga and intensive stretching are “equally effective” at both reducing pain and helping you increase movement in your back.
Nightly yoga also helps promote a calmer mood and an improved mindset. You might even notice that you feel less stressed with a regular yoga routine. Plus, exercise helps increase blood flow, potentially reducing your back pain through enhanced circulation.
Get Household Help So You Can Heal
If your back pain is chronic, you might be making it worse by handling household chores and projects. Instead of tending to tasks in and around your home, consider hiring professionals to take over. You can hire a maid service to help clean so that you can avoid heavy lifting and start healing.
Yard work is another source of pain for people with back problems. Tasks like raking, mowing the lawn, and hauling a wheelbarrow can make your back pain worse. Fortunately, hiring a professional is a possibility. In Baltimore, the cost to mow and maintain a lawn averages $47 to $238, a small price to pay to avoid throwing out your back (and causing permanent damage).
Support Your Spine During Rest
For many people with back problems, lying in bed worsens pain to the point that rest isn’t restful. To combat positional problems, you can try swapping out your mattress or using supportive pillows to create better spinal alignment, Cleveland Clinic says.
Try moving your entire body in alignment when rolling over to further reduce the stress on your spine. And if you’re a side sleeper, make sure to swap sides regularly and keep a pillow between your knees for optimal alignment (you can find one on Amazon for under $15).
Use Daytime to Exercise
For many people with back problems, moderate exercise can help lessen pain. By working out the muscles surrounding your spine, you can strengthen your core and help prevent throwing out your back.
Exercising well in advance of bedtime is also preferable, Sleep.org explains. Working out can give you a rush that can keep you awake, pumping up your heart rate and boosting your body’s temperature.
Take Your Medicine at Night
If you receive a prescription for pain or other medication, such as muscle relaxants, try to take them in the evening hours. This way, you can help ease discomfort as you drift off to sleep, which can help start the next day on a positive note, too. Of course, if your doctor recommends another dosage schedule, be sure to follow their guidance.
Dedicate Evening Hours to Compresses
Experts tend to disagree on whether cold packs or hot compresses are preferable for back pain. But whichever method you choose, aim to apply your heat or cold packs around bedtime.
Applying ice to tender areas can help the pain subside, at least temporarily, and is most effective for recently injured areas. It can also reduce inflammation, but it’s not typically helpful for acute pain or “old” injuries.
On the other hand, hot compresses are ideal no matter what stage of recovery or pain you’re in and have benefits such as increasing blood flow, relieving pain, easing stiffness, soothing muscle spasms.
The warmth may even help you feel cozier and more comfortable so that you can drift off to sleep. You can also use heat in multiple ways, including through hot water bottles, warm baths, and heating pads.
Sleep is vital for your well-being and your ability to manage back pain. But dealing with ongoing spine and muscle problems can disrupt your rest. With these steps, you can enjoy calmer nights and even less painful days.
By: Cheryl Conklin