Most of us enjoy a lie-in, but research from a European Chiropractic Association shows that doing just that can bring on back pain.
Extensive research carried out by the BCA has placed sleeping and mattresses as one of the top triggers of back pain, with over a quarter of sufferers blaming their beds. 27% of women and 24% of men said that their pain was brought on during a night’s ‘rest’.
Back pain can be debilitating, but even on a lesser scale, it can prevent individuals carrying out day-to-day activities that most of us take for granted, and sleeping is top of the list.
Although sleep is essential to maintain our body’s natural rhythm, too much can play havoc with our spines. When you are lying still your back stiffens and is more prone to injury when you get up. One of the common misconceptions is that if you are suffering from back pain the best cure is bed rest – that is not the case, bed rest can actually slow your recovery.
Follow these top tips from Blackwater Chiropractic to ensure you can sleep soundly and safely:
- Your bed shouldn’t be too hard or too soft. If you are lying on your side your spine should be parallel to the mattress and the mattress should not sag (bed too soft) or bow (bed too hard). Your pillow should be an extension of this i.e. your neck should be a continuation of the straight spine (not too high not too low).
- Hard mattresses are not always best – opt for firm but supportive. It is easier to make a hard mattress soft than a soft mattress hard, so if you your mattress is too hard – add an extra blanket or duvet to give yourself a softer surface to lie on.
- Try and adopt a sleeping position which creates less physical stress on the back (e.g. lying on your side is better than lying on your front with your neck twisted to one side!). Lying on the opposite side of any pain with the knees up and a pillow between them is better than the recovery position as is on your back with support under your knees.
- Keep moving and avoid being in any one position for too long (no matter how comfy the position initially; the longer you stay in one position the more this will “load joints”). If your partner moves around a lot at nights try separate beds!! Your partner’s movement could aggravate YOUR back condition! Avoid sleeping in beyond your normal 7/8 hours.
- Drink water and keep well hydrated (dehydration can make muscles ache). A glass of Indian tonic water often helps night time cramps in the legs.
- Remember to turn your mattress regularly this should be done at least every couple of months and will keep your bed in good condition (not applicable to memory foam mattresses).
Ivan Danne, B.Sc., D.C., M.C.A.I.
Doctor of Chiropractic
If you require further advice on back care and spinal health, please feel free to contact Ivan at Blackwater Chiropractic (Mallow & Youghal) on 022 57715, 087 9268482 or at https://www.blackwaterchiro.ie/