According to the National Institutes of Health, 80 percent of people experience back pain at some point in their lives. For individuals who suffer with chronic back pain (pain lasting longer than three months), sleeping well can be a challenge.
When you suffer with chronic back pain, depression, pain and anxiety can make falling and staying asleep difficult. According to WebMD, when you are unable to get a good night’s sleep, you may experience even more pain. However, there are steps you can take to alleviate your pain and get a better night’s sleep.
Warning: Chronic Back Pain May Require Lifestyle Changes
Even moderate levels of caffeine can cause sleep disturbances and insomnia, so you may want to eliminate it completely from your diet, or at least temporarily to see if it affects your sleep.
Avoid Heavy Meals
Do not eat heavily prior to bedtime. Doing so can cause you to suffer heartburn, keeping you awake.
Perform Soothing Exercises
Ask your physical therapist or health care provider which exercises you can do to help yourself feel better and fall asleep. Once you know which exercises are appropriate for your condition, check out videos online like the ones available from Laser Spine Institute to help you learn the proper way to perform back exercises.
Minimize Stress and Meditate
Stress is one of the main contributors to insomnia. Stress also triggers chronic back pain. Meditating is the process of finding focus, which helps relieve stress if done right before bed.
Try this meditation exercise:
Close your eyes and imagine you have just awakened, and picture your room’s layout. Think about someone that you are grateful to have in your life. Bring his/her face into view and focus on just one part of his/her face. Send him/her silent gratitude, then do the same for the other people whom you are thankful for in your life.
Supplement With Magnesium
According to studies the majority of men and women in America don’t meet the RDA for magnesium. This very important mineral is required for over 325 essential functions in the body. Insufficient magnesium can cause a large number of symptoms, including chronic neck and back pain, muscle tension, cramps and spasms, stress, anxiety and irritability.
Making sure you supplement with good quality magnesium in a form that your body can readily absorb may well relieve your chronic back pain as well as a host of other symptoms. Dr Mark Sircus, author of Transdermal Magnesium Therapy, recommends both oral supplements as well as magnesium oil applied and rubbed into the skin (transdermal therapy involves applying a medicine to the skin where it will be readily absorbed and enter the bloodstream). Transdermal application is a more effective way to make magnesium available to the body than oral supplementation, but it’s recommended to use both together. Here are links to the magnesium oil and magnesium supplement that I use and recommend.
For more information on this amazing mineral, how it works in your body and what can go wrong if you don’t have enough see my article Magnesium: Are You Low In This Miracle Mineral? I also recommend the following books:
- The Magnesium Miracle by Carolyn Dean MD ND
- Transdermal Magnesium Therapy by Dr Mark Sircus
Seek Chiropractic Care
According to an April 2013 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), chiropractic care is helpful in alleviating low back pain.
Use a Comfortable Pillow and Mattress
A mattress that maintains your spine’s alignment is vital for eradicating back pain. You need a mattress that offers you full body support. Memory foam mattresses are designed to conform to the natural curves of your body. According to a survey conducted by Sleep Like the Dead, memory foam received the highest satisfaction rating from its owners. Memory foam beds also produce the least number of consumer reports of pain. Rather than purchasing an entire bed set, consider purchasing a bed topper made of memory foam. There are memory foam pillows available as well.
Create a Routine
Try heading to bed at the same time every night. Follow a routine: Brush your teeth, set your alarm and avoid reading, working or watching television in bed.
Choose a Comfortable Sleeping Position
Try lying on your side in the fetal position and put a pillow between your knees for extra comfort. If you would rather lie on your back, take pressure off of your back by placing a pillow underneath your knees. Sleeping on your stomach may make you arch your back and chronic back pain is often aggravated by this position, so it should be avoided. Break this habit by using a tennis ball inside the front pocket of a sleep shirt to keep yourself from rolling onto your stomach.
Robert is a chiropractor who believes diet is just as important as coming into his office regularly.