Are you suffering from chronic back pain? Well, I know your pain.
Pain is something we are all going to experience in our lives all the time. Although many types of pain are specific to different jobs or lifestyles, chronic back pain is a preamble that affects nearly everyone at some point in time due to the kinetics of our human anatomy.
According to a study published in Public Health,
“Chronic low back pain prevalence increases linearly from the third decade of life on, until the 60 years of age, being more prevalent in women.”
I love to write about back pain, probably because I feel like I accomplished something when I came back from a Pars fracture three years ago and was able to play professional basketball at 100% strength.
The other reason I like to write about it is that I know there are tons of people out there with chronic back pain, and I have figured out a few safe ways to naturally handle this pain.
After rehabbing and healing the back injury I had, I learned more than a few tips to share that I am sure will be able to help you out. Hopefully, these tips work as well for you as they have for me!
Want some quality advice on how to treat chronic back pain? Keep reading below!
The Best Tips for Treating Chronic Back Pain
Poor ergonomics, prolonged sitting, and a lack of structured exercise all contribute to this modern-day epidemic. A great example is text neck. “Text neck” is the name given to the posture people assume when looking down at their cell phone, causing a rounding of the spine, particularly in the neck. If you have chronic upper back pain or neck pain, text neck might be to blame.
However, the fact that there are many common causes of back pain does not mean that you need to get used to chronic back pain – especially if it is stopping you from living your life in the way that you want.
There are many options to improve chronic back pain. Here are some of the best tips for treating chronic back pain:
Make Sure You Take Time to Exercise
Although many people have incredibly busy schedules, I am confident you can spare at least 30 minutes to exercise 3-4 times per week. Creating an exercise routine is one of the best health tips for office workers which can make a significant difference in dealing with back pain.
The human body needs exercise to maintain itself properly. If you develop an exercise routine earlier in your life, you have a better chance of reducing long-term chronic back pain. According to a study published in Pain,
“Motor control exercise and spinal manipulative therapy produce slightly better short-term function and perceptions of effect than general exercise, but not better medium or long-term effects, in patients with chronic non-specific back pain.”
In my opinion, the best type of exercise for back pain is yoga. However, there are other healthy options as well.
Exercises that can help you to build your core strength and stability also help to alleviate the stress and pressure your spine is under, which can then limit further injury and reduce pain.
Great examples include wall sits, glute bridges, pelvic tilts, and using an exercise ball for abdominal exercises.
After I learned about the issue plaguing my back, my first step was to improve my mobility and flexibility in my lower body and trunk.
According to a study published in Rehabilitation Foundation,
“Mobility of hips and lumbar spine were measured in 301 men and 175 women who were in employment but suffered from chronic or recurrent low-back pain. The degree of low-back pain (LBP) was assessed with a questionnaire. Hip flexion, extension, internal rotation, and hamstring flexibility in the men, and hip flexion and extension in the women had statistically significant negative correlations with LBP. Among the correlations between hip and lumbar spinal mobility, hip flexion and extension with lumbar rotation were strongest.”
Practicing yoga daily has been a tremendous help for me, but you must be gentle with your stretching. Especially when you first begin to loosen up your joints, ligaments and muscles, gentle stretching is vital.
Along with this, another step that I made was to re-tool my ability to squat properly. The squat is a very basic human movement, but not many people can perform it properly.
Working on my squat form by practicing goblet squats, and body squats was great for improving how my back felt.
If strength training or yoga doesn’t fit your lifestyle, waking up and going for a walk in the morning on an empty stomach is a fantastic way to start your body’s fat-burning process, help you to build some aerobic cardio endurance, and keep your body healthy.
Many back issues can be solved simply by losing some weight, and there are a lot of easy ways to shed some pounds.
Starting you’re morning with fasted cardio is an excellent way to help you quickly lose weight because walking in the morning before you eat keeps your glycogen levels low and your body fat accessible to be burned.
If you want to make your morning walk even more effective, try drinking a cup of yerba mate tea or green tea.
If you are sensitive to caffeine, skip the coffee or espresso. Yerba mate and oolong tea are both excellent substitutes, and will both give you the necessary energy and help you with metabolizing fat during your fasted morning walk.
Natural Products for Reducing Chronic Back Pain
There are tons of natural supplements and other natural products which can help you reduce or limit chronic back pain.
If you have chronic back pain, one supplement which I am confident you should be taking consistently is turmeric. Turmeric is a strong anti-inflammatory supplement, and it has shown to be effective for reducing symptoms of arthritis as well as helping with many other health issues. According to a study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology,
“These translational studies demonstrate in vivo efficacy and identify a mechanism of action for a well‐characterized turmeric extract that supports further clinical evaluation of turmeric dietary supplements in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis (RA).”
If you would like to try a turmeric supplement for your back pain, I use this one:
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There are many other natural anti-inflammatory supplements that can help as well! Here are a couple of other natural products which can help with back pain:
Essential Oils for Back Pain
If you suffer back pain from sitting in an office for to long, apart from optimizing the design of your workspace and utilizing the other tips mentioned in this article, essential oils are particularly helpful for reducing back pain. Amongst other uses, you can rub them onto joints or muscle to reduce inflammation and improve circulation; which ultimately improves back pain.
Essential oil rubs are one of the best natural solutions for muscle or joint pain relief!
According to a study published in Neuroactive Compounds,
“This review will summarize results on the discovery of essential oil constituents with analgesic-like activity from the chemical and pharmacological perspectives. Overall, 43 bioactive compounds were selected in nociception models. Among them, 62.8% were monoterpenes, 18.6% sesquiterpenes and other constituents represented 18.6%. The data show the potential of this group of natural product chemicals as analgesic drugs that may be useful for therapeutic purposes.”
If you’ve never used them before, essential oils are undiluted products extracted from plants for therapeutic purposes. Each of these oils have their own unique aroma and healing properties.
Some essential oils are too strong to be used directly on the skin as they contain chemical components, so in those cases, you can simply dilute the oils in a “carrier” oil or buy products that already contain essential oils in a carrier oil.
Some essential oils not only alleviate tension and pain but address psychological and physiological problem issues as well to restore a natural state of balance to your body.
When you do research, you’ll discover that some of these essential oils are just as effective than the anti-inflammatory ibuprofen, but without any of the dangerous side effects.
Here are the best essential oils that will surely help alleviate your back pain!
A lesser-known essential oil, wintergreen is a stem that contains the analgesic compound methyl salicylate.
According to a study published in The Open Orthopaedics Journal,
“It is possible that the methyl salicylate in the Wintergreen oil, which is one of the NSAIDs mentioned in the introduction, contributes to some of its effects.”
It is an analgesic and is often compared to medicines that you would buy at the store.
If you are using wintergreen essential oil topically, and it is completed absorbed by your body, then the effects can be very similar to a medicine like aspirin.
But the good news is that you are not getting any of the negatives associated with over the counter NSAIDs.
Wintergreen oil provides a cooling effect that feels amazing when it is applied to an area that hurts. While it is great for back pain, you can even use wintergreen essential oil if you have muscle or ligament pain in any other part of the body.
This is certainly an oil which must be mixed with a carrier oil since it is very powerful!
Peppermint (Mentha x piperita) is a perennial flowering member of the mint family. Peppermint grows widely in Europe and North America, and it is a very common essential oil. The medicinal use of peppermint and other mint plants dates back to the herbal pharmacopoeia of Ancient Greece!
According to a study published in Horticultural Science,
“Peppermint’s strong antispasmodic action makes it useful in massage for sports injuries. Its anti-inflammatory action helps sciatica, neuralgia, and arthritis. The oil of peppermint, on account of the menthol present in it, is a local anaesthetic, and may be employed to relieve local pain such as in the inflamed joints of rheumatism, as a spray in painful inflammation of the throat and fauces, and in any painful condition where a direct application of the anaesthetic can be made”
The refreshing aroma of peppermint oil comes from the active ingredient menthol, which is a component of the oil. Peppermint oil is more concentrated than other essential oils and it will be necessary to dilute it with a carrier oil such as almond oil.
If you suffer from back pain, this essential oil can help soothe the pain.
Many experts believe that frankincense is the best essential oil that you can use. Whether your back pain is from strain or from a slipped disc, soothing Frankincense essential oil can help with your pain and discomfort.
Known also as Olibanum, you can either inhale Frankincense oil, ingest a small amount, or apply it topically. It is best used topically when 2 or 3 drops are mixed with a carrier oil such as jojoba oil.
It is excellent for helping with the relief of back pain and inflammation.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology,
“These findings suggest that topical application of FOE or its active ingredients (including α-pinene, linalool, and 1-octanol) exhibit significantly anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects through inhibiting nociceptive stimulus-induced inflammatory infiltrates and COX-2 overexpression.”
If you suffer from back pain, frankincense essential oil can help you a lot!
Lavender is my favorite essential oil. It is great as a massage oil, and it is great as a diffused oil for smell.
According to a study published in Academia Brasileira de Ciências,
“Lavender Essential Oil consistently inhibited spontaneous nociception and presented a similar effect to that of tramadol. The results of this study reveal (in vivo) the analgesic and anti-inflammatory activities of LEO and demonstrates its important therapeutic potential.”
This is a wonderfully affordable and versatile essential oil that you can use to reduce inflammation and spasms in the back, and it can also help you sleep much better. It’s pleasant, soothing aroma also reduces tension throughout the body.
Juniper oil is another lesser-known essential oil, but studies have shown many different health benefits of this berry oil.
According to one study,
“Juniper berry is noted to exert powerful antioxidant activity. It is also found to be anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, analgesic, and hepatoprotective”
People use this oil to numb pain and to treat painful joints and muscles.
Turmeric (which I mentioned before) actually comes from the ginger family, and likewise, ginger is also known for easing back pain while allowing you to retrieve mobility.
According to a study on ginger extract and knee osteoarthritis that was published in Arthritis & Rheumatology,
“A highly purified and standardized ginger extract had a statistically significant effect on reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis (OA) of the knee.”
Ginger is a very strong anti-inflammatory compound, and you can use ginger essential oil, take a ginger supplement.
Chamomile oil has great analgesic properties which can soothe painful, inflamed joints and muscles.
Slipped discs and nerve pain such as sciatica can also benefit from the calming effect of chamomile.
According to a study published in the Journal of Ardabil University of Medical Sciences,
“Data from this study confirms the analgesic effect of chamomile essence which was indicated in our previous study and that this analgesic effect is comparable with 1 mg/kg of morphine sulfate in both the Formalin TEST & Tail Flick TEST. Chamomile as an analgesic should be studied more in different studies.”
Furthermore, a study published in Complementary Therapies in Clinical Practice stated that,
“Chamomile oil decreased the analgesic demand of patients with knee osteoarthritis. In addition, it may show some beneficial effects on physical function, and stiffness of the patients.”
Use thyme essential oil if you suffer with backache or inflammation in the joints. There is a compound in thyme known as carvacol and it suppresses COX-2 which is an enzyme related to inflammation.
This essential oil has anti-inflammatory properties that will penetrate the surface of the skin to reduce pain.
According to a study published in the Journal of Lipid Research,
“In human macrophage-like U937 cells, carvacrol suppressed lipopolysaccharide-induced COX-2 mRNA and protein expression, suggesting that carvacrol regulates COX-2 expression through its agonistic effect on PPARγ. These results may be important in understanding the anti-inflammatory and anti-lifestyle-related disease properties of carvacrol.”
If you would like to try these or other essential oils to help with reducing your back pain, this is a great starter kit which contains a variety of useful essential oils, including many of these:
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CBD Oil for Back Pain
The cannabis plant contains more than just THC, which is what it is known for around the world. We associate cannabis with marijuana because it is often talked about in relation to that drug. CBD stands for cannabidiol, and it is a non-psychoactive cannabinoid found in the hemp plant. As of January 1st, 2018, it has become legal as per the World Anti-Doping Agency banned substance list (for you athletes out there).
The cannabinoids that are found in cannabis that are not psychoactive are very useful for our body in many ways!
That is why this oil is one item that you will have to add to your collection of supplements if you are suffering from chronic back pain.
According to a study published in the Open Science Journal of Psychology,
“The cases presented in this article suggest that at least some patients with severe pain and severe neurological symptoms can benefit from cannabis oils, more so than from the widely prescribed opioid and non-opioid analgesics.”
Along with THC oil, which is another aspect of the plant; CBD oil is one of the greatest untapped resources of health benefits in the world.
When you consume CBD oil, you might immediately start to feel relief. The great thing about using CBD oil is that you are not getting any of the psychoactive elements of marijuana because there is no THC in this oil.
So, you will not feel “high” or anything of the sort.
A few drops of CBD oil, which you can buy for cheap prices from American Hemp Oil, will help you get relief. Trying CBD oil will also make you feel calmer and more relaxed.
There are also some excellent CBD pain relief topicals, which work just as well as the drops.
You can even use CBD oil for pets! If you notice your dog or cat limping around with a bad hip or back, a few drops of CBD oil in their mouth will help them out tremendously!
I have been using CBD oil for over 2 years to help with treating aches and pains of my professional basketball career, and it has made a world of difference. I highly suggest you give CBD oil for back pain a try, because it is easily one of the most effective essential oils for back pain out there!
If you are interested in checking out a few CBD companies, a few product reviews I believe you should check out are:
Not only can you use CBD for back pain, but they also make CBD Oil for wrinkles and other skin issues, mental health issues, chronic fatigue, and much more!
When people are looking to manage any type of pain in their body, I think its safe to say that most people jump to NSAIDs such as Tylenol, Aleve, and Ibuprofen first.
Well, did you know that there is a holistic replacement for these dangerous medicines that can work even better?
I first started using Infinite CBD products soon after my injury, and they made a world of difference! I began to experiment with other products shortly after, and I have found many other outstanding CBD brands.
CBD oil and other CBD products work to naturally reduce inflammation, and have an enormous amount of other benefits for the human body as well.
You can apply topical CBD directly on to your back, or you can take it orally.
For more information, you can also check out my article on how long it takes for CBD Oil to work for pain.
Treat Chronic Back Pain with an Anti-Inflammatory Diet
If you want to manage chronic back pain, you should make sure you are consistently eating an anti-inflammatory diet.
According to a study published in the Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,
“We can no longer view different diseases as distinct biochemical entities. Nearly all degenerative diseases have the same underlying biochemical etiology, that is, a diet-induced pro-inflammatory state. “
I personally suggest a ketogenic diet or a vegan diet for people who have serious back issues because reducing inflammation through diet is one of the best ways to improve how your body is functioning overall.
Reducing your intake of soda, alcohol, refined sugars, and fried foods is key to reducing pain naturally within the body.
I am sure that if you follow these simple tips, you can solve many back problems and reduce your chronic back pain quickly!
There are foods that can either cause or prevent systemic or acute inflammation. If you are already suffering from a condition that causes inflammation, sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet can help bring the inflammation down the natural way.
Research has shown that not only does this type of diet help protect the body against chronic diseases, it also helps slow down the aging process because it increases metabolism and stabilizes blood sugar levels.
An anti-inflammatory diet consists of natural, fresh foods that include lots of fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole grains and plant-based proteins.
This diet excludes processed foods and food that is high in trans-fats, processed sugars and preservatives.
Sticking to an anti-inflammatory diet means consuming natural, fresh food since foods that are high in processed fats, sugars and preservatives tend to promote or exacerbate inflammation.
Go for variety when choosing fruits and vegetables. Colorful berries which are high in antioxidants are great for fighting inflammation.
The same is true for green leafy vegetables like kale and spinach, broccoli, and cabbage. Nuts, olive oil, and natural sources of good fat like avocado are known for their anti-inflammatory properties.
Salmon and tuna are great sources of protein that have omega-3 fatty acids, popular for their ability to stem the inflammatory response in the tissues. Omega-3 fatty acid based supplements like Fish Oil and Shark Cartilage are also an option.
Fruits and vegetables are also great sources of fiber, which are useful in helping drive out toxins that otherwise could contribute to inflammation.
An anti-inflammatory diet does not have to be bland and boring!
Herbs and spices can help you enjoy various flavors while enjoying healthy meals.
Turmeric in particular is rich in curcumin, a substance that has very powerful anti-inflammatory properties. You can also use turmeric to lose weight and improve your health in many ways!
Garlic is another spice that helps fight the body’s inflammatory response and it possesses potent antibacterial properties as well.
Ginger can be used as a spice to flavor dishes or taken as a tea for a quick anti-inflammatory and antioxidant boost.
The number of antioxidants you ingest daily, and the levels of inflammation in your body, typically go hand in hand. Chronic inflammation and chronic stress are two health issues that consistently hurt our Western society.
Inflammation is your body’s natural response to stress, disease, toxins, or infections. Inflammation can be beneficial for your body, as it is your body’s way of fighting off and destroying bacteria, viruses, and healing wounds. However, if inflammation becomes out of control, it can cause painful and serious effects in your body.
Chronic inflammation is directly related to numerous different diseases and ailments, specifically chronic back pain.
Eating a diet that is high in antioxidants is an excellent way to keep your body free from chronic inflammation. Antioxidants are the natural enemy of free radical cells. Free radical cells are molecules within your body which are electronically charged, and are highly reactive with other compounds within your body. Amongst other issues, free radicals can cause mutations and cancer.
In-taking antioxidants through diet and supplementation (such as these products from Biosphere Nutrition) is a great way to keep your body safe from these free radicals.
Types of Therapy for Chronic Back Pain
If you are dealing with chronic back pain, there are a few types of therapy that are beneficial to go along with the other options I have already listed above. Check them out:
See a Chiropractor for Back Pain
Although I am not currently using chiropractic care, I have used a chiropractor in the past for general maintenance of my body and often use my basketball teams’ physical therapist for chiropractic work during each of my seasons.
I have visited a chiropractor in the past for general maintenance of my spine, and body overall. In my opinion, it is a very useful activity you can do once per month.
A chiropractor can be useful for aligning your neck, spine, hips, shoulders, and more! I personally felt a lot of relief in my shoulders after I visited a chiropractor the first couple of times.
If your back issues are related to posture problems, and you have a generally imbalanced body, a chiropractor could become your new best friend.
According to a study published in The British Medical Journal,
“For patients with low back pain in whom manipulation is not contraindicated chiropractic almost certainly confers worthwhile, long term benefit in comparison with hospital outpatient management. The benefit is seen mainly in those with chronic or severe pain.”
Furthermore, chiropractic care can also be more affordable for treating chronic back pain than other options long-term. According to a study published in The Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics,
“There is an overwhelming body of evidence indicating that chiropractic management of low-back pain is more
cost-effective than medical management. We reviewed numerous studies that range from very persuasive to
convincing in support of this conclusion. The lack of any convincing argument or evidence to the contrary must
be noted and is significant to us in forming our conclusions and recommendations. The evidence includes studies
showing lower chiropractic costs for the same diagnosis and episodic need for care.”
Believe me, chiropractors can do wondrous things for your back!
Inversion Table Therapy for Back Pain
The use of inversion table therapy is one of the best natural ways to reduce back pain.
Inversion table therapy is a process that allows you to hang upside down to stretch your spine. Inversion therapy brings about a traction force throughout the spine, hence decreasing back pain.
There are many ways in which you will benefit from using an inversion table.
For example, inverting is the best exercise for elongating and decompressing your spine. It is a great approach if you do not want to undergo surgery or take injections and other medicines. Here are a few benefits of inversion table therapy.
- Inversion tables relieve pain by reducing the pressure on your spine
- They help you develop proper posture by realigning the spine
- It relaxes tensed muscles in your back and other parts of your body
- Provides long-term and complete relief from back pain
- Decreases inflammation
- Boosts blood circulation
- Improves spinal health and makes you more flexible
Inversion tables greatly help in eliminating pain in your back because it takes off the load on your back.
For many chronic back pain issues, the pain you feel is caused by the accumulated pressure on your nerves and discs.
When you relieve this pressure, the pain will go away. The whole point of an inversion table is to flip your body and unload your joints, bones, and the discs in the lower back.
Many studies indicate that the use of inversion therapy brings traction through the lumber spine.
According to a study published in Isokinetics and Exercise Science,
“Inversion traction at angle of −60° reduced back pain or discomfort and improved lumbar flexibility and isokinetic trunk extensor strength in patients with chronic low-back pain (CLBP) following an 8 week program. Therefore, this treatment modality may be suitable for patient groups of similar CLBP phenomenology.”
During inversion, there can be a separation of up to 3mm between the lumbar vertebrae.
Inversion therapy increases the space between vertebrae by reducing the gravitational pressure from the roots and disks in the spine. As a result, it stretches the spine and relieves back pain.
When you are inverting, it is great if you start at low angles from 20-30 degrees. Once you are used to inversion table therapy, you can advance to more intense angles depending on how comfortable you feel.
If you want to try inversion table therapy at home, the process is pretty simple because you just need to sit down, ensure the ankle pads and the seat belt are in place, and then lean back.
There are many inversion table reviews on the internet which will help you know more about the top inversion table on the market.
Inversion tables work well and many people have found relief from back pain through inversion therapy.
People with the following conditions should not use inversion tables:
- High Blood Pressure
- Increased Heart Rate
- Blood Clotting Conditions
- Cardiovascular Disease
high blood pressure, increased heart rate, glaucoma, obesity, pregnancy, blood clotting conditions or cardiovascular disease.
Use a Heating Pad for Back Pain
A simple and effective way to deal with chronic back pain is to use a heating pad. Heating pads aren’t a long-term pain relief solution, but they can be effective for handling pain as it comes.
According to the Royal College of Nursing Publishing,
“Despite the limited scientific evidence for the analgesic effectiveness of heat therapy, there is much anecdotal evidence to support its usefulness in relieving pain, either alone or as an adjunct to other pain treatments. As a result, many nurse clinicians support its use at home and in the healthcare setting.”
You can check out heating pad reviews to find one that is suitable for your need.
In my opinion, this is a great affordable option:
Massage Therapy for Back Pain
Massage therapy is another simple and effective remedy for chronic back pain. Experienced therapists who have completed a level 3 massage course or completed another type of education for massage therapy can quickly reduce chronic back pain with long-term positive benefits.
It is also very easy and affordable to schedule massage therapy for back pain because many in-home massage therapists of spas that offer massage use salon software so you can simply go on their website and book an appointment. Unlike other treatments for chronic back pain like chiropractic treatment or physical therapy, massage therapy doesn’t require a referral from a doctor and is generally affordable.
Back Pain and Sleeping – Understanding the Whole Connection
Whether it is changing your mattress or fixing your sleeping position, there is a lot that goes into improving your sleeping conditions to help fix your back pain. With that in mind, it helps to do a little research on what mattress would be best for you, as well as the best deals out there. As you can see on bestmattress-brand.org, there are plenty of great deals to be found.
Check out these tips to learn more about choosing the best mattress for back pain:
Best Sleeping Positions to Avoid Back Pain
If you are dealing with chronic back pain, how and where you sleep are incredibly important for improving your spinal positioning and improving back pain.
Sleeping on the stomach is the favorite position of many people to relax and fall asleep more quickly, however, this is the worst position for the health of your spine – especially your lower back.
Sleeping on your stomach can strain your neck, leaving your muscles tense and sore, as well as straining the lumbar region, which does not get the support needed during the night. If you are intent on remaining a stomach sleeper, you should find an appropriate pillow for stomach sleepers for better sleep.
The ideal sleeping position in a comfortable and healthy way is always lying on its side, with knees slightly bent, and separated by a pillow. Another good position to relax and sleep without problems is lying on your back, with a pillow under your knees to align the spine with the rest of the body.
However, with this second position, care should be taken since holding the abdominal region up and keeping your legs fully stretched at bedtime can overwhelm the lower back.
Sleeping With Disc Problems
Quite often, people with disc problems or degenerative discs find that stomach sleeping is the answer. They find more relief with a firm mattress and a flat pillow tucked under their stomach. This reduces pressure on the lower back and allows it to recuperate from the day’s stresses.
This is also often the best position for someone with a herniated disc, too.
Sleeping with Bursitis
Bursitis is inflammation in the joints. The most common pain occurs in the hips, but it also happens with shoulders, knees, or any other major joint, and it is extremely painful.
If you deal with bursitis in your back, shoulders, or hips, a softer mattress is desirable. Either lessen the air pressure in your adjustable air mattress, or try a thick mattress topper.
Sleeping With Osteoarthritis and Spinal Stenosis
Many people who have osteoarthritis or spinal stenosis can find relief by sleeping on their sides. When you curl into a fetal position, it opens up the joints in your spine and relieves pressure.
An adjustable bed or recliner can also allow you to elevate your head and knees to relieve pressure.
The Role of Your Mattress in Dealing with a Chronic Back Injury
Another important way to prevent chronic back pain when sleeping is knowing the mattress right for your spinal column.
Advice like “get a firm mattress” rarely work in real life because not all back injuries are the same, and simply going with a firm mattress can make things worse, especially if there’s nerve compression involved.
Orthopedists and physical therapists recommend their patients to stay away from extra-firm or extra-soft mattresses, as both can disrupt the positioning of the spinal column.
You’ll want the perfect combo between support and softness that will allow your hip bone, and shoulder, to sink in so that you spine is aligned and the vertebrae don’t compress the nerves.
It’s all about the balance between the overall firmness and the loft of the finishing layer.
The ideal mattress for your back is always the one that can shape the design of your spine, ensuring comfort for all regions of the body at bedtime. If you have questions when choosing the mattress perfect for you, enlist the help of a specialist in products for sleep.
For more information, you can read the blog of experts on tips for improving sleep quality and sleep conditions for your back.
Your body wants to heal, do your part to help it along.
Keep reading below to learn more!
Your Mattress and Side Sleeping
For the side-sleeper with chronic back problems, it is usually recommended that they sleep with a small pillow between their knees. Your mattress should be soft enough to allow your shoulders, elbows, and hips to nest comfortably, while the underlying support keeps your body from folding like a paperclip.
Especially if you regularly sleep on your side, a memory foam pillow can do wonders for keeping your spine in proper alignment.
The physiology of cushioning the knees is similar to that of the back sleeper.
You want to keep the weight of your legs from pulling on your spine, which already has enough going on. In addition, a side-sleeper’s hips will torque, putting even more strain on the spine and contributing to muscle spasms during the daytime.
By keeping a small pillow between your knees, you prevent the torque from happening and allow your spine to relax.
This works whether you sleep in the fetal position or straight. In the fetal position, your arms, wrists, and ankles are off-set. If you sleep straightened-out, your feet and ankles are often lined up on top of each other, and you may need a cushion between your ankles as well.
Your Mattress and Back Sleeping
For a back sleeper, it’s usually recommended that you keep a small pillow behind your knees. This relieves pressure along your spine and allows for the natural curvature. While some people can sleep perfectly flat, the reality is that you need to accommodate for the actual shape of your back.
Think of a soldier standing at attention. If he locks his knees, he passes out because of decreased blood flow to his brain. If your legs fall asleep while you are in bed, it could be because your knees are locked. The weight of your legs also puts a strain on your spine, pulling it into more of a straight line.
The spine is actually in a gentle “S” shape. If damage to your spine is along either of the curves, such as the outward curve between the shoulder blades or the inner curve in the small of the back, then a more responsive mattress topper can offer the “give” or extra support back-sleeper needs.
Your Mattress and Stomach Sleeping
Doctors seem to have a prejudice against stomach sleeping, but it can be done, even if you have back problems. In general, you need a supportive mattress rather than a soft one.
You can take some of the strain from your spine by putting a pillow underneath your stomach. This will help elevate your hips and take the strain off of your lower back.
Sleeping on an Airbed?
An airbed might sound weird and you might be imagining yourself on one of those cheap air mattresses you used for camping, however, that’s not what we’re talking about. An adjustable airbed is called that because it uses a core of air chambers to give you the option to adjust the firmness.
The best air beds in this class will also allow you to choose a sleep position and the temperature of the surface.
For a back pain sufferer, they are a life saver!. Not only do you get to experiment with the firmness settings until you find the sweet spot, but you can do it without interfering with the sleep habits of your sleep partner, too.
Your side of the mattress can be firm, while theirs can be medium or soft.
No other mattress offers that kind of convenience.
These airbeds might be your best bet in the battle with a back injury, but they do come with a hefty price tag.
The smart way to make the decision on whether to invest in these high-end models is getting a regular air mattress to see if the adjustable firmness does the trick. You can do it by getting a good affordable air mattress that includes the option to adjust the firmness.
To be precise, we’re talking about a classic inflatable bed, the ones that you might have used for guests or camping.
The best air mattresses for the transition will include the adjustable firmness option and will not deflate.
You might go with some of the models that feature what’s called a “smart” pump – a couple of airbed companies make these (like Serta, Insta, Frontgate, SoundAsleep). What’s special about them is the fact that the mentioned “smart” (some brands call it a NeverFlat) pump tops the airbed of these mattresses if it loses air.
This will eliminate the risk of making things worse if the bed deflates and you end up sleeping with an arched spine. Before getting one, do your research and read the reviews of the air mattresses (both from users and websites that actually test the products). For more information, you can consult this guide on choosing the best air bed.
A Good Pillow – The Best Friend of Your Spinal Column
If you visit an orthopedist to treat your spine problem, you’ll probably hear him talk about the importance of using the best pillow in maintaining the health of your spine structure.
A good pillow helps keep the spine straight when lying on the bed, positioning the neck and head at the ideal height to align with the rest of the body. Avoid using very high or very low pillows, as well as very hard or very soft pillows.
The ideal pillow for neck pain and back pain is the one that guarantees the positioning of your neck at the height of the spine.
Use softer and lower pillows to help care for another part of your spine. If you have severe back pain while sleeping, try placing one pillow between your legs and another just below the chest to finish aligning your spine when lying on the bed.
Personally, I use a memory foam pillow and I felt a significant difference in my back and neck when I initially made the switch.
Concluding Thoughts – How to Improve Your Chronic Back Pain
I prefer to use a variety of exercises and lifestyle changes to improve your posture and strengthen your back, but you can also use the best posture correctors or other devices to bring back your active and healthy life.
If you have severe back pain that was caused by an accident or a sports injury, you are probably going to need to see a doctor to develop a strategy for reducing your pain. However, if you have chronic back pain simply from your lifestyle, I am confident the tips listed above will help you feel better!