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Back Pain Keeping You Up at Night? Here’s Help

One of the number one issues that keep people from getting a good night’s sleep is the problem of chronic back pain, and this often debilitating condition is doing more than affecting our ability to sleep – according to a recent survey, it is also the cause of a good deal of absenteeism from work, and one of the top reasons that people go to see their doctor. By some estimates, roughly eighty percent of the American public will experience back pain at some point in their life, and that means that it is important to know the steps to take to protect yourself from the risk of injury, as well as what to do once you do start to feel pain.

According to Dr. David E. Fish of the UCLA Spine Center, “Back pain can interrupt every facet of your life, especially sleep which your body needs to maintain both spine and overall health and to adequately recover from back pain. Most people will experience some sort of back pain in their lifetime. Prevention is key, and by following a few basic tips you can avoid future back pain symptoms and ensure that you are giving your body the rejuvenating rest it needs.”

Here are some suggestions that will keep your back healthy and give you the ability to be pain free and sleeping soundly:

  • If you are going to be lifting something heavy, remember the old adage about lifting with your legs. The muscles in your legs are very strong, and if you use the right posture and form when lifting you’ll allow them to engage and take the brunt of what you are lifting. Keep your back perpendicular to the ground and your head up, bending your legs under you and getting your lift from your knees. Concentrating on keeping your body close to the object instead of having your arms extended will help too, and when in doubt, hire somebody who is trained in the proper way to lift – saving the money on movers is not worth the pain that could follow.
  • If you’re not currently exercising then start a routine, and try to choose something that will not only keep you at a healthy weight (or start you in that direction), but also something that will include some healthy stretching that will keep your back muscles limber.
  • Start doing some situps and other core body exercises. The stronger your abdominal muscles are, the stronger your back will be. You don’t need to do a million crunches to strengthen your abs. Think about signing up for a class that includes some yoga or Pilates moves.
  • Make sure that your back is well supported by your mattress. One way to check on this is to lay flat on your back on your mattress and try sticking your hand between the small of your back and your bed. If there is more than enough room, then it may be time to invest in a new mattress that provides you with better support.
  • Consider your sleeping position: as long as your mattress is supportive, sleeping on your back is the healthiest for your back. If you sleep on your side then you can alleviate back and hip pain by putting a pillow between your knees, and a small pillow under the small of your back can do wonders for those who sleep on their back. Stomach sleepers are doing their backs no favors, but if it is the only way that you can sleep then try to keep your pillow as flat as possible so that you aren’t giving yourself neck pain, and consider sliding a pillow under you hips to minimize the arch of your back.
  • Take your time when your alarm goes off in the morning and make sure that you are getting out of bed the right way. This entails rolling onto your side with your knees bent and then pushing yourself up into a sitting position with your legs swinging over the side of the bed and your feet hitting the floor, then pushing up to lift yourself out of bed. Reverse the procedure for getting into bed – sit down, support yourself with your hands and lie on your side.
  • Take a good look at your body and your weight and be honest with yourself. If you’ve carrying a few extra pounds then you are putting unnecessary stress on your spine and your joints, as well as causing yourself additional potential health problems. Start to eat more healthily and do some more exercise in order to lose the weight.
  • Moving around during the day is a great way to keep the blood flowing and avoid stiffness and pain. Doing so will make a big difference in the degree and extent of pain that you are likely to feel at night. It may be tempting to just sit still, but the more you move, the better you will feel.
  • Take calcium supplements to strengthen your bones, drink plenty of water to make sure that you are well hydrated, and make sure that you aren’t doing anything that makes your overall health suffer. If you are smoking then work hard to quit, as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has said that cigarette smokers have a much greater chance of experiencing lower back pain than do nonsmokers.
  • Don’t carry a heavy purse, backpack, laptop or briefcase. You may not realize that it is contributing to your pain, or can be the cause of it.
  • Try to remember when you purchased your mattress, and if it has been more than five to eight years, then consider investing in a new one. The American public tends to put off their mattress shopping because it is a big investment and can be an uncomfortable experience, but a mattress that is older than eight years is unlikely to be giving you the support that you need.
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