How to Relieve Lower Back Pain
Getting Good Night’s Sleep When Your Back Hurts
A good night’s sleep is imperative for keeping your mood up, fighting colds and a whole list of other things that will keep you healthy, fit and functioning. Unfortunately, lower back pain back can inhibit you from getting a solid night of sleep. The good news is that there are some things you can do to decrease pain and increase the likelihood of getting eight hours of slumber.
Sleeping Positions to Straighten Your Spine
Proper posture. We’re constantly reminded to keep our shoulders back and our head up while you walk, sit at your desk or drive your car. Good posture also applies to laying in your bed. There are certain adjustments you can make to ensure your sleep position is putting your spine in proper alignment. For example, side sleepers should keep their knees slightly bent; this keeps you from putting a little sway in your back. Those who prefer to sleep on their back should keep a pillow under their knees allowing the back to comfortably rest. Stomach sleepers should use a soft pillow so their neck stays in alignment with their spine.
Bedding That Supports Your Back
The correct sleeping posture is a good first step but needs to be supported with the proper bedding. A firm mattress generally provides more support while a softer one may allow your spine fall out of alignment.
Whether your mattress is soft or firm, it’s important to make sure that your pillow provides the best support for how you sleep. Not all pillows are made the same so it’s important to understand how a pillow is constructed and what type is best for you. For example, the Nook™ has a divot in middle to cradle your head and support your neck, which may be more beneficial for back-sleepers than for stomach-sleepers. To learn more about the various types of pillow construction, read this article.
Release Back Tension Through Stretching
Did you know that regular stretching is just as important as regular exercise? So, stretch it out! A good stretch or two might be just what you need to relieve low back pain.
It’s possible that your lower back pain may be coming from tight hamstrings. Try this stretch — lie down on your back, pull your knees to your chest, then raise one leg so your the bottom of your foot is facing the ceiling. Use your arms to pull your leg towards your nose. Don’t go any further than is comfortable and remember to keep your head on the floor as not to strain your neck.
The second stretch is a gentle twist. Again, lie down on your back, but this time leave your feet on the floor. Slowly take both knees to the right and then back through center and over to the left. Repeat. The key to proper stretching is to go slow and breathe. Never stretch deeper than what is comfortable. It should be a feel-good activity.
Yoga Exercises to Relax and Strengthen Your Back
When simple stretches don’t relieve tension, try yoga. Here are two simple poses. Like with all exercise, move with caution and awareness of your individual capabilities. If you’re not flexible, go slow, and remember to breathe. Never push it beyond feeling good.
- Child’s Pose. Kneel on the floor, touching your big toes together behind you and move your knees about hip’s distance apart. Bend down as far as you can, until your chest is between your legs. Place your arms behind you so your hands are beside your ankles, palms up. Hold for about 30 seconds or as long as you feel comfortable.
- Cobra Pose. While still in Child’s Pose, bring your arms out in front of you. Pull your body forward and push up with your arms, stretching your chest and arching your back. Hold this position and feel the stretch in your lower body. Repeat until you feel the tension release.
We hope that these simple tips can help you relieve some back pain. Remember to keep your stress down and breathe deeply in transition to a deep sleep. Hopefully this combination of approaches will lead to better sleep and a healthier life.