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Op-Ed: 5 ways to fight low back pain in bed

A study published last month considered the complex relationship between sleep disturbances and back pain. What you may not know is how one influences the other. Poor sleep and back pain are interrelated and without an intervention like routine chiropractic care, you can find yourself stuck in a vicious cycle that can impact your mood, ability to function and cause increasing levels of pain. Here are five ways to fight low back pain by making better sleep choices.

1 – Pick a better position
If you have low back pain, you may find yourself tossing and turning while you try to find a comfortable position, but you may be aggravating your symptoms. The absolute worst position for low back pain is sleeping on your stomach. Side and back sleeping are much better alternatives. Stomach sleeping requires you to rotate your neck to the side and thus puts your spine in a rotated position which aggravates existing back pain and can cause new or returned pain.

2 – Position yourself with pillows
Pillows are a great tool in your back pain fighting arsenal. Consider a full body pillow that you can prop your top knee on while side sleeping and that will raise your top arm and shoulder. The latest u-shaped pillows can position you comfortably so your spine is aligned and supported without having to fiddle with individual pillows. Otherwise, a pillow between your knees prevents spine rotation caused by your upper leg. Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees to reduce lumbar strain.

3 – Avoid prolonged time in bed
When your lower back is aching, getting out of bed can hurt. As a result, you may choose bed rest when the pain gets bad. In fact, bed rest is the enemy of most low back pain. Instead, get up and engage in some low impact exercise such as stretching, core strengthening and walking. Not only will moderate exercise release pain-relieving endorphins but can also reduce inflammation and muscle tension. Prolonged sitting also aggravates back pain. Get up once an hour and move your body around.

4 – Make healthier lifestyle choices
Excess body weight puts pressure on your spine which can compress your disks and leave you with an aching lumbar region. The greater the weight, the worse the damage. The good news is that losing even a moderate amount of weight can drastically improve your low back pain. Research has linked smoking to chronic back pain because it hampers blood flow and increases pain sensitivity. Both of these unhealthy lifestyle factors also impact your sleep and feed the sleep-pain cycle.

5 – Implement natural remedies
Consider exploring homeopathic approaches to better sleep and reduced back pain. Alternating hot and cold on your lower back can reduce inflammation and relieve sensitive nerves. Ice packs and a good quality heating pad are essential. Studies show that natural supplements such as Omega-3, glucosamine, MSM and bromelain can help low back pain. And chiropractic care has been shown to help prevent routine low back pain from becoming chronic. Try all these for better sleep and less pain.

Low back pain is not a normal condition of life and there are many alternatives to improve your lumbar discomfort without resorting to prescription painkillers or invasive surgery. Try these suggestions to improve your sleep and relieve back pain naturally.

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