Sleep and Back Health: What’s the Connection?

Many people assume that back pain is brought on by specific causes such as a sudden injury, or by overstraining the muscles in the area. If you’ve ever experienced a bout of back pain without fully understanding the cause of it, there may be a more sublte reason why your back is causing you discomfort. For instance, your sleep habits may be impacting the health of your back and spine in a negative way. You would think that since sleep is what allows your body to rest, it couldn’t possibly be harmful to your health, but this isn’t necessarily the case. If you’re engaging in bad sleep habits, even if you don’t realize it, this could be making your back pain worse. The back pain you do feel may then end up making your sleep issues worse, and so a negative cycle begins. 

Best and Worst Sleep Habits For Improving Back Pain

If you want to avoid back pain caused by sleep issues, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure you’re actually getting enough sleep. When you’re deprived of sleep, your body has a much harder time taking care of itself. Inflammation may start to go unchecked in the soft tissues of the body, which can lead to swelling and pain in the back. When you’re combating back pain, you’re more tired throughout the day — but when you try to go to sleep at night, your back pain may prevent you from doing so. In this way, a negative cycle is born. 

Aim to always get between 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night, and be sure your sleep is undisturbed. If you find yourself waking up during the night, consider investing in a white noise machine or blackout curtains to see if this deepens your sleep. You’ll also want to make sure the position you’re sleeping in isn’t making your back pain worse. Avoid sleeping on your back or your stomach, as these positions strain the spine. Sleep on your side, and place a pillow between your legs if you think you may switch to one of the other positions during the night (the pillow will at least provide a little support for your body during the night). 

Finally, seeing a chiropractor can really help improve both aspects of your health. Studies have shown that chiropractic patients often report reduced instances of back pain and a better quality of sleep. 

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This article is made available for general, entertainment and educational purposes only. The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect those of The Joint Corp (or its franchisees and affiliates). You should always seek the advice of a licensed healthcare professional.