By Chiropractor Catherine Quinn
What is going on when you just cannot get comfortable lying down? A nagging pain in your lower back is preventing you from finding a restful position to lie in – and depriving you of the recuperative sleep you sorely need.
Usually, back pain is not a serious condition, but people can still experience a great deal of pain as a result.
Let’s explore why you maybe experiencing lower back pain when lying down in the first place – and simple steps you can take to avoid it.
Why are you experiencing lower back pain when lying down?
If you are experiencing Lower Back Pain when lying down, the first and most important area to look at is your laying position – in particular if you are uncomfortable when lying in bed. Learning to sleep and lay down correctly is very important in stopping the onset of low back pain.
My first and most important point is DO NOT SLEEP ON YOUR FRONT!
Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve in the lower back and you will most likely hold your head turned to one side all night, which distorts the alignment of the vertebrae in your neck.
This position can also put large compressive forces on your heart and lungs, and also on the nerves, which will cause pins and needles when you wake up. I advise all of my patients to avoid this sleeping position, and having done it myself, fully appreciate how hard it can be to train yourself out of it!
Some of these positions may take time for your body to get used to; however, changing your positioning and supporting your back will pay off in the long term.
Side sleeping to avoid lower back pain
There are two main sleeping positions I would advise to patients: Side Sleeping and Back Sleeping. Sleep specialists recommend sleeping on your side as a way of reducing insomnia and having an undisturbed nights sleep.
The most comfortable way to do this is to have your knees and hips slightly bent. I find that placing a pillow in between your knees helps to reduce any twisting that may occur through the hips and lower back.
Another trick for those of you trying to change to this position from being a stomach sleeper is to place a thick pillow in front of and alongside your chest. This gives you the support you may miss in this area and acts to prevent you rolling over to your stomach.
Back sleeping to avoid lower back pain
Sleeping on your back is the next best position. If you prefer to sleep on your back, be aware that this may actually increase certain types of low back pain. People suffering from a disc injury in the lower back are most likely to find this position uncomfortable.
The positional alterations I would recommend for this position if you are in pain is to try placing a soft pillow or rolled up towel underneath your knees and under the natural curve in your lower back. This helps to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
A variation of this position that people experiencing high level of pain often find useful is the 90/90 position. This involves laying on your back with your knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, as if you were sitting in a chair. You should rest your lower legs on to a chair to rest into this position.
Invest in a good mattress
If you suffer from back pain, then you should invest in a good mattress and pillows, learn a supportive sleeping posture and take extra care to have a good sleep every night. Sleep can help to relax muscles and reset pain receptors, so that you wake up in the morning feeling pain-free.
Are you suffering lower back pain when lying down?
If you cannot find a comfortable position to lie down in, this is a sign that you should have your back assessed sooner rather than later. Night time back pain maybe a red flag to spinal health problems that with an early diagnosis, may save you from the onset of further pain or health issues.
If you are experiencing either:
- Nagging back pain that is constant no matter which lying position you are in
- A high level of back pain that is making life miserable
- Back pain that has lasted longer than 24 hours
Then it is important that you have this assessed by a health care professional. At the Waldegrave Clinic our team of chiropractors are able to effectively assess and diagnose your back pain. We have a fully equipped clinic with x-ray facilities and rehabilitation gym.
I work at the clinic on a Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday and would welcome meeting you and helping you to feel better.
To book an appointment please call 020 8943 2424 – our reception is open 8am – 7.45pm weekdays and 8am – 1.45pm Saturdays