Many people wake up in the morning to a twinge or a stronger sensation of back pain. This can be because of the sleep period of decreased blood flow and soon after getting up and moving around, the pain subsides. It could be a little longer lasting ‘though, and it’s worth considering all the factors that could cause this pain. We all want to wake up feeling fresh, pain-free and full of energy, ready to take on the day. And there are small adjustments you can make to ensure that you are a morning warrior who wakes up ready to seize the day!
Morning back pain can affect anyone. Young, not-so-young, pregnant women, very active sportspeople, the more inactive. Ageing does play a significant part in the prevalence of back pain but it is entirely avoidable and treatable with a few small adjustments, especially to your sleeping environment.
The Best Beds for Back Pain
The mattress you sleep on could very well be the culprit of your back pain. It’s not something we think of often, but a new mattress could be just what the doctor would order to relieve your morning back pain. Mattresses older than around nine years should be given the boot.
Your mattress should allow for:
• Even weight distribution
• Good blood circulation
• Optimal spine alignment
• Sufficient air circulation for temperature control
• Individually pocketed spring systems – a partner’s restless sleep is then less likely to affect yours.
The base of the mattress has a role too. It needs to provide a sturdy and solid foundation for your hi-tech mattress and promote quality sleep and convenience if you want to move the bed around. Instead of a heavy, hard to manoeuvre chunk, opt for a base that is easy to set up, and easy to move around – a knock design is perfect!
The best pillows to avoid back pain
Ah, pillows. Just the word conjures up comfort and peace. But not all pillows are created equal when it comes to a great night’s sleep, and alignment to avoid back pain. Make sure your pillow is made of an anti-mite or anti-allergy fabric. Those who wake up feeling stuffy in the morning might very well have a very common allergy – dust mites. If you are hanging on to your old ‘n comfy pillows, you might want to upgrade to a contoured pillow that naturally aligns your spine into the perfect position and stops that back pain in its tracks.
The Best Sleeping Positions to Avoid Back Pain
The natural curve of the spine needs to be preserved for the most comfortable sleeping positions, and one of the best ways to avoid back pain in the morning. The best sleeping positions for spine health involve sleeping on your back or on your side with a pillow between your legs. Sleeping on the stomach is not the ideal position, but if that is what is comfortable for you, put a pillow under your pelvis or lower abdomen to support your back and take the pressure off.
How to relieve back pain – stretching
If you are still waking up with back pain, the best ways to relieve it are with stretches and movement, a hot bath and OTC painkillers if absolutely necessary. Some good stretches will get the blood flowing and the pain receding. Start by stretching immediately when you wake up, before even getting out of bed. Stretch your arms up as far as they will go, and stretch your legs and feet out in the opposite direction. Bring your knees up to your chest, hug them, and roll from side to side gently and slowly. This excellent stretch releases stiffness and inflammation very quickly.
One of the best ways to alleviate back pain is to cultivate the strength of your ‘core’ abdominal muscles. If your core muscles are strong, your spine takes a lot less strain. There are many ways to do this, but the quickest and most effective way is to ‘plank’ for as long as you can every day. It’s a deceptively simple exercise with amazing benefits! Pull out a towel or yoga mat and lie facedown on the floor. Come up onto your elbows and toes, while keeping your body in a straight line. Hold for as long as you – it will get longer each day! As you hold, crunch your abdominal muscles, thighs and glutes. The quickest way to get an uber-strong core. No gym required!
The best night-time routine to avoid back pain
If you do suffer from back pain, it’s best to make your sleep time as calm and pain-free as possible. Besides sleeping on an excellent mattress, in a good position for spine alignment and using a great pillow, make your sleep routine sacred. Go to bed at the same time every night, and use calming teas like chamomile or passionflower tea to ease you into a relaxed state that is conducive to the perfect night’s rest.
When to seek medical help for back pain
If you have found the best mattress, slept in the optimal positions and taken care of your night-time routine, and are still experiencing back pain over time, it’s wise to seek medical council. Call and visit your doctor if the back pain is:
– Constant and intense
– Spreads beyond your back and into your limbs
– Causes tingling or numbness in a limb
– Is suffered after a car crash, fall or major sports injury
– Is accompanied by a fever
Remember, a good night’s sleep in a comfortable environment is the best way to alleviate back pain.