Category: Back Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 28, 2019
As we’ve discussed on the blog in the past, back pain and sleep problems are two issues that feed off each other and make one another worse. If you have back pain, it can be difficult to get comfortable enough to fall asleep, and if you can’t get restorative sleep, your body may not be able to calm inflammation or flush out waste that contributes to spine pain.
If sleep issues are contributing to back pain, or vice versa, you need to tackle both problems simultaneously in order to break the cycle. In today’s blog, we share some tips for helping you treat your back pain and insomnia so you can break free from these cyclical problems.
Dual Treatments For Back Pain and Sleep Problems
Treating one issue won’t tackle the whole problem, so you need a multi-faceted approach. Here are some helpful treatment options to use in combination with one another:
- Exercise – Exercise is one of the best things we can do to combat both spine pain and sleep issues. Exercise helps to strengthen key muscles and calm inflammation in the spine. A good workout can also tire us out, making it easier for us to fall asleep. Just don’t exercise too close to when you head to bed for the night, because activity will increase your heart rate and provide a boost to your energy levels in the short term.
- Heat Pads – Heat pads can help to relax tense spinal muscles that may be contributing to pain, and they can help provide a warm and relaxing environment to fall asleep in. Just make sure the temperature is low and you have the pad set on a timer so it turns off in the event you fall asleep. Heat pads are a nice passive treatment, but also look to incorporate more active strategies as well.
- Avoiding Naps – Try to avoid napping throughout the day, as this can make it harder to fall asleep at the end of the day. Also, some people like to nap on sofas or chairs, which isn’t ideal for your spine as it can put uneven stress on different areas of your back. Avoid napping during the day.
- Consider Your Diet – What we put in our bodies throughout the day also impacts our spine and our ability to fall asleep. Consuming a lot of junk food can contribute to spinal inflammation and compression of important structures, and caffeine or alcohol can inhibit restorative sleep. Strive for healthy foods throughout the day, and stay hydrated with water to help improve your circulation.
- Check Your Mattress – How old is the bed you’re sleeping on? If it’s been a while since you changed your mattress, consider investing in a more supportive option that can help you fall asleep quicker. Head to a store and try out a few models to see which bed provides your spine with the most support.
- Stay Active – Aside from focused exercise, we’ve also found that it is important for patients with back and sleep issues to stay active throughout the day. If you’ve ever found that you’re wide awake when laying down for the night, it can be because you didn’t do much to stimulate your brain and tire your body throughout the day. We’re not saying you need to always be moving in your spare time, but partaking in activities that are physically or mentally engaging can help you fall asleep faster and improve your sleeping quality, which will help your spine.
For more tips, or for more hands-on treatment for your back pain or insomnia, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s clinic today.