Back Pain after Sleeping

Most people have experienced back pain after sleeping. If you have back pain that continues throughout the day, the cause may be a structural issue with your spine and should be evaluated by your healthcare provider. However, if you have back pain only after sleeping that is relieved after you get out of bed, you probably have problems with your bed or your sleeping posture. Choose the optimal posture and bed as well massage your back properly to relieve the discomfort.

Causes of Back Pain after Sleeping

There are several possible causes of back pain after sleeping including:

1. Your mattress

A mattress that is too hard or too soft is the most common cause of back pain after sleeping. If your waist is narrower than your hips, a softer mattress will move with your pelvic weight providing greater support for the rest of your body. If your hips and waist are equal in size, a firmer mattress may be the perfect mattress for you. Contrary to public opinion, a hard mattress is rarely the right choice!

2. Your pillow

Your pillow must support your neck in a natural way. A pillow that is too soft or firm will not provide the support you need. Try replacing your pillow with a refillable water pillow or memory foam pillow. Work with your healthcare provider to select a pillow based on your normal sleeping position.

3. Your posture

One of the most common causes of back pain after sleeping is your sleeping posture. If you sleep very soundly without changing position very often during the night, your posture may be causing your pain. Sleeping on your stomach can stress your entire spine causing pain in any part of your back. Sleeping on your side or back may tilt your pelvis causing low back pain.

4. Other causes

Of course, your bed and position while sleeping may not be the primary cause of your back pain after sleeping. Your activity during the day may also make you prone to pain. For example, sitting for long periods or performing strenuous physical activity can put strain on the muscles leading to pain after sleeping. Most of these injuries can be relieved by rest, but if the pain is persistent, you should have your healthcare provider evaluate your back.

Remedies for Back Pain after Sleeping

Fortunately, there are some home remedies to cure the back pain after sleeping.

1. Seek better sleeping positions

Back pain that subsides after getting out of bed may be relieved by changing or improving your sleep posture.

  • Sleep on your side. If you are one of the majority of people who sleep on their sides, you know that your legs and hips are usually flexed. This position will result in strain to your lower back because your top leg is not supported and your spine will begin to rotate. Cure this problem by placing a pillow between your legs.

  • Sleep on your back. If you sleep on your back, the normal curve of your lower back is not supported. Try placing a pillow under your knees and a small towel under your lower back. Use a memory foam pillow under your head.

  • Sleep on your abdomen. Finally, if you sleep on your abdomen try to change your position to one of the other sleeping positions. If you continue to sleep on your abdomen, place a soft pillow under your abdomen and hips. Try sleeping without a pillow under your head.

2. Use comfortable mattresses

Switching your mattress is a more expensive remedy for back pain, but may often be the ultimate cure. Most people sleep the best on medium-firm mattresses. Be sure to try out the mattress before you buy it. If your mattress is old and sagging and you cannot afford a new mattress, try adding a memory foam mattress topper over your old mattress. You can also add plywood support between your mattress and box springs or frame.

3. Massage yourself before sleeping

Relax your muscles before bed by massaging your lower back. You can use a commercially available massaging roller or you can simply use a tennis ball to get at hard-to-reach spots.

4. Use pain relief cream

If massage helps but is not quite enough, try massaging in some pain relief cream before going to bed. Use a cream high in capsaicin to provide pain relief and healing.

5. Heat your back

For occasional back pain after sleeping, apply heat to your back to relax your muscles before you go to bed and when you get up in the morning. Do not leave a heating pad on all night since skin burns can occur.

6. Try Epsom salts and bath

A warm soak in a bath of Epsom salts may be helpful in relieving muscle strain. Try this one in the morning if you occasionally wake up with back pain.

7. Do planks

The plank is an exercise that is similar to but less taxing than a pushup. Lie flat on your stomach on the floor and push up on your elbows so only your forearms and toe are touching the floor. Holding your torso off the floor, tighten the muscles of your abdomen and hold it for as long as possible. As your muscle tone improves, you will be able to hold this position for over one minute. You will notice that problems with back pain may be less often and much less severe.

8. Avoid certain things

Certain things may lead you to toss and turn during the night increasing your chance of having a muscle spasm during the night. Try to avoid large meals and caffeinated drinks within 2 hours of bed. Alcohol may also cause you to stay awake.

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