Daily Life

5 Ways to Sleep Better with Low Back Pain

Christina Lasich, MD May 31st, 2013 (updated Apr 22nd, 2016)
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Take a bath
Take a bath

Towards the end of a long day of being on your feet and getting things done, the muscles in the low back can become very tense. Easing the tension before you go to bed can greatly improve your chances of resting comfortably. A hot bath or heating pad for 30 minutes will help to relax all of your muscles. 

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Stretch
Stretch

Before, after and during the night, you might want to try to gently stretch your low back. Some people like to drape themselves over a large therapy ball, some people like to hang from a doorway; either way, you’ll want to find a comfortable way to decompress your spine. If you’re not sure, then ask your physical therapist.

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Support your back
Support your back

Your sleep posture is critical, and you need to support it. Of course, investing in a really good mattress is really important. But even a simple pillow placed at strategic places, such as between the knees or in front of the chest, can support you back enough for you to be able to rest comfortably.

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Strengthen your core
Strengthen your core

The abdominal wall muscles can be activated by the “marching” exercise while lying on your back. The back extensor and buttock muscle can be turned on by “flying” on your stomach. Even if exercise doesn’t always sound appealing (especially at night), you never know if it will help unless you try it. I did, and it did help.

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Switch sides of the bed
Switch sides of the bed

Those of us that sleep with partners know that we tend to sleep on one side rather than the other. If you are partial to one side, then you’ll need to try to even out the distribution of time you spend on one side versus the other. Just like cooking with a rotisserie, you want to wake up in the morning evenly done and not bent out of shape.