Secret Home Remedies for Sleeping with Low Back Pain

by Christina Lasich, MD Health Professional

Tossing and turning because of low back pain lately? Before you spend another sleepless night, try these secret home remedies for sleeping with low back pain.

Warm It Up: 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, hot tub or heating pad for 30 minutes will help to relax all of your muscles that have your back locked in a vise-like grip.

Stretch It Out: 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. When it's two in the morning and you cannot get comfortable, getting out of bed to stretch is worth the effort especially if you'll be able to fall asleep again.

Support It: Your sleep posture is critical and you need to support it. Of course, investing in a really good mattress is really important. I love my "Supreme Cloud". But even a simple pillow placed at strategic places can support you back enough for you to be able to rest comfortably. Everyone knows about placing a pillow between the knees, but did you know that side sleepers also need a pillow in front of the chest that can support the top arm. Otherwise that top arm can cause your back to twist as it reaches for the mattress. Even the slightest twist can accumulate into a lot of pain by morning.

Work It Out: During the night many of the core muscles are too relaxed to offer any support for the low back. In the middle of the night, you might want to wake those muscles up by doing a couple of your favorite exercises. You don't even have to get out of bed. 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 sound appealing at midnight, you never know if it will help unless you try it. I did, and it did help.

Even It Ou t: 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.

Hopefully, these secrets help you or someone you love sleep with low back pain. We all love to sleep, but those of us living with low back pain dread bedtime because the miserable pain will be in bed with us too.
Try something new for your back tonight like stretching, supporting, exercising or warming. Your reward may be a better night's sleep.

Christina Lasich, MD
Meet Our Writer
Christina Lasich, MD

Christina Lasich, M.D., wrote about chronic pain and osteoarthritis for HealthCentral. She is physiatrist in Grass Valley, California. She specializes in pain management and spine rehabilitation.