*Nothing in this article constitutes medical advice. Seek the guidance of a physician if you have any questions.*
Chronic back pain plagues countless people around the world. Not only is there a good chance you or someone you know is dealing with chronic back pain right now, but it’s actually the most common form of “chronic pain”. While it most likely has a direct cause, it’s an issue that will undoubtedly affect almost every aspect of life for those who have it. For many, the cause of their chronic back pain can be from: poor health or dieting, labor or occupational requirements, or from muscle tissue problems. We rely on our backs for quite a lot, so it should come as no surprise that many issues can arise from them being overworked or unhealthy.
It should also come as no surprise that having any form of chronic pain, especially back pain, will greatly affect your sleep, and vice versa. Not only could it disrupt your sleeping routine but it could keep you from getting the deep, restful sleep your body needs to rejuvenate itself every day. In fact, sleep could actually contribute to your back pain, if left unaddressed. Before we discuss helpful tips and tricks let’s breakdown why exactly chronic back pain and poor sleep go hand-in-hand.
An unavoidable truth when it comes to chronic, consistent pain is that it inevitably takes a toll on someone’s entire life. Considering that sleep takes up roughly ⅓ of the average person’s life, it’s important that you do everything you can to keep your sleep restful and beneficial. There are numerous reasons why someone might be experiencing chronic back pain, with a wide range of causes and relevant disorders. Let’s discuss some of the major causes.
A very common issue that is almost inevitable with age. Stress or inflammation around one or more of your joints is enough to cause even minor issues, factor in multiple joints or vulnerable areas and it becomes a chronic and especially problematic form of swelling.
A rare disorder in which the bone becomes brittle or weak, leading to the development of painful fractures in the spine.
The most likely “culprit” when it comes to chronic pain is muscle strain, which can develop from anything as simple to a particularly difficult day of sports or from a difficult job or occupation. Having to rely on your muscles for strenuous labor is bound to cause any number of issues, especially in the lower back.
Another unavoidable truth is that sleep can and may exacerbate every one of those issues. If your sleeping pattern or position doesn’t address a particular difficulty you might have, you could simply be making it worse. By simply sleeping in an incorrect or unpreferable way, you could be leaving your body in a painful position for hours on end without noticing.
How To Get Restful, Pain-Free Sleep
Many studies have been taken to find whatever connection there might be between chronic pain and sleep. Another unfortunate truth is that poor sleep patterns can even lead to an increased sensitivity to pain, leaving you even more vulnerable or susceptible to it. In a very apposite way, the leading cause of Insomnia - which is a disorder that causes problems with falling and staying asleep - is chronic pain. One issue will eventually cause the other to worsen.
So how exactly do we avoid insomnia making your chronic pain worse, and vice versa? First of all, make sure to consult a physician for any persistent or chronic pain, only after you’ve seen an educated party will you be able to take the appropriate steps to solving your problem. If it turns out that your pain isn’t easily treated with medication or exercises, then here are a few tips and tricks to help you get a restful night sleep:
Don’t Slouch Or Contort Yourself In Uncomfortable Ways
We’ve all done it, turned and stretched in our sleep only to eventually wake up in an uncomfortable, and sometimes hilarious, position. The problem is that will eventually take a toll on your body. Help to promote good sleeping posture by using pillows under your knees if you sleep on your back or between your legs if you sleep on your side.
Avoid Muscle Strain From Occupational Hazards
While this might seem easier said than done, it’s important to address every possible cause of your chronic pain. If you lift anything on the regular basis you could be suffering from minor muscle strain. Using proper lifting techniques and avoiding strenuous activities could prevent damage or issues with your muscles, helping you to get the rest you need.
Beneficial Sleep Habits Will End This Repeating Cycle
One of the most proven methods of solving this seemingly never-ending cycle is to follow the simplest and easiest ways of getting a proper night of sleep. Exercising during the day, avoiding eating towards bedtime, and forming a regular sleeping routine will all help you to get the rest you seek. While they may not be able to solve your problem entirely, they can help you to get to a less painful and more restful state of mind.
Peaceful Bodies Lead To Peace Of Mind
It’s important to state again that if you have serious chronic back pain or insomnia, consult a physician. But for many who already know their issues or are suffering from mild aches and pains, sleep can still be more of an obstacle than a benefit - something that you try and get over with or struggle through. But there is help to be found! Like those above, there are many methods to help those suffering from chronic back pain. Alleviating the pain might not be a simple issue, but there are many simple tips and tricks that can lead to a less painful lifestyle.