Low back pain can affect not only the activities you do during the day, it can also prevent you from having a good night’s sleep. In some cases, low back pain is accompanied by an inflammatory process that can be more noticeable at night. The inactivity of your muscles and joints during the night can also increase the pain.
Positions which maintain your spine in good alignment can alleviate the symptoms:
- Laying on your side with a pillow between your legs
- Laying on your back with a pillow under the knees
You might already have difficulty sleeping before low back pain starts. Difficulty sleeping is a significant problem on its own, and it’s even more significant when you have a musculoskeletal problem. Studies have shown that our muscles and joints do a great deal of healing during the night. Inability to sleep can potentially delay your recovery from an episode of low back pain.
These tips can help you improve your sleep hygiene:
- Avoid using your phone/tablet while in bed
- Increase your level of activity
- Avoid heavy meals before bed
- Decrease your level of stress with techniques like meditation
- Decrease your daily intake of caffeine and alcohol
- Go to bed at the same time each night
Speak with a healthcare professional if you are concerned about your ability to sleep and how this can affect your recovery from a low back pain episode.
Héctor Lozada is the clinical supervisor at the HSS Onsite Physical Therapy and provides backstage physical therapy to performers of various Broadway musicals. He received a Bachelor degree from the University of Puerto Rico and a Doctorate in Physical Therapy from Boston University. He completed an orthopedic residency program at HSS and is a board-certified specialist in orthopedic physical therapy. Hector has practiced in New York City for the last 18 years.