Sleep and Back Pain

Sleep and Low Back Pain

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.



The information provided in this blog by HSS and our affiliated physicians is for general informational and educational purposes, and should not be considered medical advice for any individual problem you may have. This information is not a substitute for the professional judgment of a qualified health care provider who is familiar with the unique facts about your condition and medical history. You should always consult your health care provider prior to starting any new treatment, or terminating or changing any ongoing treatment. Every post on this blog is the opinion of the author and may not reflect the official position of HSS. Please contact us if we can be helpful in answering any questions or to arrange for a visit or consult.

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