After years of having back pain, I thought I’d share some of my top tips for sleeping well with a bad back. Hypermobility has meant that think I am moving comfortably but in reality, my bones and muscles are being put under strain due to my ligaments letting them stretch too far. An injury I sustained to my right shoulder/neck area over ten years ago means that regularly feel pain there, in my head, ribs and back. Sleeping well with a bad back and a bad neck has been a challenge but I finally feel I have discovered many ways that I can make my nights more comfortable.
Top Tips for Sleeping Well with a Bad Back
1. Getting the right mattress
I spent years on different mattresses that did not support my back properly. The shape of my body did not go well with my old mattresses. My hips and bottom were flat on the bed, which made my back arch up and put pressure on my legs. I started to get constant tingling in my fingers, like pins and needles, and felt like my back and neck pain was almost unbearable. After talking to my physiotherapist, she suggested that I needed a new mattress that was more suited to my body shape. She told me that this arching of my back had caused me to have trapped nerves in my ribs, which had caused the pain as well as the constant tingling in my fingers. The new mattress I chose was one that had memory foam so that the mattress could shape itself to my body. I have also looked into purchasing an adjustable bed, which would help a lot.
2. Regularly seeing a good physiotherapist
Following on from my last tip, I have found that having a good physiotherapist that I see when my back feels particularly bad (I can’t afford to see her more regularly than that at the moment), helps me to get a better night’s sleep. Sometimes my back, neck and ribs ‘stick’ and my movement is restricted so I need a little help in getting them moving again. This helps me to get a better night’s sleep.
3. Rolling up a towel to support your neck at night
I have tried several different types of pillow and so far have found very few that support my neck in the way that it needs to be supported. They work for a while then somehow they seem to change from their original shape or they are too firm for me, which makes my neck and back ache worse. I also find that I need different pillows, depending on how painful my neck and back are. A top tip is to use a normal pillow then roll up a bath towel and place it under your neck at night to support it. This has helped to relieve some of my pain and to help me to get a better night’s sleep. This is a simple solution and a cheaper alternative to all those pillows I’m now storing in my airing cupboard.
4. Sitting and standing with a good posture
Getting a good sleep at night with a bad back is often affected by my posture during the day. I slouch and do not sit properly to do my computer work. When I sit on a good, supportive chair and keep my posture in mind, I find the pain is not as bad. This helps me to get a better sleep in the evening. It is extremely difficult for me to stand and sit as I should because my back doesn’t naturally get into the right position. I do need to keep reminding myself throughout the day and the more I do it, the easier it gets.
5. Keep moving
When my joints cease up, I find myself not daring to move. The consequence of this is that I am then in more pain. I find that if I keep moving and keep doing lots of little exercises during the day (my physiotherapist advised me on which were best for my particular needs), my joints don’t cease up or ‘stick’ as much. I make sure I do a lot of walking and don’t sit in the same position for too long when working on the laptop or watching the television. If my neck or back is sore at bedtime, I lay flat on my back, with the towel under my neck to support it. Moving my neck slowly and gently, with my hands to support my head if necessary, does help to release the pain in my neck.
Overall, I think that some of the activities I do during the day can affect how well I will sleep during that night. A good physiotherapist and a supportive mattress are the top things that help me to sleep well, even with a bad back.
What are your top tips for sleeping well with a bad back? Do you do any of the tips that I’ve written about?
Disclosure: This is a Collaborative Post with Adjustable Beds.