The Connection Between Sleep & Back Pain

Our spines have one of the most complex, beautiful, and confusing designs in the animal kingdom. They are in an S-curve that is in constant need of support in every body position imaginable. When we stand up and sit upright, gravity pushes down on our backs (or the top part of the S), which forces our back muscles to work hard to prevent hunching over. This constant battle causes back pain, especially when we neglect to sit in a chair with lumbar support while working at a computer or remember to check our posture while standing in line to pick up ibuprofen.

Gravity also works against our spines when we sleep, except we have no control over our bodies’ posture while we are unconscious. This means that, though sleeping is an essential aspect of a healthy lifestyle, it can also be the leading cause of back pain when we wake up.

Back pain is one of the most common and distressing orthopedic issues among adults, even those with excellent posture. One way to soothe or prevent back pain or other back problems in later life is to purchase the right mattress on which to sleep. There are many aspects of a mattress you should consider before buying one, especially if your main goal is back relief or back pain prevention, but the most crucial element is mattress firmness.

Let’s explore mattress firmness in more depth:

Too Firm

Think of your S-curve spine lying down horizontally on a hard surface. It isn’t too difficult to picture the gap between the mattress and your lower back. In this instance, your muscles are at rest everywhere except for your lower spine, which remains unsupported and working against gravity for those long night hours. The result is back pain and soreness when you wake up.

Too Soft

Picture yourself lying on your back on a giant marshmallow. Sounds comfy, right? Well, at the moment it may be, but, think about the position of your body: hips sunk in, legs higher than your hips, head lower than your neck, and no support anywhere. This scenario, when applied to the act of sleeping on a soft mattress, depicts a body position that has your joints out of alignment and back muscles struggling to support the spine. This position also leads to pain and soreness in your back.

As you can probably see, there is a connection between sleep and back pain. And the best mattress option is one with a medium, “Goldilocks” firmness that is “just right” for back support. Memory foam is good for back support because it allows your body to sink in like a soft mattress, but it conforms to the curve of your body and to all the other natural gaps your body creates. Unlike a marshmallow or a firm plank, memory foam pushes up into those spaces, providing support to all of those straining muscles.

You spend at least one third of your life sleeping, so why not get a mattress that keeps you comfortable and supported? As mentioned above, there are many aspects to consider when purchasing the right mattress for your back. For a few more suggestions on what to consider, watch this short video.

Dr. Kassar, the lead medical practitioner at Midwest Neurology Associates, hopes that you found this post instructive and helpful in your search for a mattress that can prevent or reduce back pain. If you are experiencing back pain, need the best infusion therapy in Dyer, IN, or the same quality infusion therapy in Lake County, IN, and want to speak to a specialist, schedule an appointment today!

Jenna Carlson

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