Feel like you’re stuck in an endless cycle of back pain and poor sleep? You’re not imagining it. Studies show that insomnia sufferers are nearly one-and-a-half times more likely to experience back pain than those who sleep well. But what might surprise you is that your bed, and how you sleep in it, could be the key to solving the problem.
So, how do you find a mattress that will relieve your pain and help you get the refreshing eight hours you need? Chiropractor and Chairman of WikiChiro Dr Stephen Press and sleep expert Dr Guy Meadows show you how…
How do I find the best mattress for back pain?
There are many different beds and mattresses that can help with back pain, but to find the right one for you and your needs, here are some of the questions you need to ask…
- What’s the cause of your back problems? Knowing the type of pain you experience – e.g. muscular, joint problems or a slipped disc – is important in identifying the right mattress for you.
- Is your bed suited to your needs? Sleeping on a mattress that isn’t fully supporting you can damage your spine health. Beds become less supportive over time, so if yours is eight or more years old, you should be thinking about replacing it.
- Are you looking for a mattress, or a complete new bed? If you’re buying a mattress only, don’t forget to check it will work with your existing frame. Take measurements with you when you’re shopping, so you know your new mattress will fit.
So, is a firm mattress the solution to my back problems?
Not necessarily. According to Dr Press, it all depends on what you naturally experience as most comfortable. To find the best bed for back pain for you, it’s time to bring in the experts. Our in-store SleepPro helps you to understand how different mattresses support your spine, and allow you to try some mattress styles for yourself to see what feels best.
Top tip: Share a bed with your other half? If it turns out you have differing comfort needs, don’t panic. Some of our mattresses offer different comfort ratings on each side, so you can both get the rest you need.
What’s the best sleeping position to ease back pain?
New bed and mattress sorted? Now it’s time to think about your sleep style. If your back pain doesn’t relate to a specific spinal problem, Dr Press advices it’s generally best to sleep on your back, with one pillow, to keep the spine relaxed. If your back pain leaves you struggling to sleep, place a couple of pillows under your knees. This relaxes the key muscles in the lower back and relieves the pressure on your spine, reducing the impact on your nerves (which can cause pain).
Can’t get comfortable on your back? If you must sleep on your side, add another pillow under your head. This will keep your neck straight and help to ease pain. The real no-no is sleeping on your front. You’ll spend the night with your head twisted to the right or left, and slightly flexed backwards – not a recommended position for good spine health.
Top tip: Struggling to adapt to your new sleep style? If all else fails, sew a tennis ball into the front of your nightshirt – the discomfort will soon stop you rolling over during the night!
Is there anything else I can do to ease my back pain and get a good night’s sleep?
- Dr Guy recommends applying alternating heat and cold to painful areas (ice packs and hot water bottles should do the trick) to help relieve the pain.
- Make sure you stretch regularly during the day, before bed, and even during the night – this is particularly useful for arthritic pain.
- If you can, exercise regularly to help maintain your mobility and eat a diet rich in anti-inflammatory foods (fish is a great source).
If nothing seems to improve your pain, make an appointment with your GP for a spinal check-up.
Kick start your way to a better (and pain free) sleep – visit one of our stores and try SleepPro. for yourself.