Do you experience lower back pain after you wake up? If you do, you’re not alone. About 75% of all Americans experience back pain at least once in their lifetime. There are many possible causes of back pain, including diseases and postural problems. However, sometimes, it’s not as overt as that: something as simple as how you sleep can cause lower back pain.
What Is Lower Back Pain?
Your lower back has large bones in the spine called lumbar vertebrae. These bones connect to our hips, carrying much of your body’s weight and allowing various movements. As a result, your lower back experiences a lot of strain. Lower back pain may also be a symptom of an underlying illness, and pain from our arms, legs and other body parts may radiate to the lower back.
Lower back pain may feel like shooting, stabbing, or burning sensation. This pain may only occur at certain times of the day, such as when you sleep. The pain may also fluctuate in severity throughout the day. You may experience mild lower back pain to severe pain, which affects your daily life. It may suddenly occur or gradually become painful.
What Can Cause Lower Back Pain?
Lower back pain is not a condition in itself but a symptom of an underlying problem. Your doctor will carefully assess your pain by recording your medical history and ordering imaging and diagnostic tests. Problems in the muscles, bones, nerves or nearby organs may lead to back pain.
Your lifestyle factors may also put you at risk for back pain. Age, excess weight, smoking, a sedentary lifestyle, and diseases like cancer and arthritis are risk factors for back pain. Some medical conditions that lead to lower back pain include:
- Sprains and strains
- Traumatic injury
- Bone fracture
- Arthritis of the spine
- Spinal disc problems such as a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease
- Structural issues such as spinal stenosis or narrowing of the spinal canal
- Conditions such as spine tumors, kidney stones, and abdominal aortic aneurysm
In some cases, physical therapy may help alleviate or treat your lower back pain. However, the best solution is still to prevent it.
How Sleep Causes Lower Back Pain
Most of the time, lower back pain is a postural problem. We may strain our muscles and connective tissues in the back due to improper movement and posture. When we sleep, we unconsciously hold different positions for long
periods. How you sleep can cause lower back pain, depending on your posture.
Sleeping On Your Back
Lying on your back is the optimal sleeping position because your weight is even across the largest portion of your body. However, because the back is flat, it affects the natural curve of the spine.
When sleeping on your back, make sure to support your neck with an appropriately sized pillow. You may also use a rolled towel or small pillow to support your lower back and the back of your knee. When your neck or knee is in proper alignment, your spine will compensate, causing lower back pain.
Sleeping On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach may be comfortable for some people, but it can strain your back. It positions your neck awkwardly, particularly when you use a pillow. Lying face down can also create unnatural curves in your back.
When sleeping on your stomach, you may skip using a pillow for your head. You may put the pillow under your pelvis or abdomen to support your lower back. Try not to stay in this position for long, because it can cause pain in your lower back, upper back, and neck.
Some studies show that frequently sleeping on one side can cause lower back pain due to muscle imbalance. People with wide hips will have a more pronounced spine misalignment when sleeping sideways. Most of your weight will be on your shoulders and hips in this position. If you have an ill-fitting mattress and tend to sleep on your side, you are prone to lower back pain.
When sleeping sideways, make sure to alternate sides. You may also draw your knees slightly towards your chest and place a pillow between your legs. A full-length body pillow can also provide support to your arms.
Lower Back Pain Physical Therapy In Austin, TX
Sleep should be relaxing and help you recharge for the next day. A good night’s sleep in comfort can promote your overall health and well-being. You don’t have to let lower back pain interfere with your quality of life: sleep better by consulting our movement experts today. Our experienced therapy and wellness team will help you get back to work right away.
If you are looking for a physical therapy clinic in Texas, visit Endeavor Physical Therapy & Wellness. We have clinics in Austin, Manor, Bee Cave, Cedar Park, and Hutto. We can help you relieve lower back pain caused by inadequate sleeping positions. Visit us for physical therapy, hand therapy, dry needling, and worker’s compensation concerns. Contact us at (512) 284-7192 or fill out our online request form.