Although some back pain arises from degenerative conditions, the majority of cases are due to the stress of everyday life. Its important that you mitigate this problem as much as possible by maintaining proper posture throughout your daily life. This is easy enough to keep track of during the day, but many people let their good daytime habits be ruined by improper sleeping practice. If you often wake in the morning with an aching back, consider the three tips below to correct your sleeping habits:
Use A Supportive Mattress
The rule of thumb to follow here is that the mattress should be as firm as you can handle. Mattresses that are too firm can cause discomfort on "pressure points" in your back; however, you should opt for a mattress that is both firm and comfortable as the extra support offered can do your back the world of good.
The reason for this is that you want your mattress to support your spine during your sleep. Memory foam mattresses and other soft variants may feel comfortable, but they don't offer the structural support your back needs to stay healthy. When you sleep, you want your spine to maintain its natural S-shape; if your mattress is too soft then it will allow your back to hold an unnatural position throughout the night.
If you're currently using a soft mattress, you may think that it is useful for relieving any aches and pains. This is true for a number of people; however, although it removes nagging aches, it doesn't act to correct the problem. The overall health and structure of your spine remains the same, and when you return to a vertical position the aches and pains will return.
Firm mattresses do act to correct the spine, by stopping it from creeping into a slouched position. Although this may be difficult to adjust to at first, you'll find that the support offered by the mattress will help your spine in the long run.
Use Towels In Place Of Pillows
This may seem way out of left-field, but using towels in place of pillows is a great way to correct your spine. The reason for this is that towels don't compress over time, meaning a constant level of support is offered to your spine. Of course, those will healthy spines will much prefer the comfort offered by pillows; however, towels can be a great way to correct any spinal misalignment you may have. There are a few reasons why towels could be the best option for you:
- They're readily available – no need to spend money on numerous pillows.
- You can easily change the height by adding more towels or folding the material, allowing you to alter the arrangement until the height suits you.
Using towels in place of pillows doesn't have to be a long-term solution; once your spine begins to correct itself you can swap them out for a small pillow. Ideally, the towels shouldn't be stacked too high, as you don't want to strain your neck during the night. A couple of towels folded and stacked should do the trick; however, you should experiment with this to get it just right.
Sleep In The Proper Position
Of course, there are no objectively right and wrong sleeping positions; however, there are some do's and don'ts when it comes to caring for your spine.
The first major problem many people have is sleeping on their stomach. Many people find this to be the most comfortable position, and they fall into the habit of sleeping this way night after night. However, sleeping on your stomach is the most unnatural position for your spine, and it can cause you significant problems over time. The reason for this is that when you sleep on your stomach, your head is turned to one side. This exerts a large amount of strain on the neck that it isn't designed to cope with, and it can cause your spine unnecessary strain.
The most natural way to sleep is on your back. This allows your spine to maintain its natural form throughout the night, and doesn't induce any additional stress on the body. Many people find this position uncomfortable at first; however, if combined with a firm mattress as discussed above, you'll never want to sleep another way again!
For more tips and information, contact a chiropractor.