Getting through the day with back pain can be tough, but when the pain revs up at night as you’re trying to sleep, it can be the last straw. It’s no surprise that the National Sleep Foundation reports that the majority of people who have chronic pain don’t sleep well.
So how can you get a good night’s sleep if back pain is keeping you awake? Discovering back pain relief that’s effective for you may take some trial and error. In some cases, it might be as simple as getting a new mattress, or adding or changing pillows so that you’re sleeping in a more comfortable position.
Find the Right Formula for Relief
Here are some ideas for getting better sleep with back pain:
- Try a body pillow. Physiotherapist and back pain expert Malton A. Schexneider, PT, MMSc, says that many people with back pain do well with a body pillow for support. “Use a body pillow, about 5 to 6 feet in length, but use it effectively,” he says. “Place it between your knees, allowing it to rest along your trunk so you’re in a semi-sidelined position.” This will take some pressure off your back.
- Use a bed pillow properly. “Pillows should be supporting the neck, not the shoulders, so no shoulders should be on the pillow,” says Schexneider. “Shoulders should be on the mattress.” He also recommends using a water pillow, which fills with about 5 quarts of water, instead of a traditional foam or feather-filled pillow.
- Take a mattress for a test ride. Schexneider recommends that people try out mattresses before buying. If they find a mattress they like, he recommends trying it for 30 to 45 days. “There are a number of stores that allow this now, unlike several years ago,” he says. Call around until you find a store that will work with you on this.