Sleeping through the night is extremely important. We require 6-8 hours of sleep every night to allow our bodies and minds to rejuvenate. Unfortunately for some this is impossible, due to back pain throughout the sleeping process (also known as Nocturnal Back Pain). Waking up with excruciating back pain, or not being able to get comfortable in bed are common factors which can interrupt ones sleeping cycle. These factors can lead to sleep deprivation, which can affect ones daily living.
Back pain usually occurs on the lower part of the spine, also known as the lumbosacral area, due to the amount of pressure applied to it on a regular basis. For some sufferers, this pain is only present when lying in bed and not during the day. Some of the following conditions may play a role:
- Intervertebral disc degeneration
- Spinal stenosis
The above conditions are not limited to nocturnal back pain, but vary depending on the severity and the location of the condition. The reason why pain is only experienced during the night is yet to be discovered by professionals.
How to Get Rid of Nocturnal Lower Back Pain?
While some of the things that cause lower back pain cannot be avoided (such as disc degeneration), there are some measures that can be taken in order to decrease the discomfort it brings or avoid lower back pain altogether.
1. Supplements – Like other joints in the body, the spine is subject to arthritis and other conditions. Taking supplements can decrease joint and lower back pain. Supplements for joint pain include:
- Glucosamine/Chondroitin – Both substances are naturally found in the cartilage. Due to aging, these substances diminish. Some people that suffer from joint or lower back pain, report that taking this supplement decreased morning stiffness.
- Omega 3 Fatty Acids – The use of omega 3-fatty acid as a joint supplement has increased in popularity in the past few years. This substance can be found in fish such as salmon and tuna. Non-animal sources include flax seed and nuts. Omega 3 fatty acids have many benefits. One benefit is the decrease of joint inflammation.
Methylsulfonylmethane or MSM – Studies show that MSM decreases pain associated with osteoarthritis, without unwanted adverse effects.
2. Use of natural remedies – Some of the known natural remedies for joint pain and back pain are as follows:
Turmeric- Curcumin, a chemical that is abundant in turmeric, possesses anti-inflammatory properties. Several studies showed that turmeric helps decrease joint pain and inflammation.
- Capsaicin Cream – Capsaicin can be found in chili peppers. As with curcumin, capsaicin helps reduce inflammation based on some studies.
- Devil’s Claw – This native African herb has a number of benefits, including reducing lower back pain.
- Willow Bark – This herb is nature’s version of Aspirin. It not only helps reduce lower back and joint pain, but it also helps in alleviating pain in general.
Consultation with a family doctor is advised when planning to take any of the mentioned remedies and supplements for joint pain. Although some of them come from natural sources, they can counteract with other medications and may worsen existing medical conditions.
3. Acupuncture – Studies show there is very little evidence that acupuncture helps with back pain. However, acupuncture may be an option for people whose back pain is unresolved by typical treatment.
4. Spinal Manipulation – This includes procedures such as massage, chiropractic, physical therapy, and exercise. Trained health professionals apply a predetermined amount force to the spine in order to relieve pain.
5. Proper Positioning – Ideally, the spine should be in neutral position or in proper alignment while lying down. However, each condition is unique. What provides comfort to one person, may not work for another. Trying different sleeping positions is advised in order to find the least painful one. When sleeping on the side, it is best to use a pillow between the knees. This lessens the stress on the spine. Using a body pillow may also help in maintaining proper spine alignment. Placing a pillow under the knees when lying on the back also helps decrease joint compression. Lying on the stomach is the least advisable sleeping position, but some conditions require it. When this is the case, placing a pillow under the pelvis or abdomen keeps the spine in proper alignment.
6. Use of medication – Anti-inflammatory medications such Ibuprofen, Mefenamic acid, Naproxen sodium, Diclofenac sodium, and Celecoxib are commonly used medications for lower back and joint pain. Muscle relaxants such as Cyclobenzaprine and Diazepam are also used in some cases.
7. Hot Compress – Studies show that the application of a hot compress helps decrease lower back pain. The hot compress is applied in 15 to 20-minute intervals. Some people find it effective to alternate hot compress with cold compress.
8. Proper body mechanics – The use of proper body mechanics can help avoid back pain altogether. Bending from the knees instead of bending at the waist and using the muscles of the arms and the legs helps decrease stress on the back.
There are many options available in order to relieve nighttime back pain. Some of the ways can be applied in everyday life. If this is not possible, a family doctor or a specialist would be able to assist in exploring other options.