Back Pain - Sleeping Tips
Read the transcript for this video:
Good morning! Happy Friday and welcome to your Weekly Cup of Joe. Yes, it is Friday. Normally Wednesdays are when I release this, but I'm a little bit late because of the holiday weekend or holiday week, last week. Hope you guys had a fantastic Thanksgiving. We're going to talk about back pain this week. We've had a lot of inquiries about just general back pain from the neck all the way down to the low back. And that’s where PT start at. We help people figure out where their back pains are coming from and then basically help devise a plan of action, including stretching and exercises that will help alleviate your pain and get you back and, being able to manage your day-to-day activities.
There are so many different causes of back pain. It can come from arthritis, or fractures, it can come from disc issues, it can just come from general posture or mechanical issues. And then, as I said, that's where PTs try to help you figure that out. So, one of the biggest things that we try to do at Physical Therapy Advantage is to empower our clients, to take ownership of their bodies again, and to start living. So hopefully that works with most people. So today I just wanted to talk a little bit about positioning and postures and more importantly sleeping. First and foremost is to take a look at your bed; they don't make beds and they don't just make anything like they used to, so beds don't last as long as they used to. So if your bed is greater than 10 years old, you may want to take a look at it. How much is there divot in there? Is it after you sleep? Does it come back up? Is it supporting you? Is it too soft? Those sorts of things. So you may want to take a look at how supportive your bed really is. Next, we're going to talk about some positioning things.
And, when you are sleeping if you're a side sleeper myself but you just want to think about keeping a good overall alignment. So if you happen to sleep on your side, you want to make sure that you're sleeping with the right type of pillow or the right amount of pillow, you want to keep your head in good alignment. You don't want to have too many pillows so your head is cocked up, and you don't want to sleep with no pillows or two few pillows and where your head is kind of cocked down. So you want to keep that head in good alignment. So you want to have enough proper support, so you keep that head in good alignment. That's one of the first things you want to look at. Next, I probably heard a lot of times is put a pillow between the knees. That's great because what helps is also that hip alignment and your back alignment, it takes stress off your low back.
If you happen to always cross your leg over, you're always torqueing and rotating. So that kind of help keep that low back alignment, so now your neck is in good alignment, and your low back is a good alignment. So hopefully that middle back will stay in a decent alignment. Another thing you can do is if your bed is really saggy and not giving you some support where it should be, you can take another small pillow or towel roll or something, and you can just put it right above your hip and right in that mid-back area, and just put that right there. You've got your pillow between your legs, you've got a small towel roll or blanket or a pillow there, and that's going to help keep that spinal alignment, or it may actually unload that right side.
So if the right side of your hip, I'm on my left side, now the right side of my low back is always compressed. It may open that side up a little bit, which is a good thing. So you may find that this is comfortable for you as well. If it happens to be that you're dealing with a neck issue, once again, you may want to try to find out if I'm laying on my back, I don't want to have my head too cranked up, so that may be too much of a pillow. So I want to make sure it's supported correctly. Sometimes people like to just put on a towel roll. So what they end up doing is we show them that you can roll up a hand towel. This one's a little thick, so I'm not going to a roll-up quite as far, but you put a hand towel down and you put a rubber hand around it, ponytail holder, scrunchie, whatever, a thick scrunchie of course, and you put it directly underneath your neck. So it goes right in your neck there, and you can lay down on your back there and that's sometimes enough support, so it supports that neck. Along with that, you may take a big pillow, or a small pillow; depending on what you need, and you put those pillows underneath your knees to help unload. You may need a little bit more, so you may have to put a little bit more cushion underneath there, or that's enough just to unload.
Those are all good tips. And of course, the caveat to that is you may start sleeping that way, and that feels good to start and be positioned and allows you to go to sleep and maybe sleep a little bit longer with less pain. So you sleep better. But as we know, we don't know what we do when we sleep. And we get all contorted in weird positions. So you may not end up being that way. You may wake up and like, oh, I need to reposition, so you may have to adjust yourself and reposition, and you're able to go back to sleep a little quicker. And once again, you're having less pain during the night, you're sleeping better. Pain is not waking you up and you're waking up with less pain. So those are all good things that happen. So just to think about some easy tips and pointers that you can try sleeping tonight. Another tip that would be is you can do stretching exercises before you go to bed. So taking 5, 10, and 15 minutes to do some general stretching exercises before we go to bed, we have found out that people sleep better, sleep with less pain and wake up in the morning with less stiffness, soreness, and achiness, or pains as well. And it just so happens to be that next week's cup of Joe is going to focus on showing you a few stretches that may help alleviate your back pain, help stretch you out, feel better, and also you can use at night to help sleep.
One other thing I wanted to remind you guys of is that on December 17th, Shay is doing a Back Pain Workshop; it's a free workshop. We’ll be in the clinic as well as I think we're going to do it virtually as well together. But the link for that will be below. So, if you want to click on that for the free back pain workshop, go and click and register for that. And just a quick reminder as well, that in the clinic, with the COVID cases going up nowadays, I want to let you know that we are trying to take everybody's safety into account. So we are doing screening questions and temperature checks when people walk in. We are having our clients sanitize or wash their hands’ pre and post their sessions. So just trying to take all safety precautions that we possibly can to make it, safe for everybody; for you guys especially, and for us that we're able to help as many people as we possibly can. So hope you found this very informative and beneficial for you this week, and we will see you next week for your Weekly Cup of Joe. Bye.