Statistics from the American Chiropractic Association says that back pain is the biggest culprit for disability around the world. Every year, 264 million days of work are missed due to back pain, which affects around 80 million people to some degree in the USA alone. About 80% of the world’s population will experience some kind of back pain at some point in their lives, which sounds pretty concerning. It’s also the third most common cause for doctor visits and can be caused by a variety of factors.
What Causes Back Pain?
Our back is a pretty fragile body part. It’s quite a complex system which can easily be thrown out of balance. In most cases, back pain comes as a result of injuries. However, many medical conditions can also trigger it. Back pain costs the USA $100 billion to treat every year, mostly due to the fact that it’s often recurring. Aside from medical conditions, fixable things such as improper posture can also lead to back pain.
Most of the time, people use painkillers and other drugs to subdue back pain. It never relieves the problem fully, however. Pills just subdue the symptoms which is why many people are looking for another solution. The bad news is that there aren’t too many. The good news is that your sleeping position can drastically help.
Detecting back pain is easy – you’ll feel it. Sometimes, it won’t be that sharp, but other times (MOST of the time), it’ll hurt like hell. Many scientists say that we can blame it on evolution for back pain. Maintaining skeletal health as bipods is pretty hard – our upright posture takes a toll on our back health. Bruce Latimer, a renowned anatomist and anthropologist says that only humans as species shatter vertebra. This doesn’t happen with animals because they walk on four legs. Additionally, the way we walk is another big problem for our backs. The swinging motion of our body doesn’t do our back any good. It essentially wears down the vertebra bit by bit, resulting in serious back pain.
What Can We Do About It?
Sleep in a better position. We’re not kidding! The posture we sleep in can either relax our back and help it heal or put unnecessary pressure on it.
Here are 5 sleeping postures that can help you treat different types of back pain:
Sleeping in the fetal position is recommended for people suffering from a foraminal hernia. It’s a painful condition that causes the disc space in the vertebra to narrow down, and sleeping in this position can relieve the pressure on the exposed nerve root.
Sleeping on Your Side with a Pillow Between Your Legs
Putting a light pillow between your knees when you sleep on the side will help your pelvis, hips, and spine align the right way. This position is especially helpful in cases of lower back pain. Just make sure to switch sides often in order to avoid spinal imbalance which can also be dangerous.
Sleeping on Your Back with a Pillow Under Your Knees
If you’re sleeping on your back, your body weight is properly distributed. The pillow will expand the spaces between the affected discs in your spine and take pressure off it. Sleeping on your back actually aligns your spine in a more natural way than any other sleeping position, but it’s not exactly ideal for snorers.
Sleeping on Your Stomach with a Pillow Under Your Belly
It may be a bit unusual, but sleeping in this position is great if you’re suffering from degenerative disc conditions. At the same time, it may stress your neck too much and raise the risk of back problems. If you’re at risk of degenerative disc diseases, we’d suggest against it.
Sleeping in a reclining posture allows a natural angle between the thigh and torso and relieve the pressure on your spine. Of course, you’ll need a reclining bed or recliner and you’ll have to find the right angle by yourself.
“Aligning” yourself the right way can significantly reduce back pain. Your ears, shoulders, and hips should form a 180-degree line (if possible). This will take unnecessary pressure off your spine and prevent back pain in the future.