“There is not a lot of science behind sleep as a major cause of back pain,” states Santhosh Thomas, DO, a spine specialist with the Cleveland Clinic and associate medical director of the Richard E. Jacobs Medical Center in Avon, Ohio. However, experts do claim that individuals with sleep problems experience more complications regarding back pain. According to the National Sleep Foundation, pain in turn can affect the quality of an individual’s sleep, leading to a lighter sleep state and more frequent waking throughout the night.
Sleeping on your stomach is one of the most common sleep position which can aggravate back pain. “Typically, sleeping on your stomach can flatten the natural curve of the spine, putting some additional strain on your back muscles,” Santhosh Thomas said. “Plus, stomach sleeping means that your neck is rotated, which can actually result in back pain between the shoulders,” added Paul Grous, MSPT, a physical therapist and spine specialist with Good Sheppard Penn Partners in greater Philadelphia.
While several sleep positions can create back complications, the source of many individuals’ back pain and symptoms is frequently caused by their daily activities or a lack of it. It is believed that the biggest factor contributing to the development of back complications among the general population is the amount of time people spend sitting during their waking hours in an improper posture. Sitting for extended periods of time behind a desk in a slouched posture with a rounded back can strain as well as increase the pressure on the structures surrounding the spine. During daylight hours, its essential to stand, walk, or stretch as often as possible and practice good posture when standing and sitting to help ease back pain at night.
For individuals suffering from back pain, getting a good night’s rest can often be a challenge. However, some people report feeling relief from the strain on their aching backs after sleeping in specific positions. Often misunderstood, it’s strongly believed that certain forms of back pain can be associated with sleep complications, including an improper sleeping posture. For more information, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at (915) 850-0900.