How To Sleep Better When You Have A Bad Back

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A client of ours sent us an email last week, expressing his thanks for enabling him to have the best night's sleep he'd had in several months. It's not unusual for people to come to us exhausted, following months - sometimes years - of surviving on very little sleep thanks to their back pain.

Sleep is vital for basic human function. It's the time when our body rests and repairs. If you have back pain, that rest and repair becomes even MORE important. Yet, as so many people with back pain will tell you, getting comfortable enough for a decent night's kip is easier said than done.

Try these strategies to help soothe you into a comfortable slumber the next time your back threatens to keep you up all night:

1. Find your position

This one is tricky as everyone has their own comfortable position, but often the position which aggravates backs the most is sleeping on your front.

In this position, your spine is in an unnatural position and unable to maintain it's natural curve, which subsequently puts pressure on your back muscles. 

If you sleep on your side, try placing a pillow in between your knees to stop your top leg sliding forward and rotating your spine.

If you sleep on your back, try a pillow under your knees or small rolled up towel in the small of your back to maintain the curve of your spine.

Keep in mind at all times the natural shape of your spine and trying to maintain that in your sleeping position. Which brings us on to:

2. Pillows

Too many or too little and you'll have an unnatural curve in your neck. Choose a thickness which keeps your head and neck in alignment with your spine.

3. Warm bath

The warmth of the water will help relax your muscles. If you're feeling stiff and tense, or your muscles are in spasm, this is the ideal way to encourage your body to relax as you prepare for slumber.

You'll also experience the added mental benefits of helping relax your mind at the same time as warm baths can trigger the production of melatonin, the sleep hormone.

Salt baths are proven to reduce inflammation so using Epsom salts or magnesium in the water may also help.

4. Mattress

Getting the right amount of support is vital, and investing in a decent mattress should be a priority if you have back pain. 

In terms of the support, ultimately, there is no one type of mattress which is best for all back pain, so you should choose one with the right level of support for you, whilst maintaining the comfort you need for a good night's sleep.

Choose a mattress which supports your back and helps maintain the alignment of your spine, without sagging in the middle, for example. One study found that medium-firm mattresses usually provide more back pain relief than firm mattresses. One which is too firm may cause pressure points on your shoulders and hips, so find one where your shoulders and hips can naturally sink in slightly.

We help people sleep better and wake up without back pain.

To receive your FREE consultation, where you'll receive a full assessment of your back pain and learn how to get rid of your back pain for good, click the button below now to register and we'll be in touch to book you in.

How To Ease Back Pain At Home

If your back ever 'goes', you'd like to think that it was from doing something heroic, right? Something you can impress your mates with as you regale your story of courage and bravery.

Take it from someone who did their back in by picking up a piece of Lego, 9 times out of 10 people experience that terrifying locking-up from doing something slightly less bold. Think taking the washing out of the machine, closing the car door, or sneezing. Wave goodbye to your bragging rights.

The good news is that 90% of people who experience back pain will recover within 6 weeks. The aim of this stage is to stay comfortable, manage your pain and avoid making the problem worse as you recover.

If you are unlucky enough to seize up next time you pick up a pencil (really) then follow these tips for some self-care which you can do at home.

1. Don't panic

I get it, this is easier said than done but when your back seizes up, the muscles are in spasm. The more tense you are, the less likely this spasm is to ease. Be reassured by the fact that there's a 90% chance you'll recover in a few weeks and try to relax as much as you can.

2. Rest for the first hour

Try and find a comfortable position when your back first locks up. To help the muscles ease, rest in this position for about an hour.

3. Take short walks

Movement is highly beneficial for back pain. When you move, your joints release a fluid which helps lubricate them. If your spine is locked up, the release of this fluid with help you move more freely and feel less stiff. In addition, your muscles will loosen off, and you'll be helping your core muscles activate (more of that a bit later)

I get that in the initial stages, walking may be pretty uncomfortable so take it in baby steps, just walking around the house for 5-10 mins at a time at first.

4. Take Ibuprofen

Ibuprofen is both a pain-reliever and an anti-inflammatory so it can help with pain and reducing any inflammation caused by your injury. Short-term it may provide relief.

5. Keep warm

Heat therapy can work wonders on muscle spasms by increasing circulation, helping you to relax and by decreasing pain transmitters to your brain. Take a warm bath or shower or use a heat pack or hot water bottle on your low back.

6. Activate your core

You know how when you have a bad leg, you limp as your body tries to compensate and use the stronger muscles instead of the injured ones? The same can happen with back pain. Your body will try and protect your back by moving differently (which you probably won't notice, it's very sneaky) and not using the muscles which you need to keep your back strong.

The danger in the first 6 weeks is that your back and core muscles will weaken, which then leads to a longer-term problem and leaves to vulnerable to injury. Override this by consciously activating your core every time you move, lift and bend to maintain your strength and protect your back.

7. Keep moving

And avoid long periods of time sat down. As I mentioned before, your body needs to move to avoid seizing up so over the course of your episode, stay as mobile as you can. Take frequent breaks from your desk if you're office-bound and try and fit in a daily walk, or some gentle exercise. Which leads nicely on to...

8. Gentle core exercise and stretches

We have an easy 10-minute routine on our YouTube channel which is ideal for people with back pain, as is yoga or pilates. You can also try some of these simple stretches for back pain. Try and avoid sit-ups, as they won't work your deep core muscles and may put extra strain on your back.

9. Avoid bending & twisting 

Your back is at it's weakest when it's bending and twisting at the same time. Often that's the movement you were doing when it went in the first place. When putting washing in the machine, kneel down before you twist, and if you're picking something up, position yourself so you don't have to twist as you do so.

We work with people both in the initial stage of back pain and to help people get stronger and back to doing the things they love if their pain lasts longer than 6 weeks.

If you are experiencing an attack, our team can help ease your pain, get you moving freely and guide you through an exercise programme safely to avoid your problem becoming long-term. Click the button below to register today for a free consultation to see if we can help.

Our 5 Best Bits of Kit For Core Training

Our 5 Best Bits of Kit For Core Training

One of the things we love the most about core training is that you can do it anywhere with just your bodyweight, making it perfect to do at home. And it's free, which lets face it, is always a winner.

What if we told you though, that you can challenge your core further whilst increasing your stability and balance at the same time, as well as strengthening more of the deeper core and back muscles AND make it a fun workout? 

Sounds good, right? By using some simple pieces of equipment, we'll show you how to switch up your core training to accelerate your results. All are perfect if you have back pain and will help you get stronger, move more easily and reduce your pain.

Mistakes People Make When Lifting Weights

Mistakes People Make When Lifting Weights

We all know by now that strength training is good, right? It’s great for boosting metabolism, maintaining a strong core and increasing bone density, amongst many other reasons.

We do, however, get some people coming through our door who started with all the right intentions but ended up doing more harm than good though lifting weights. Here’s our short guide to what to avoid the next time you hit the gym to make sure you’re getting the best from your workout.

3 Simple Stretches for Back Pain

3 Simple Stretches for Back Pain

If you've ever had back pain, you may be familiar with that 'rusty hinge' feeling. You know when you feel as if your muscles are conspiring against you to stiffen you up and not let you bend Further than a few degrees? Or when the thought of being stretched on one of those medieval racks becomes ever more enticing.

Finding the right stretch to to ease this stiffness can be tricky, you end up contorting your body into all kinds of weird and wonderful positions just to find the sweet spot.

Here are a few of our favourites which we recommend to clients (and use ourselves) This combination of exercises will help stretch out your back, but also the muscles of your legs and hips which, if tight, can contribute to back pain.

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Walking More

5 Reasons Why You Should Be Walking More

Often, when people decide to embark on an exercise regime, whether for fitness, fat loss or rehabilitation, the first place they think of going is the gym (or pool, or their bike but you get the idea – sweaty exercise, grr). However, there is one form of exercise which is often overlooked in favour of its higher-octane counterparts.

Yep, I’m talking about walking. We do it pretty much every day without thinking about it, but it could hold the secret to achieving your health goals, and here are 5 reasons we should do more of it:

5 Ways to Be Healthier This Week

5 Ways to Be Healthier This Week

I’ve long been an advocate of the ‘baby steps’ approach to health and fitness. Unless you are super-motivated and have cast-iron willpower, overhauling your diet or exercise regime will probably give you 2 weeks or so of smug, but I can almost guarantee that soon you’ll be right back where you started, possibly even a few steps behind, back on the ‘quit and start over’ train.

So, what to do – you want to improve your health, but where do you start? Try making smaller changes which don’t dramatically change your life to start off with. These 5 things will help you make the first steps. Bit by bit, you can implement tiny changes and before you know it you’ll be in the smug-zone for good, without feeling like you’ve sacrificed your life to get there.

Life Hacks to Beat Back Pain

Life Hacks to Beat Back Pain

k, we’ve all been there. You visit your back-pain professional, skip off with your list of exercises to do at home and what happens next is common of probably 90% of clients. Yep, that’s right, the list stays stuck to the fridge/pinned to the notice board/shoved at the bottom of a bag never to be looked at again.

And we get it, we’re busy folk. With all those balls we have to juggle, it’s amazing we remember to brush our teeth every day, let alone spend 10 minutes stretching, rolling and bending our body into unnatural positions.

So, when we work with clients on our programmes, we incorporate exercises into their daily lives, so they don’t have to take time out to do their homework and can strengthen their core whilst going about their business. Exercise without thinking about it – sounds good, right?

Try working these 5 simple hacks into your life to strengthen your core and reduce back pain

How to Improve Your Posture

How to Improve Your Posture

Good posture is about more than keeping a straight back. It’s about reducing the strain on your body and placing it in a position which places the least stress on your muscles, joints and ligaments. It’s not just about how you stand either, it’s about things like your driving position, how you hold yourself when you walk and how you position yourself when you’re working.

Because of imbalances in our body when we’re not holding ourselves correctly, we tend to fall into a cycle of pain-poor posture-worse pain-worse posture, which is why it’s important to nip it in the bud and reduce posture-related pain from the outset.

So, what is ‘good posture’?

5 Ways to Relieve Back Pain

5 Ways to Relieve Back Pain

2 years ago, I did my back in. Ironic, right, given that I co-own a studio where we help people reduce back pain?

It happened because my core weakened after having babies and I stopped doing enough strength work to protect myself over a very busy few months in my life. In my case, I was very lucky as I’m surrounded by expert back-fixers so was back on my feet (literally) in no time and now am very strict with my core work.

It made me appreciate the pain – no pun intended – of your back going though. From having to ease myself out of bed and taking about 2 minutes to actually get up, to not being able to put my socks and shoes on myself – my kids LOVED me for that.

If it happens to you and you get struck down with back pain – however severe – there are several things you can do to help yourself: