Could Your Sleep Time Be Putting Your Back At Risk

london female waking up with backacheAs an experienced London chiropractor many of the clients that visit my chiropractic clinic suffer from lower back pain when they wake up in the morning.  This is often caused by their sleeping position or the poor quality of their mattress.  However, morning back pain can also be associated with how long a person sleeps each night.

There is a growing body of evidence to suggest that sleep duration has an impact on the health of the spine — with too much or too little sleep potentially causing back pain.  This post will share some more information about the importance of sleep and how it relates to back pain.  I’ll also identify a few other common causes of morning back pain.

What happens when you sleep

Your body will perform several important biological processes when you sleep, including:

  • Regeneration of tissue
  • The production of important hormones
  • Formation of neuronal connections in the brain
  • The production of compounds that reduce inflammation in the body
  • Replenishment of energy reserves

Sleep also gives your spine time to recuperate from the previous day’s activities.  It also helps the spine decompress after many hours of sitting, running, walking, and lifting objects.  Failure to get enough sleep will mean your spine doesn’t have time to fully regenerate.  However, there is also some risk associated with getting too much sleep. 

How oversleeping affects the spine

Sleep is important for maintaining good health — but it is possible to get too much of a good thing.  Researchers have discovered that oversleeping is linked to several chronic health conditions including heart disease, depression, and diabetes.

There is also some evidence to suggest that people who oversleep are more likely to experience back pain.  There are several possible reasons why this occurs:

  • A bad mattress
    If you oversleep on a bad mattress, your body will be exposed to uncomfortable sleeping conditions for a longer period. This can affect the natural curve of your spine and lead to back pain.
  • Muscle fatigue
    Laying on your back for long periods can cause the muscles that support the normal curvature of your back to become fatigued. When you wake up with muscle fatigue, you will experience tight muscles and back pain.
  • Poor sleeping position
    When you oversleep, the likelihood of spending time in an awkward sleeping position is increased, increasing the likelihood that you will experience back pain. 

If you experience back pain after sleep for more than 8 hours, consider shortening your time in bed to see if it reduces your back pain. 

How insufficient sleep affects the spine

At the other end of the scale, insufficient sleep can also lead to back pain.  The most common reasons why this occurs include: 

  • Muscles do not have time to recuperate
    Failure to get enough sleep can mean that your muscles don’t have sufficient time to recover from the day’s activities. This can lead to muscle stiffness and back pain.
  • Poor sleep causes higher inflammation levels
    A lack of sleep can mean that your body does not have time to produce essential anti-inflammatory compounds. This can worsen back pain, particularly if it is associated with tissue inflammation.
  • The brain feels more pain
    Several studies have linked sleep deprivation with chronic pain. Researchers believe that a lack of sleep causes certain parts of the brain to be more receptive to pain signals.  This can cause you to notice your back pain much more than normal. 

Other common causes of morning back pain

If you believe that you are getting the right amount of sleep, your morning back pain may be the result of another issue like: 

Stress
Stress can cause muscular tension and back pain.  Reduce your stress levels by eating a healthy diet, exercising, meditating, listening to music, spending time outdoors, and spending more time with loved ones. 

A sedentary lifestyle

If you spend a lot of time sitting each day, it can compress your lower back and cause back pain.  The pain from spinal compression is often felt first thing in the morning after you have been lying down all night.  The best solution for this issue is to stand more often during the day and exercise more often.  Standing desks are a great way to stand while at work.

Poor diet

A poor quality diet can reduce the amount of blood that circulates around your spine and impair the body’s ability to repair injuries.  The simplest solution to this issue is to incorporate a lot more fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, complex carbohydrates, and lean protein into your diet.  Also, reduce or eliminate your intake of sugar, alcohol, caffeine and tobacco.

Lack of exercise

Failing to get enough exercise will result in stiffness that can lead to back pain upon waking.  Incorporating more exercise into your lifestyle including walking, bike rides, and swimming can help deal with this issue.

An old or low-quality mattress

Many people “solider on” with a low quality mattress for many years.  Unfortunately, this can damage the health of your spine.  If your mattress is a few years old or in poor condition, consider upgrading to a high-quality mattress that provides your back with plenty of support.

How our London chiropractors at MotionBack Chiropractic Clinic can help

Chiropractic care can be used to identify and remedy common musculoskeletal issues that cause back pain.  Our chiropractors can help you identify the root cause of any back pain you are experiencing and devise a treatment plan to address it.  For more information contact our clinic clinic today.

 

Take your first step to better health and get in touch today.

The Team at MotionBack Chiropractic

The Leading Central London Chiropractors
Serving Holborn, High Holborn, Chancery Lane, Covent Garden and Kings Cross

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