Nighttime back pain is a special type of lower back pain that affects a small percentage of people. Nighttime back pain, or nocturnal back pain, is when lower back pain doesn’t stop even when a person is laying down. No matter what adjustments a person makes, the pain keeps getting worse.
So what causes nighttime back pain?
First, disc degeneration. Discs are the tissues between your vertebrae that function as a shock absorber. As we age, the discs break down. Also, previous injuries can cause nocturnal pain. And finally, a few diseases and conditions have been known to cause nighttime back pain: scoliosis, kidney stones, pregnancy, endometriosis, and arthritis.
Tips to reduce nighttime back pain:
1. Sleep on a firm mattress. The hardness of your mattress can make a world of a difference for your back.
2. Get good pillows! A memory foam pillow is ideal for neck support, because it takes some of the pressure off your spinal column.
3. Better sleeping positions. If you’re sleeping on your side, put a pillow in between your legs (as mentioned before) as the pillow will give support to that top leg, which helps support the spine. If you sleep on your back, put a pillow under your knees or a rolled up towel under your lower back. This gives the natural curve of your back more support. If you sleep on your stomach, try adding a small pillow under your hips to give your back support and reduce any hip pain.
4. Soak in a bath with Epsom salts. Epsom salts are a super cheap alternative to all those fancy bath salts. You can find them at your local drug store or grocery store. Adding just a cup to your hot bath will help soothe any sore muscles. The bath also relaxes you before you go to sleep.
You don’t have to live (or sleep) with nocturnal back pain. Try one or all these remedies, and if the problem still persists, contact us to make an appointment with one of our board certified and fellowship trained spine surgeons to discuss conservative care treatment options.