There are various kinds of back pain that one may suffer from. One of those is night time back pain, which is quite common. You will find that it occurs when you are sleeping or while you are lying in bed. A large number of people visit their general physicians complaining of severe lower back pain, and in many cases, it may prove to be debilitating as well. It is often difficult to get a good night’s rest with this pain, and it may have an effect on your overall health as well.
To a large extent, this form of upper back pain or others is manageable with the right kind of rest, posture change and exercise. The difference may be seen in a few weeks.
What is Nocturnal Back Pain?
The name nocturnal back pain comes from the fact that this occurs largely at night. You may be without pain the entire day and find that as soon as you lie down, your middle back pain kicks in and gets worse through the night. It could also occur in other parts of your back. You may try to make a few adjustments to your posture to correct this, and they may work, but for a large number of people, the intensity of the pain may only increase. There have been studies conducted, which show that a sizable percentage of people are even woken up multiple times from their sleep because of the pain they feel between their shoulder blades and back.
What are the possible causes for Nocturnal Pain?
Just as with back pain in general, there is no real understanding of what causes back pain at night. However, the following reasons are believed to contribute to the causes on whole:
Degeneration of the body
- You may suffer from mechanical issues with the movement of your spine. This often happens with age and with degeneration of the discs.
- It could also be a result of injuries that you suffer from – like sprains and fractures, which then degenerate into back pain.
- You may be suffering from an illness like scoliosis or the curving of the spine or a condition where the spinal column becomes narrow. Arthritis could also be a cause.
- The presence of kidney stones or having endometriosis during pregnancy can also lead to night time back pain.
The kind of mattress you sleep on: The hardness of your mattress can make a world of difference to your back. If you have hips that are broader than your waist, then you will need to sleep on a soft mattress. This helps to move your pelvic weight in such a way that it provides the ideal amount of support for your body.
If you have equally proportioned hips and weight, then you may need a firmer mattress. The hard mattress, as is commonly believed is never a good option to prevent pain.
Your choice in pillows: The idea of using a pillow is for it to support and prevent neck pain in the most natural way possible. A very soft pillow or a hard one will not do the job ideally. A water pillow or one made of memory foam is ideal as it provides your neck support without putting pressure on your spinal column. A medical professional will be able to help you select the right one.
Your posture: This is something our mothers remind us about all the time. Our posture dictates how comfortable our body is. If you sleep right through the night without changing positions at least a few times, you may end up with back pain. Sleeping on your stomach is one of the key reasons why you may suffer from pain – it puts a lot of pressure on your spinal column. Sleeping on a certain side or completely on your back will, unfortunately, help tilt your pelvis, and this is what causes the pain.
There may be a few other causes such as:
- The kind of activities you indulge in during the day may place stress on your back and chest, and this can cause back ache.
- Sitting for long periods of time or indulging in strenuous physical activities will also cause problems.
- If you do not get adequate rest to heal after certain injuries, then you may complicate them and end up being in pain.
Signs of Something Worse
Nocturnal back pain may sometimes be a sign of something more complex. It may be the initial symptom of a spinal tumor or possible cancers. It may also be a sign of an infection of the spine or spondylitis, where bone is fused together prohibiting free movement. If accompanied by any of these other symptoms, then you should seek out immediate medical help:
- Stiffness and pain radiating down your legs and leg pain
- Weakness or tingling sensation in the legs
- Issues with bowel and bladder control
- Throbbing pain in the stomach region
- Unexplained fevers
- Sudden weight gain
- Family history of cancer, immune system trouble or trauma
A few remedies you may try for your back pain at night are:
Better sleeping positions: Often, simply altering the way you sleep is enough to give you relief from the back pain when you get up and even when you go to bed. Try some of these positions
- Sleeping on your side: This means that your legs and your hips are in the flexed position. This puts a considerable amount of strain on your back, as your top leg does not get support and your spine begins to curve to help it. If you must sleep in this position, then put a pillow between your legs to solve the problem.
- Sleep on back: For those of you who sleep on your back, the natural curve of your back often does not get the support it needs. The best thing to do is use a pillow under your knees or a rolled up towel under your lower back. A memory foam mattress and pillow or a latex mattress placed under your head will give you all the support you need.
- Sleeping on stomach: If you use this popular sleeping position, try to change it when you sleep. If you cannot avoid it, then place a small pillow under your stomach and hips, as this will give you more support and prevent hip pain. Even then, you may run the risk of abdomen pain.
Use a comfortable mattress: Back pain may also be a sign that you need to change your mattress. Always choose a medium firm one as this gives the maximum support. It is important that you thoroughly test out a mattress before you purchase it. Placing a plywood support between the mattress and box springs will give you added support.
Massage before bed: Reduce back muscle pain before you go to bed by massaging them thoroughly. You could also massage in some pain relief cream that is high in capsaicin, which works to relieve excess pain.
You could also:
- Use a heating pad on your back. This helps relieve pain.
- Soak in an Epsom salts bath
- Do plank exercises
- Reduce the amount of caffeine you drink daily, and avoid it all together along with heavy meals at least two hours before you sleep.
There may be several reasons why your back pain increases at night and becomes chronic. All of the above may help you get some relief from it.