Nothing ruins your day quite like battling through lower back pain. Lower back pain makes it difficult to stand up, walk, sit comfortably, work, and even sleep. According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), lower back pain is the most common cause of job-related disability. At least 80 percent of Americans will experience lower back pain in their lifetime. To make it even worse, if you don’t correct what caused the pain in the first place, you’ll probably then experience chronic back pain. Chronic back pain is defined as pain that continues for 12 weeks or longer. You don’t want this to happen to you!
The lower back, where most back pain occurs, includes the five vertebrae (referred to as L1-L5) in the lumbar region and supports most of the weight of the upper body. The spaces between the vertebrae are maintained by round, rubbery pads called intervertebral discs that act like shock absorbers throughout the spinal column to cushion the bones as the body moves. Bands of tissue known as ligaments hold the vertebrae in place, and tendons attach the muscles to the spinal column. If this sounds like a lot of moving pieces that all need to be in perfect condition, you’re right. This is partly why back pain is so common. In order to combat lower back pain, it’s helpful to first understand what caused it. Often, lower back pain is caused by:
The muscles and ligaments in the back can stretch or tear due to excess activity. A lower back sprain or strain can either happen suddenly or can develop slowly over time from repetitive movements. Common causes of sprain and strain include lifting a heavy object, twisting the spine while lifting, a sudden movement that places too much stress on the low back like a fall, poor posture over time, and sports injuries. Sports that involve twisting or large forces of impact are especially known to cause a back strain. Symptoms of a strain include pain and stiffness in the lower back, as well as muscle spasms.
As stated above, your spine is made up of “disks.” These discs are prone to injury, and this risk increases with age. The outside of the disc can tear or herniate. A herniated disc, which is also known as a slipped or ruptured disc, occurs when the cartilage surrounding the disc pushes against the spinal cord or nerve roots. The cushion that sits between the spinal vertebrae extends outside its normal position. This can result in compression of the nerve root as it exits from the spinal cord and through the vertebral bones. This type of disc injury usually occurs suddenly after lifting something or twisting the back. If you herniate a disk, you’ll know it right away!
If the herniated disc presses on the sciatic nerve, this is known as Sciatica. The sciatic nerve connects the spine to the legs. This is why Sciatica can cause pain from the lower back all the way down to the legs and feet. While other forms are back pain are more like a dull ache, this usually feels like burning, or pins and needles.
Abnormal spine curvatures
Scoliosis, kyphosis, and lordosis are all conditions that cause abnormal curvatures in the spine. These are congenital conditions that are usually first diagnosed either during childhood or early adolescence. The abnormal curvature causes pain and poor posture because it places pressure on your muscles, tendons, ligaments, and vertebrae in a way that isn’t not natural.
These are the most common, but far from the only reasons a person may experience back pain. For instance, many women experience lower back pain during pregnancy.
What’s the solution?
Sleeping on the wrong mattress, like one that is old, lumpy, or not supportive can actually worsen back problems. This is because you are placing excessive strain on vulnerable areas as you sleep- or at least try to sleep. Adjustable bed bases, on the other hand, are one of the best things you can purchase for long-term back pain. As the name suggests, an adjustable bed can move into various positions, allowing you to find the right sleeping posture for you, one that causes the least amount of discomfort. Adjustable beds help people who feel more comfortable sleeping in an inclined position, rather than lying flat on a mattress and traditional bedframe. Sleeping on an adjustable bed base:
- Allows you to sleep on an incline
- Supports your back
- Reduces joint compression
- Prevents unnecessary pressure on your back
Many medical professionals recommend sleeping on an incline to help relieve backache. Especially for people suffering with lower back pain, sleeping on a slight incline with extra support under the knees can help to take the pressure off the spine, making it easier to sleep. This is why the best adjustable bed bases allow you to raise both your upper torso and your legs, so you can find the absolute most comfortable position. Not only will an upper body incline and elevated knees effectively support the natural curve of the spine, it can also help to stimulate blood circulation and reduce inflammation of damaged tissue. If you sleep on your side, an adjustable bed can keep your spine properly aligned while in this position. Sleeping on a supportive orthopedic mattress and an adjustable bed base can make a real difference to your everyday life.