Relief While Sleeping


Although there are a number of options for relief while sleeping, consulting a physiatrist may help in restricting the inflammation. A physiatrist is concerned with restoration of functional disability in people affected with spinal injury. A few things may be advised for keeping proper sleeping postures, but using pillows between the knees, under the legs, and on the chest will allow undisturbed sleep for those who sleep on their side according to this article.



Tips to relive back ache while sleeping by Chiropractor Dr. Rustin Glass.




Relief While Sleeping

Find out how to get a good night's sleep when suffering from chronic pain and enjoy normal sleep.


You spend a third of your life sleeping, give or take, and sometimes the way you sleep can lead to chronic spinal injury.


The cure for that pain could be getting rid of an old, worn-out mattress, doubling (or tripling) down on pillows, or getting off the couch and walking around the block.


Those are a few of the potential cures recommended by Dr. David E. Fish, a medical doctor on staff with the UCLA Spine Center with a master’s degree in public health, who’s partnered with mattress retailer Sit ‘n Sleep — you know, the “We’ll beat any advertised price or your mattress is FREEEEEEEE!!!”/”You’re KILLING me Larry!!!” people — to spread the word about not just buying new beds but doing all you can for a healthy, pain-free back.


Dr. Fish, whose calls himself a “physiatrist,” agreed to answer any question we threw at him, but we stuck to back pain and its relief, given that he’s an expert in that very field. Once we agreed on the spelling of physiatrist, we went on with the interview:


Q: What does a Physiatrist do?


A: We’re doctors that deal in functional restoration for people with either a disability or a functional deficit. The classic example is Christopher Reeve. In the prime of his life he has a spinal cord injury. He needs to functionally return. Someone had to put him in that chair, someone had to teach him how to use the chair. Someone had to deal with the medical issues. Another example would be someone with a disc herniation in their back. After the surgeon potentially removes the disc, they have ongoing pain issues, they’ve got issues with functional deficits — they’re not able to use their leg, or if they have weakness in their foot they may need a brace or something like that. The physiatrist is the one who coordinates all of that.


Q: So you deal with a lot of serious issues — it’s not just patients saying, “I have a little pain in my back”?


A: I deal with that, too. I deal with everything. Let’s say someone says, “I have a little pain in my back. I’m not able to do the job I’m supposed to do, I can’t sit at my desk because my back hurts.” They’re not functional because of the symptoms. So while we do have some serious things, we also have some things that are not so serious, but they all have functional deficits, that cause them to have an “interplay,” or a deficit in their daily activity and what they’re doing.


Q: Is back pain often the result of how you sleep, and can the bed you sleep on make it worse?


A: I think it’s both. I think that’s the hard part — you know, there haven’t been great studies done that say “this mattress is better than that mattress.” We all toss and turn and roll in bed. The most important part is to try to find a position that is 1) comfortable but functionally in a good position and then, 2) is to try to get a good night’s sleep in terms of the number of hours because I think a lot of patients who have pain seem to get better after a good night’s sleep, too, so I think that’s part of it as well.


Q: Do a lot of patients say they’re not sleeping enough?


A: Oh, yeah. (They say) “I’ve got pain, I can’t sleep.” But I would say it’s 50-50. I’ve got some patients who say, “I’ve got pain when I’m up — the first thing, I get up in the morning, I have pain,” and I’m like, “How’s your sleep?” (and they say), “Oh, I sleep great.” But I think, in general, it’s better to get a good night’s sleep because usually you’ll feel better the next day when you have a restorative sleep.


Q: If somebody says to you, “I sleep on my back,” “I sleep on my side,” or “I sleep on my stomach,” do you recommend a different kind of mattress for each of them?


A: If you sleep on your stomach and you have a mattress that is not firm, you’re going to put a lot of arch in your back, and that’s going to be a problem. So I think it would make more sense to get a firm mattress if you’re on your stomach. But I think part of it is, do you have the proper pillows underneath your hips, are you not twisting your neck too difficultly to one side when you’re sleeping. If I had to pick one, I would say a firm mattress makes more sense if you sleep on your stomach, but I’m sure there’s going to be people out there who say, “I’ve got a soft mattress, and I feel great.”


Q: So what about the back sleeper or the side sleeper?


A: If you have an older mattress, one that sags in the center, that’s going to cause more pain than a soft mattress that’s new and fresh. A firm mattress that’s fresh is probably better than a sagging mattress that has no life in it — you’re sleeping in a hole, basically. But there’s no hard and fast rule that says you have to have a soft mattress for when you sleep on your side vs. your back.


Q: You mentioned pillows before. What is the role of pillows in relieving back pain?


A: I think pillows are important. Let’s say you sleep on your back. We say that the best relief for back pain is when your knees are up toward your chest — what we call a 90-90 position, where you have your hips bent at 90 degrees, and your knees are at 90 degrees. When you’re lying on your back, that puts the least pressure on your spine.


Q: So you put the pillow under your legs?


A: Right. If you put pillows under your legs, you’ll relieve a lot of the stress on your back.


Q: What about sleeping on your side?


A: If you sleep on your side, what happens a lot of the time is your knees are together, and you kind of lean one knee over the top of the other knee and you kind of twist your back a little bit. Put a pillow between your knees and keep them somewhat apart, and you’ll find that the pelvis is more stable that way. I always recommend a pillow between the knees and the feet as well as one on your chest. You end up having four or five pillows, right? You have one on your chest that you can grab so that your shoulders are not falling down. A lot of people sleep pretty good on their side that way.


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When we spend about one third of our life sleeping, we should ensure that we have the best mattress for a sore back and keep to proper sleeping postures to avoid soreness, and allow the pelvis to be in the right position. Relief from sleeping may need quite a number of pillows to be able to sleep in the right position without damaging the back. Remember that a good night’s sleep is recommended to keep you fresh for the next day. Even if you need five pillows take them and place them in the ways recommended by the article, so as to stay away from back pain. Just make sure you do not get smothered by any of them as you snore with a good night’s sleep.



Back pain in your sleep? Watch this video for proper sleeping posture, and a body pillow can help. By Dr. Vijay Vad, M.D. Hospital for Special Surgery Official PGA & Pro-Tennis Tour doctor.




Ways to relieve back pain when sleeping. By Chiropractor Steven Shaw from





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