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Spinal Decompression Mattress | A Chiropractor’s Guide

You may be suffering from low back pain due to your sleeping posture. According to the American Chiropractic Association, approximately 50 pounds of pressure is applied to your spine when you sleep on your back. The culprits could be activities like sitting at a desk for long periods or twisting while you pick up something heavy, but your mattress and sleeping posture could play the leading role. 

Decompression of the Spine

spinal decompression mattress

You have gel-like cushions between the bones in your spine called disks. As your spine becomes compressed, it puts added pressure on the disks, making it difficult to flow oxygen, water, and nutrients. A bulging or herniated disk may eventually cause nerve damage and pain. Stretching or decompressing the spine can remove the pressure from the disks and allow them to heal. There are several ways to decompress, including surgery and noninvasive methods, but changing the way you sleep can also help.

How to Decompress Your Spine at Night

Your vertebrae can be compressed by sitting too long, sleeping in the wrong position, or sleeping on a soft mattress. Try these steps to eliminate back pain while you sleep.

decompress spine night

It is essential to buy a mattress that provides good back support. Chiropractic doctors recommend medium-firm mattresses. To support a too-soft mattress, place a thick sheet of plywood underneath. Do not use box springs as they tend to collapse. Sleeping on a firm surface will keep your spine in a natural position.

Side Sleepers

side sleeping

You can do this by lying on your side and flexing your hips approximately 30 degrees. Put an orthopaedic pillow beneath your neck and bend your knees to 30 degrees. A thin pillow between your knees will also keep your hips parallel as you sleep.

Back Sleepers

Put a pillow beneath your bending knees at a 30-degree angle to support your lower back and decompress your spine if you are lying on your back. Sleep with your head in a neutral position and your neck supported by a pillow.

Buy a natural latex pillow that conforms to your head and supports you if you sleep on your back. A natural latex foam pillow with an indentation can provide neck and head support for those who sleep on their sides.

back sleeper

Getting a good night’s sleep is essential to our overall health. We need a good night’s sleep for our physical well-being and to recover and remain healthy.

Many people are simply not getting the quality rest that their bodies need, even though experts say adults should sleep at least eight hours a night. Getting this much sleep every night is made more difficult if you struggle with back pain or discomfort at night.

The position in which you sleep has a significant impact on the amount of back pain you experience – and the quality of sleep you get at night.

Your best sleeping position will maintain the natural curve of your neck and spine and keep you aligned. When sleeping in poor positions, your hips, back, and neck will suffer from unnecessary stress. Which position would be the best fit for you? Examine what your sleeping position may be doing to your spine.

How to Sleep With Less Back Pain

You may want to switch up your sleeping position if you wake up during the night with sharp back pain or feel dull aches in your lower back in the morning.

When lying flat on your back

Give your spine a break every once in a while by sleeping flat on your back. Your spine twists when you sleep in a twisted position all night, which can cause some of those pains and aches.

It will help keep your spine aligned, and it will allow your body to follow its natural curve so that you won’t put unnecessary pressure on your back. Placing a small pillow underneath your neck and another under your knees will keep this curve as natural as possible.

Sleeping by Your Side

Another way to keep your spine aligned is to sleep on your side. This will alleviate unnecessary pressure in the back and will allow your body to relax in its natural position. But it is important to remember that there is a correct way to sleep on your side.

Sleeping on your side makes you more prone to twisting. To maintain a straight spine, it is always recommended to place a firm pillow between your knees while sleeping. If you want your hips and pelvis to be in line with your back and neck, place a pillow of equal thickness under your hips and pelvis.

In the Fetal Position

People with herniated discs, pinched nerves, or significant subluxations may find that fetal position sleeping is the best option, even though it does not keep the spine in its natural curvature. When you suffer from such an injury, your chiropractor or physical therapist may recommend lying in the fetal position to you.

Lie on your side with your knees bent towards your chest while sleeping in the fetal position. There will be relief from pressure or pinching pain. Nonetheless, this should only be considered when there are compressions of the vertebrae or pressures on the spinal cord. It’s because the fetal position does misalign your spine. It might be time to try another sleep position if you are still sore after sleeping like this in the morning.

You may find it difficult at first to switch sleeping positions. As long as you are diligent about falling asleep in the correct position and remember to readjust your position when you wake up in the middle of the night, your body will begin to adjust to this change.

Sleeping Positions That Cause Back Pain

Understanding the wrong positions to sleep in for back pain is as important as knowing the right ones. If you have been suffering from chronic back pain, particularly in the morning, or if you are having trouble falling or staying asleep, then your sleeping position may be responsible.  You could be aggravating an existing condition in your back or causing misalignments in your spine that are causing your back pain.

Stomach Sleeping

sleeping on stomach

When you sleep on your stomach, you can place extra strain on your cervical spine, leading to a misalignment of your neck and back. It can cause tingling, numbness, headaches, even neck pain, and pressure on your spinal cord. In addition, it can cause unnecessary pressure on your lower back.  Sleeping on your stomach and waking up with a stiff neck in the morning might signify that you need to change sleeping positions.

Uncomfortable Leg Positions

As a result of sleeping with one leg higher than the other or flopped over with your spine twisted, your hips and pelvis can get out of alignment and remain aggravated, causing strain in your muscles or triggering existing injuries.

How’s Your Mattress?

The mattress is often to blame for sleep discomfort, but adjusting your position is an excellent place to start. However, if you still don’t feel that your mattress provides you with the support you need, you might need a new one.

Although different people tend to have other preferences, being firm is a great idea. You should consider your weight, sleeping position, and type of back pain when choosing between a medium mattress and an extra firm mattress.

The heavier you are, the firmer mattress you will need for support. Despite being a side sleeper and a slight build, a medium mattress will still be able to offer you the support you need. You will need something firmer if you have a larger body type.

orthopedic mattress

It must be noted, though, that there are limitations. The downside is that extra-firm mattresses aren’t as flexible as they should and may not conform to your spine’s natural curves.

In this article, we will provide some tips for deciding on the best mattress for people with back pain when they are in the market for a new mattress.

When you are thinking about a new mattress, speak to your chiropractor for more information about what kind of orthopaedic mattress will be right for you. It is far better to consult with a chiropractor than a salesperson at your local mattress store.  If you have back pain, you will have to experiment with mattresses to find one that is right for you. No mattress will work for everyone.

As a general rule, avoid soft mattresses, regardless of how comfortable they may seem at the time. When you sleep on a soft bed, your spine will be out of alignment, and you won’t get the support you need for proper alignment of the spinal column.

Tips for a Pain-Free Night of Sleep

Several other ways that you can use if back pain makes it hard to sleep are listed below:

Whenever you get out of bed, you should take your time. Do not make quick movements or twist awkwardly. Take your time if you have any aches in the morning.

orthopedic pillow

  • Roll onto your side and bend your knees to get up as you get out of bed.
  • If you are rising from your bed, turn onto your side and bend your knees while you are still asleep to maintain an aligned cervical spine. 
  • An orthopaedic pillow can make a world of difference in your sleep. You should avoid sleeping on too many pillows at once as it can put extra pressure on the neck.
  • If you can only sleep on your stomach, place a thin pillow under your head and a thicker, more supportive pillow below your hips and stomach. This will prevent lower back pain and a “U” shape that might cause discomfort.
  • Relaxation techniques can assist you in getting to sleep. In addition to helping you sleep more quickly, this will make sure your muscles aren’t too tense or sore before you sleep. Otherwise, you could end up with muscle pain.

The importance of getting quality sleep each night cannot be overstated. Still, if you are not sleeping in the correct position, this can aggravate your existing back pain and cause a greater degree of discomfort in your back and neck.

If you’re one of the millions of people who suffer from low back pain, you may want to consider a decompression mattress. A recent study found that these mattresses were able to decrease low back pain and improve function in just four weeks. Thanks for reading! Do you have any questions about decompression mattresses or how they can help with your low back pain? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Sources:

  1.  Pergolizzi, J., Richmond, C., Auster, M., Florio, F. and Wilhelm, J., 2008. Non-surgical spinal decompression (DRX9000) for the treatment of chronic low-back pain: a case report. Touch Briefings: US Musculoskeletal Review 2008, 2.
  2. Journal of Back and Musculoskeletal Rehabilitation, vol. 30, no. 5, pp. 1015-1022, 2017
  3. Gionis, T.A. and Groteke, E., 2003. Spinal decompression. Orthopedic technology review, 5, pp.36-39.
  4. Koçak, F.A., Tunç, H., Sütbeyaz, S.T., Akkuş, S., Köseoğlu, B.F. and Yılmaz, E., 2018. Comparison of the short-term effects of the conventional motorized traction with non-surgical spinal decompression performed with a DRX9000 device on pain, functionality, depression, and quality of life in patients with low back pain associated with lumbar disc herniation: A single-blind randomized-controlled trial. Turkish journal of physical medicine and rehabilitation, 64(1), p.17.
  5. Ekediegwu, E.C., Chuka, C., Nwosu, I., Uchenwoke, C., Ekechukwu, N. and Odole, A.A., 2019. A Case Series of Non-Surgical Spinal Decompression as an Adjunct to Routine Physiotherapy Management of Patients with Chronic Mechanical Low Back Pain. J Spine, 8(432), p.2.
  6. Seo, S.K., Kim, B.J., Park, K.J., Kang, J.H., Kim, S.K. and Seo, D.W., 2011. The Clinical Studies for Non Surgical Spinal Decompression Treatment on Cervical Disc Herniation. Journal of Korean Medicine Rehabilitation, 21(4), pp.131-143.
  7. Won, J.K., Park, D.S., Pi, C.H., Song, Y.S., Kwon, Y.M. and Park, T.Y., 2007. The clinical effects of non sugical spinal decompression treatment on HIVD. The Journal of Korea CHUNA Manual Medicine for Spine and Nerves, 2(2), pp.41-48.
  8. Xiaoxiao, X. and Chuhuai, W., 2016. Clinical observation on non-surgical spinal decompression traction in treatment of cervical spondylosis. International Research Journal of Public and Environmental Health, 3(6), pp.120-131.
  9. Henry, L., 2017. Non-surgical Spinal Decompression an Effective Physiotherapy Modality for Neck and Back Pain. Journal of Novel Physiotherapy and Physical Rehabilitation, 4(3), pp.062-065.
  10. Shah, A., Sheth, M.S. and Shah, D.A., 2020. Effect of non-surgical spinal decompression therapy on walking duration in subjects with lumbar radiculopathy: A randomized controlled trial. International Journal of Medical Science and Public Health, 9(8).  
  11. Gil, H.Y., Choi, E., Jiyoun, J., Han, W.K., Nahm, F.S. and Lee, P.B., 2021. Follow-Up Magnetic Resonance Imaging Study of Non-surgical Spinal Decompression Therapy for Acute Herniated Intervertebral Disc: A Prospective, Randomized, Controlled Study.

 

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