Have you experienced an intense radiating pain on your lower back which often happened after lifting heavy objects or sudden change in body movements? As one age, it is expected for our body to undergo changes. One of the most common of which is lower back pain.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back starts on the lumbar region of the spine. To be more specific, it starts just below the ribcage. Low back pain is said to be the most common cause of job-related disability (National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, 2020). It is one of the reasons why workers seek consultation from doctors.
The pain that one experiences may vary from dull to constant pain and from sudden, sharp to even shooting pain. The type of pain that one experiences depends on the root cause of the back pain. There are 2 types of back pain:
- Acute Back Pain – also called as short-term back pain. This often last only for a few days to less than 12 weeks. It is the most common form of back pain and usually resolves on its own with adequate rest.
- Chronic Back Pain – from the name itself, it usually last longer than 12 weeks to even years. The symptoms often persist for a year. It is not always caused by a medical condition. Mental problems may contribute to the persistence of the disease.
What Causes Lower Back Pain
Congenital Problems. There are medical conditions, such as scoliosis, lordosis or even spina bifida, which affects the development of the spinal cord. These problems may cause abnormal sensations to be felt such as lower back pain.
Injuries. Injuries such as sprains, strains and traumatic injuries are commonly acquired at work or through accidents. These injuries affect the tendons, ligaments or muscle to continuously contract which eventually causes pain.
Degenerative Problems. Examples of which are Spondylosis and Arthritis. Aging makes the discs on our spinal cord wear down and, in the process, lose its cushioning ability. Once this cushion between discs is gone, our movement causes friction between the disc which eventually causes pain.
Spinal Cord Problems. These problems may be caused by compression of the spinal cord or infections that affects the spinal cord. These problems usually put pressure unto the cord causing numbness, cramping and weakness. It is mostly felt when one is walking or standing for too long.
Kidney Stones. This is a common non-spine cause of lower back pain. Kidney problems often presents with lower back pain and the quality is sharp or stabbing. The only difference between kidney stones and spinal affectation is the laterality: Kidney problems only affects one side while spinal problems causes bilateral lower back pain.
Pregnancy. In women, it is a common misdiagnosis especially if they are unaware that they are pregnant. The raging hormones of a pregnant female causes body changes that presents as lower back pain.
Sleeping Position and Lower Back Pain
Sleeping and lower back pain affects each other. Improper sleeping positions causes a strain on the lumbar region of the spinal cord causing pain on the lower back. A mattress can either make or break the optimal alignment of your back. A mattress that does not follow the natural curve of your back may cause even more straining. When one is not comfortable with the mattress, they are sleeping on they may develop sleep disturbances and even insomnia.
A tip when sleeping to avoid back pain: sleep on your back. This is the ideal position when sleeping for people who experiences back pain. Sleeping on your back helps distribute equally your weight. This ensures that your body is in proper alignment and the spinal cord is supported. Also, add a good pillow as it is proven to be helpful in any sleeping position. It supports the neck and at the same time maintains the proper alignment of the head. You may also put pillows in between your legs to prevent misalignment of your hips, pelvis and spine.
The Ideal Mattress for the Back
According to studies, the ideal mattress or bed for people who are suffering with lower back pain is medium-firm mattresses. They should avoid too soft or too firm mattresses. A soft mattress will follow the curve of your back but does not provide enough pressure to keep it in position while firm mattresses are hard enough and does not follow the natural curvature of the back. Both of which does not lessen the back pain but instead makes it severe. A medium-firm mattress was proven to minimize cervical, thoracic and lumbar spine pain by providing enough cushion and pressure to keep the back in its natural curve.
A medium-firm mattress with memory foam and latex may also be considered as it helps in the alignment of the back and prevents pain by giving the necessary support the back needs.
A Good Bed
A good bed should provide comfort, support, pressure relief and temperature and moisture control. Here are some points to consider when buying a mattress:
- Personal Preference– People are unique individuals and different mattresses works for different people. Of course, the best mattress is the one that gives you a good night sleep and wakes you up without any body aches on your body.
- Physical Composition – You may choose the number of coils, type of padding or even the mattress depth according to your taste. Coils or innersprings provide better support along with add-ons such as toppers or paddings.
- Spine Alignment -Make sure that the spine is in a neutral position. The perfect mattress follows the curves of the body and at the same time provides enough pressure to maintain the spine’s natural and optimal alignment.