HomeBack & SpineBack to the Basics: A Guide to Preventing Back Pain

Back to the Basics: A Guide to Preventing Back Pain

Pay attention to how and where you sleep

First, make an effort to get enough snooze time because a sleep deficit leads to muscle fatigue and weakness and increases stress on the body, which can cause back pain, Alpiner notes. Second, consider your position: Back-sleeping is bad for some, but fine for others. If you find a position that’s more comfortable tell your doctor, as it may be a clue as to what’s wrong with your back. Third, think about sleeping habits in a new way: What kind of shape is your bed in? How does your pillow look? If you see your mattress sagging or it’s not giving you enough support, it may be time for a new one, Mehul Desai says. Mattresses should probably be replaced more often than they are every 10 years or so is reasonable, though it may depend on how much time you spend in bed. Generally, a firm mattress is better for your back, and try to avoid overstuffed pillows: Your head shouldn’t be elevated at an angle greater than 10, says Gotlin.

These upgrades are worth it: When researchers at Oklahoma State University had people with minor musculoskeletal pain compare sleeping in their own beds for 28 days to sleeping in new, medium-firm beds, most reported better sleep quality and less back discomfort with the new beds.


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Stacey Colino
Stacey Colino is an award-winning writer specializing in health, fitness, psychology and nutrition. Her work has appeared in dozens of national magazines, including Prevention, Health, Newsweek, The Washington Post, Cosmopolitan, Women’s Health, Parents, Family Circle, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping and Real Simple. In addition, she is the co-author of Disease-Proof: The Remarkable Truth About What Makes Us Well with Dr. David Katz; Strong Is the New Skinny with Jennifer Cohen; Good Food – Fast! with Chef Jason Roberts; and Just Your Type: The Ultimate Guide to Eating and Training Right for Your Body Type with Phil Catudal.


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