Congratulations! You just got a new mattress and you can’t wait to try out. It is firm in all the right places, supportive where you need it most, and it has the top-of-the-line technology. Finally, your back will get some much-needed relief and a better quality of life will soon be within your grasp. So why does your back still hurt as it did sleeping on the old mattress?
Here are some potential explanations.
Do you have a medical issue? If your doctor has prescribed medication for a chronic back condition or suggested surgery, then it would be wise to take the necessary steps to relieve your pain. Many seek medical advice only to ignore it in the hopes the symptoms will disappear on their own. If your back pain is affecting your quality of sleep, then it is affecting your quality of life.
Low Level of Activity
Are you active? If you sit at a desk all day and you don’t add any physical activity, then no matter how active your brain is, you’re not physically in shape! As little as a daily 30-minute walk during a lunch break and taking the stairs instead of the elevator can improve many symptoms related to your office work life. You can also set an alarm to ring every 30 minutes to remind you to get away from your desk for a little walk or stretch.
The old saying, “use it or lose it” applies here! Use the technology now available in most smartphones and track how many steps you walked or the last time you moved. Your smartphone knows!!
Driving Long Hours
Do you drive everywhere? If your only or preferred mode of transportation is driving your car, then perhaps you should consider how to spend the time when idling in traffic. When you drive, make sure that your shoulders are pulled back, that you rest comfortably against the back of your seat and use your headrest, it makes all the difference!
While anxiously gripping your hands on the steering wheel while late for work, again, consider what that is doing to your arms, shoulders and neck. Yes, the song was right about all the bones connecting to one another.
When you are aware, do like I do and gently tilt your head towards your right shoulder feeling the pull and then repeat on the other side. Enjoy doing these at your desk several times a day! I have learned that keeping my upper body stretched and relaxed will ease many back issues.
Have you tried yoga? Do you fall back on your couch the minute you get home from a long day of work? Well, surely you do deserve some rest, but to continuously seek the couch is not the best idea.
What if you had a small corner in your home dedicated to a yoga mat already set up with a pillow or two, and maybe access to some soothing music? Consider reaching for that mat instead of flopping on the couch and do some gentle restorative poses that you’ll found easily online. Find and bookmark your favourites and dedicate at least 15 minutes as soon as you get home. I love it!
Practicing gentle movements that will melt the kinks in your back so that you can have an enjoyable evening will pay huge dividends in the long term. By the way, it is called a practice because you are continuously learning to go beyond your limits so don’t look for perfection, look for an easy stretch that feels good.
Back pain is estimated to be one of the top reasons for missing work and missing out on life. Take control of your symptoms like I did, and unless you require surgery, change things up and stand up to the pain!
Gerry, Your Sleep Expert