How to Sleep with a Ruptured Disc
Learning how to sleep with a ruptured disc, also known as a herniated disc, can help alleviate back pain. First, find out what position is best for your body and be willing to try out several different sleeping positions. Once you decide what sleeping position is best for you, you can make your sleep even more comfortable with the right mattress, pillows, and bed. Your doctor may also prescribe muscle relaxants for you and recommend pain medication that you can take before going to bed. These medications may help you to get more restful sleep, which is essential for improving pain and providing an opportunity for your ruptured disk to heal.
Sleeping in the Right Position
Sleep on your side to help relieve pain.When you have a herniated disc, sleeping on your side may be the best choice. Try sleeping in a fetal position with the body pillow to support your weight as you lie on your side. This will help to alleviate some of the pain associated with a foraminal herniated disc.
- Having a body pillow keeps your spine and neck aligned while sleeping on your side.
Don’t sleep on your stomach if you have a herniated disc.Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position, even if you have a healthy back. Stomach sleeping flattens the natural curve of your spine and it puts additional strain on your back muscles. If you have a herniated disk, then make sure to avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs.
Try sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees.Sleeping on your back with your knees slightly bent and supported by a firm pillow is a good position for sleeping if you have a herniated disk. This position takes pressure off of your lower spine, which will allow the maximum amount of healing to take place while you sleep. Place a medium sized pillow under your knees to support them.
- You can also elevate your feet by placing one or more pillows under your heels.
Try several different sleeping positions.Everyone’s experience with a ruptured, or herniated, disc is different. A sleeping position that works for one person might not be the best for someone else. Try a few different positions and choose the one that leaves you with the least pain.
- Try making yourself fall asleep in a new sleeping position. If you wake up in the middle of the night in a different position, try returning to the new sleeping position.
Choosing a Bed and Pillows
Sleep on a firm mattress to support your spine.A mattress that is medium-firm will allow your spine to settle into a neutral position as you sleep. If you have a ruptured disc, you might want to stay away from an extra firm mattress. An extra firm mattress can be too firm, causing additional pressure on your spine.
- Avoid pillow top mattresses and materials like memory foam, which tend to be too soft for those suffering from a herniated disc.
Consider an adjustable bed to alleviate pressure on your spine.For many people suffering from a ruptured disc, lying down is a painful experience. If you find lying flat to be too painful, consider sleeping in an adjustable bed. An adjustable bed can be adjusted to prop you up, possibly alleviating pressure and pain on your spine.
- If you have trouble adjusting to an adjustable bed, try sleeping in the adjustable bed for at least a few hours each night. Increase the amount of hours spent in the adjustable bed as you become more comfortable with it.
Try sleeping in a reclining chair to relieve pressure.A chair that reclines can be a good place to sleep if you are suffering from a ruptured, or herniated, disc. Since a reclining chair props you up, it can help relieve some of the pressure on your lower spine. If you find other sleeping positions uncomfortable, try a chair that reclines.
- If you still want to sleep in the same room as your spouse or partner, try moving a reclining chair into the bedroom.
Use a pillow with cervical support to keep your neck in a neutral position.A pillow that is designed to support your neck, also known as a pillow with cervical support, allows your neck to rest in a neutral position. This helps mitigate spinal stress in other areas, like your back.
Place a pillow between your knees to relieve spinal pressure.If you sleep on your side, consider sleeping with a pillow between your knees. This can add comfort and relieve some pressure from your spine.
- Try using a small pillow made of memory foam, which will shape itself to the contours of your body.
Promoting a Good Night’s Sleep
Go to bed only when you’re sleepy.If you are suffering from a ruptured disc, you are likely dealing with pain that may increase at night. Going to bed when you’re not tired can make falling asleep difficult, and this can be even more challenging with spine pain. Try to go bed only when you are tired.
Don’t use electronics before bed.The light emitted by phones, computers, and other devices can confuse your body into thinking it is still daytime. This can make it harder to fall asleep at night. Try to turn off all devices about half an hour before bedtime.
Keep your bedroom dark and cool.A good night’s sleep is easier if your bedroom is completely dark and the temperature is cool. Try using blackout curtains to block any incoming light from your bedroom windows. Keep the temperature cool, yet comfortable.
Avoid food, alcohol, and caffeine.Eating too close to your bedtime, consuming alcohol, and having caffeinated beverages can all disrupt your sleep. Stop eating about 2 to 3 hours before bedtime. Also, limit the amount of caffeine you consume, and don’t consume caffeine after 2 or 3 in the afternoon. You should also limit your intake of alcohol in the evening, as it can contribute to fitful sleep.
Try taking a daily magnesium supplement.Magnesium is an important nutrient for relaxation, so taking a daily magnesium supplement may help you. Take 200 to 400 mg of magnesium daily and see if this helps you fall asleep faster, stay asleep longer, and sleep better overall.
Get regular exercise.Staying physically active during the day can also help to improve your sleep at night. Get up throughout the day if you have a sedentary job and take a walk around the building or even through your office. Also, try to fit in at least 30 minutes of physical activity on most days, such as by going for a walk, bike ride, or swim.
Use a foam roller close to bedtime to stretch your spine.Stretching your spine with the use of foam roller may also be a helpful way to relax and prepare for sleep. Use the foam roller right before you go to bed to help stretch the muscles in your back and help you sleep.
- To use a foam roller, lay on top of it and gently roll back and forth to work out any tension or knots in your muscles.
Apply ice to sore areas.Ice can help to reduce pain and decrease inflammation in a localized area. Apply a towel wrapped ice pack to the affected area for about 10 minutes before you go to bed. Make sure to remove the ice pack before going to sleep because leaving it in place for too long may result in tissue damage.
Take an over the counter anti-inflammatory pain medication.An NSAID, or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, can help to reduce pain and inflammation in your back. Consider taking a dose of an NSAID about an hour before bed to help reduce the pain in your back and make it easier to fall asleep.
- Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for dosing or ask your doctor for a recommendation.
- Your doctor can also prescribe a stronger NSAID if the over the counter version is not helping.
Ask your doctor about a prescription for a muscle relaxant.If nothing seems to help and you are still having a hard time sleeping, then you might consider asking your doctor about a prescription muscle relaxant.A muscle relaxant can help to ease the tension in your back and make it easier for you to get a good night’s sleep.
QuestionI am not having any pain, just numbness and weakness in my lower back down to my feet. Is this a ruptured disc?wikiHow ContributorCommunity AnswerIt could be. Generally when the pain goes through your legs from your back, it is something more than just minor back pain. You should see a doctor.Thanks!
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