You Deserve a Great, Pain-Free Night’s Sleep

Dallas Orthopedic Spine Specialist Dr. Craig C. Callewart discusses nighttime neck and back pain prevention.

Just as the mind needs a good night’s sleep to  work well the next day, muscles need sleep to recover from soreness. If you  sleep well, you will have less pain the next day. Your muscles will be less  sore and you’ll be mentally better able to deal with the pain.

Sleep Well for Less Pain

A comfortable mattress is key to reducing  overnight discomfort and maximizing the benefits of restful sleep. For most  people, this means a firm mattress – one without lumps or sags. If your  mattress is old, you may need to place a piece of plywood between your  mattress and box spring for added support. A built-in “pillowtop” mattress or  padded mattress top is comfortable to the hips and shoulders. A mattress  should be rotated every 6 months to prevent lumpiness. The height of the bed  should allow you to sit comfortably on the edge of the bed – better too high  than low.

A person needs most support from a mattress  across the chest and abdomen. Placing a folded bath towel under the mattress  sheet will provide additional support. Physical therapists and some stores  sell a sleeping roll that will also work.

Waterbed and Air Mattress Pain Prevention

If you choose to sleep on a waterbed, firmer is  better. One problem with waterbeds is that the edge may be too soft to allow  you to sit at a comfortable height, and hurt the back as you get in or out of  bed.

An adjustable air mattress bed is another  alternative that many people find helpful. One major advantage is that the  firmness of the mattress can be changed, depending on how much support “feels  right.”

How to Create an Orthopedic Pillow for Pain Prevention

Pillows need to be firm so they will not  flatten out or sag during the night. Down are the best because the shape of  the pillow can be easily changed. Pillows need to be thick when a person is  laying on their side, and half the thickness when on their back. There are  pillows which are thin in the center and one-third and thick on the end  one-thirds, and these work well for some people. To firm your pillow, try a  flatly folded towel in the pillowcase. Rolling a hand towel and placing it in  the pillow case along the edge will provide a support for the curve of the  neck and create an “orthopedic pillow.”

Perfect Your Pain-Free Sleep Positions

For back pain, the best position to sleep or  rest is on your side with a pillow between the bent knees, and one tucked  behind the back so you can roll back against the pillow. Alternatively, flat  on your back with a pillow under your knees will provide relief to the back  and legs. Avoid sleeping on your stomach which twists the back.

For neck pain, try sleeping without a pillow or with a special pillow. Avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Injury Prevention Tips for Recliners and Adjustable Beds

Recliners can be helpful because they allow the  back and neck to go into a relaxed position. Unfortunately, some people hurt  themselves coming off the recliner. It is best to move slowly and the slide  the pelvis forward, and don’t use the arms to pull forward.

Adjustable beds help because lying completely flat in bed is hard on the hips and back. A simple way to elevate the feet  (or head) is to place a 4” thick book between the box springs and mattress at  the end of the bed.

Don’t Let Neck and Back Pain Affect the Quality of Your Sleep – Get  Quality Care

Many of the orthopedic conditions which we  commonly face today can be addressed with nonsurgical treatment. For serious  back and spine problems, seek quality orthopedic care.

Other Insights

Are you in pain?

Most patients experiencing pain can be seen by Dr. Callewart or his physician assistant within 24 hours in Dallas, Forney, Rockwall and Addison, Texas.