In my 38 years of chiropractic practice, I’ve had quite a few patients whose sleep was being disrupted due to neck or lower back pain. I recall a patient I saw many years ago named Paul, who was having back pain and sciatica. On his first visit with me he said he’d barely had any normal sleep in over a month due to his pain. He’d already tried medication, but it was of no help. This article will discuss why people may have sleep problems due to spinal pain and how chiropractic care can help with this condition.
Sleep, especially proper sleep, is important for our health. If we do not get adequate sleep, which is generally defined as eight hours per night, it can create problems over the long haul. Lack of sleep can cause learning and memory complications. Weight gain can occur by altering the way our metabolism and hormones should normally function. Cognitive abilities such as mood, concentration and industrial and automotive safety can be affected.
If neck or lower back pain is occurring it may make it difficult for a person to fall asleep, stay asleep or awaken too soon.
Taking sleep medications may help symptomatically, but does not address the cause of the problem.
If a person has misalignments of the spinal bones of the neck or lower back that is causing pinched nerves or irritated spinal joints, it can be challenging to find a comfortable position in bed to fall and stay asleep. This was the case for my patient Paul, who I mentioned earlier.
Another patient, Lindsay, was having such excruciating neck pain that no matter which way she laid her head on her pillow she could not find a comfortable position and was getting no sleep.
When patients like Paul and Lindsay come to me, I initially perform an evaluation to check for misalignments of their spine. Once these are located, I can perform chiropractic spinal adjustments to realign malpositioned vertebrae. Many patients get so much relief after their first or second visits that they end up sleeping 10 to 12 hours to catch up on the sleep they’ve been missing.
This was the case with Paul and Lindsay. As they gained lower back and neck pain relief, their sleep patterns returned to normal. I worked with them to correct their spinal misalignment and showed them how to do stretching and strengthening exercises at home to help prevent the problem from returning. We also talked about the proper type of mattress and pillows to use to provide proper spinal support while sleeping.
I’m happy to report that both Paul and Lindsey never had sleep problems due to spinal pain again. Back and neck problems do not have to interfere with one’s sleep. Try chiropractic care for neck and back pain relief and see if it doesn’t help you to sleep better. It has for millions of patients.