Back pain can rob you of enjoying your life, besides making it difficult, or even impossible, to carry out your daily activities. If you’re one of the ten percent of people, worldwide, suffering from back pain, there could several reasons for the problem. For example, your pain could be caused by a herniated disk, a spinal infection, an injury or even spinal stenosis. One cause that many people overlook is sleeping on a poor mattress. Here’s how your mattress may be causing your back pain and how physical therapy can help. 

The Anatomy of the Spine 

If you’re like most people, you probably don’t give much thought to the anatomy of your spine until you develop back issues. Besides bones, your spine consists of large muscles, ligaments, and tendons, along with sensitive nerves that work together to give you mobility and flexibility.

Your spine, also known as the vertebral column, consists of 32 stacked vertebrae (bones), divided into five sections. These sections include the cervical, thoracic, lumbar, sacrum and coccyx. From a side view, your spine is shaped like the letter “S”. The two primary muscle groups affecting the spine are known as the extensors and the flexors.

Anatomy of Back Musculature

Some of your body’s most functional and massive muscles are in your back. These muscles are designed for enabling you to stand erect as well as for protecting your spine. They’re also made for reaching, pulling and extending your torso and arms.

The three groups of muscles in your back are the superficial, the intermediate and the deep muscles. While the superficial muscles involve shoulder movements, the intermediate muscles are linked with movements of your thoracic cage. Deep muscles involve the intrinsic muscles, which are associated with movements of the vertebral column.

Posture and Proper Body Alignment in Supine

By sleeping on your back, the thoracic or curves in your neck and mid-back (thoracic) area are properly maintained. This means that you’re more likely to breathe through your nose. Consider how your body is designed for inhaling and exhaling air through your nose, which allows for three times more air capacity than when you breathe through your mouth.

What’s more, breathing through the nose helps your immune system perform better and is beneficial for oxygen exchange, besides can prevent snoring. On the other hand, when you sleep on your stomach, or in a prone position, you usually breathe through the mouth. This is unhealthy as you’re more prone to develop ear, nose and throat problems. Furthermore, sleeping on your stomach can affect your trunk not being flexed, causing changes to your spinal curves. 

How a Poor Mattress Can Cause Back Pain

Sleeping on a poor mattress can easily lead to lower back pain, besides worsen an already bad back. It can cause poor posture and inferior spinal positioning. A bad mattress can result in muscle strains, in addition to not maintaining proper spinal alignment. All of these factors can lead to lower back pain.

That’s why it’s critical that you sleep on a high-quality mattress that’s firm enough for supporting your spine while having adequate compliance for filling in the postural curves. Think about how reclining in a hammock loosens your postural curves. Although when you lie on the floor, you are giving support for your overall spine, you don’t have support for the hollow areas. This makes sleeping on the floor uncomfortable. 

How Physical Therapy Can Help with Backaches

One of the best ways to treat backaches is by using physical therapy.

  • Strengthening exercises are effective in stabilizing the spine. They also improve walking, sitting, bending, twisting and lifting while not causing any pain or injury.
  • Manual therapy is another treatment. This involves spinal manipulation for treating muscles and joint pain.
  • Physical therapists often use a combination of manual therapy and massage, in addition to an exercise program for managing lower back pain.
  • Modalities are another treatment for easing the pain. Some of the modalities physical therapists use include heat therapy, LLLT (Lower Level Laser Therapy), TENS unit, ultrasound, and traction.
  • They also use postural corrections.

Considerations and Warnings 

  • If you have back pain when first waking up, but discover you can get rid of it by doing stretches, there’s a high probability your mattress could be the reason for your back pain.
  • Another clue that your mattress is the culprit for your lower back pain is tossing and turning or waking up frequently when trying to sleep.

Don’t continue to live with back pain. To learn more about the benefits of physical therapy, email us (cawleyptfrank@gmail.com). You can also call 570-208-2787.