Back pain – hidden causes behind a sore back

If you suffer from back pain you are not alone.

According to Dr. Hayden Thomas, Chiropractor, approximately 80% of all people will suffer some kind of back pain in their lives. Of course there are many reasons for back pain; injury, pregnancy, heavy lifting, even our increasingly sedentary lives and office bound jobs are having huge effects on our nation's back health.

What causes back pain?

Back pain can come on suddenly and often lasts less than six weeks which is known as acute back pain. This may be caused by an injury from a fall or heavy lifting. Back pain that lasts for longer period is known as chronic back pain.

Back pain often develops without a specific cause that your doctor can identify easily with a test or imaging. Some conditions commonly linked to back pain include:

  • Muscle or ligament strain. Repetitive heavy lifting or a sudden awkward movement can strain back muscles and spinal ligaments. 
  • Bulging or ruptured disks. Disks act as cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. The soft material inside a disk can bulge or rupture and press on a nerve causing back pain.  
  • Arthritis. Osteoarthritis can affect the lower back. Arthritis in the spine can sometimes lead to a narrowing of the space around the spinal cord which can cause lower back pain.
  • Spinal irregularities. Back pain can occur if your spine curves abnormally. Scoliosis, a condition in which your spine curves to the side, also may lead to back pain.
  • Osteoporosis. Your spine's vertebrae can develop compression fractures if your bones become porous and brittle.
Is your bed helping or hindering?

It’s interesting to note though that sometimes you’re doing the most damage while you are sleeping. Often people don’t realise that their pain may be caused or aggravated by their bed.

A mattress will usually deteriorate up to 50% from its ’new’ state over the course of 10 years, through normal wear and tear.

Mattress comfort layer compression, broken springs, and retention of moisture are all part of common wear and tear and ultimately all have a negative impact on the level of support and comfort your bed provides you while you are sleeping. It stands to reason then that this can lead to poor sleep posture. As a result, many people suffer from back pain, lower back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain and hip pain, which their bed can exacerbate.

A good test is to think about how you feel when you wake after sleeping. Is your back feeling better than when you went to sleep or worse? If it often feels worse after sleeping your bed may not be providing the right comfort or support your body needs and could be leading to back pain or body aches.

If you need help selecting your dream bed try our online Mattress Selector or talk to one of our in-store bed specialists via "Find my nearest SleepMaker store."

How to improve your sleep posture

Its worth considering we spend approximately a third of our lives in bed and the quality of sleep you enjoy will have a significant impact on how you will feel when you are not in bed.

One of the best ways to improve sleep posture and help relieve any discomfort is to invest in a good quality mattress and pillow suited to your particular needs. While the mattress supports your body a good quality pillow supports your neck and head and helps with your spinal alignment.

A suitable mattress will allow for the curves of your body to be maintained rather than your body conforming to the mattress. A mattress that’s too soft or too hard for your body shape and weight can cause your spine to curve in an unnatural way. Thinking about the length of time people spend in bed is it any wonder you can wake up with muscles that are stiff and sore if your mattress is not suitable for your body shape.

Dr. Hayden Thomas, says many people don’t appreciate the value of correct support while they sleep. Sleep plays a vital role in restoring and healing the body,

“Often people suffering from back pain assume the firmer the bed the better which is not always the case. It’s important that your mattress and pillow together cushion your body to ensure your spine is kept in a neutral position while sleeping. Poor alignment can cause stress in all the wrong places. Factors such as your size, shape, weight and health will influence the type of bed most suitable for you.”

If you are waking up stiff and sore or if your pain is worse during the night while you are sleeping then it may be worth taking a good look at your mattress. It could help how you sleep and how you feel when you get up every day. Take a look at the latest mattress technology available that can help you sleep better.