As we all get older (and wiser?), we tend to notice different aches and pains that may or may not have been around for the past few years. Our days of couch surfing at a friend’s pad are long gone, and it may be time to give in and admit that you may have to add in some extra steps to your nighttime routine to keep your body feeling good. Read on to hear all about our top 5 ways to help cure back pain as well as the best mattress for lower back pain.
1. Figure out the cause of your back pain
Figuring out the cause of your back and/or hip pain may be the logical first step for this. Some common causes of back pain for women above the age of 25 may be:
- Chasing after toddlers/children
- New workout regiment
- Improper posture
- Sitting in the incorrect position for extended periods of time
- Sleep deprivation
- Pelvic misalignment
- Spinal misalignment
Of course there are many other things that can bring on a case of a sore back, but it seems that narrowing it down to the reason could possibly help you find your “cure.” Of course, if your reason for back pain is your adorable, angel-faced toddler, it could be harder to quit that, but finding a good way to cope is all part of the process. In many ways, how your body is able to rest and recuperate is (more than) half the battle. Even if you’re a sleep deprived mom like us, you’ll appreciate these easy steps that we’ve tested out ourselves on our own achy joints, and these last four simple tips are a breeze to add into your nightly routine – and you won’t lose a bit of your precious sleep on insane rituals, tinctures, or crazy remedies.
2. Stttttretch it out, homegirl
We don’t need to tell you the benefits of stretching. You’re a modern, well-read woman of the millennium. You know that stretching your muscles before and after a workout is important, and wouldn’t dream of stepping foot into your fave spin class without at least pretending to stretch your hamstrings before-hand. (We agree, you do look way cooler, too.) But many people don’t think to properly stretch before or after your rest time. Your body is preparing to re-fuel when you sleep. But, humans aren’t bats and we sleep laying down. Preparing your mind and body for sleep will relax your muscles, and allow some quiet moments before sleep to take some cleansing breaths and chill out for a hot minute. But seriously, who has time for a 30 minute yoga session before bed? Here are our favorite top three stretches that target your entire back that will help cure back pain when you wake up:
- Targets the hips, glutes, and lower back
- Lie on your back and bring your knees up to a “tabletop” position
- Place your right ankle on your left knee (or thigh)
- Grab behind your left knee and gently pull your left leg and right leg in to your body until you feel the stretch
- Hold for 10-15 seconds, and switch legs
- Targets the low back
- Lay on back, lift your legas and bend your knees.
- Wrap arms around legs under the knees and gently pull in.
- Hold for 1 minute
- Targets the spine, groin, and hips
- Lie on your back and lift your legs and bend your knees
- Flex your feet to the ceiling
- Grab the big toe of each foot, and gently bring your knees towards your arm pits, opening up your hip flexors and groin
- If able to, rock gently to the right and left to gently massage the spine
- Hold for 10-15 seconds
Reclining Bound Angle:
- Targets the inner thighs
- Sitting on the bed, place a rolled towel or bolster parallel with your spine.
- Slowly lay backwards, keeping feet touching and knees outwards.
- Hands can be across your chest, or laying palms facing ceiling on your sides.
- If you need support place a pillow under each thigh.
- Stay relaxed in the pose for 1 minute, and over time gradually increase this to 5-10 minutes.
Seated Side Bend:
- Targets the neck, shoulders, back, and obliques
- Sit on a pillow or folded blanket in a cross legged position
- Place left hand on floor to side of hip, left elbow slightly bent.
- Extend right arm by ear.
- Lean to left, keeping butt on floor, shoulders down.
- Hold for 10-15 seconds, switch sides
Child’s Pose with arms extended:
- Targets the hips and is a resting pose
- Kneel on your bed, with feet touching.
- Spread your knees outward for a deeper hip stretch.
- Extend your arms outward and place your hands infront of you
- Breath deeply
- Hold for 30-60 seconds
3. Learn which sleeping positions are best
Some sleeping positions can wreak havoc on your back during your slumber, and while there isn’t a ton of science behind which sleep position is “best” for your back, most will provide a slight modification that can be done that will help alleviate your back pain problems. The worst sleep position for your spine is sleeping on your stomach. Typically, sleeping on your stomach can flatten the natural curvature of your spine and put some additional strain on your muscles. But, once again, humans move around during their sleep, and that’s completely natural. Some easy sleeping hacks can be added into your bed that will keep your back from screaming at you in the morning.
- Add a pillow under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your spine
- Bring your knees slightly up towards your chest and sleep with a pillow between your knees. A full body pillow is great for this. For additional support, you could also try a pregnancy pillow.
- Place a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis to help alleviate the strain on your back and neck.
4. Upgrade your mattress
Sometimes the most expensive mattresses don’t add up to be the best for you and your body. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should change your mattress after 7-10 years. Take a moment and let that sink in. If you’re anything like us, you’ve got a pair of jeans (or 6) hanging in your closet that are at least 7 years old that you’re still holding out hope of ever fitting back into one day. With that said, how old is your mattress, really? Was it your first “adult” purchase with your spouse that you made as newlyweds ten years ago? If you’re suffering from back pain, the National Sleep Foundation suggests that you replace your mattress after as little as 5 years. The truth is, that statistic varies a bit, and is dependent on many factors such as how you sleep on your mattress, how often you rotate it, and even how many monkeys (or children) you have jumping on your bed on any given day. Luckily, the days of schlepping your entire family into a shady mattress store is gone, and owning a brand new, comfy mattress can be as easy as a click of a mouse, and waving goodbye to your postal worker as they drive away after delivery.
The NECTAR Sleep Mattress is a revolutionary mattress that has celebrities buzzing, and is the recommended mattress over at GearJunkie.com because it’s innovative and will change the way you sleep, for the better. It’s comprised of multiple layers (five, to be exact) that all form together to become the best mattress for lower back pain on the market, as well as bouncier than other premium foam mattresses. The first layer on top is the Tencel Cooling Cover that promotes good air circulation, and won’t leave you a hot and sweaty mess in the middle of the night. It’s also bedbug resistant and repels dust mites. Layer two is the quilted gel memory foam that provides air circulation, while contouring to cradle your body perfectly. Then there’s a gel memory foam that delivers perfect weight and pressure point relief. Layer four is an adaptive hi core memory foam that supports the body while providing bounce and resistance. Then finally, layer five is a breathable base layer that supports the top four layers, and provides a stable and comfortable base of firm foam. Find out more at mattermattress.com.
The NECTAR Sleep Memory foam is CertiPUR-US Certified. It’s made without ozone depleters, PBDEs, TDCPP, mercury, or lead.
Most people describe the NECTAR mattress as a medium-firm mattress that cradles the body, and you will soon learn that it’s the best mattress for lower back pain because of its resistance, yet ability to cradle all your pressure points, no matter which position you find yourself sleeping in in the morning. (If you’re anything like us, it’s usually a full bed crammed with multiple children sleeping in wonky directions.)
NECTAR mattress is also very convenient and affordable. You don’t have to pay a store or commission, because it arrives to your doorstep completely compressed and in its own bag with protective covering and built in handles, so it can easily be carried to your current bed base and set up within minutes. The handles make it easy to maneuver around corners and up stairs. It also works with all bed base types, from a box spring to a platform.
Our favorite part about purchasing the NECTAR mattress is that it comes with a risk-free 356 day guarantee. Sometimes the novelty of a new mattress will wear off within a few months, but NECTAR will give you an entire year to decide that you love your new mattress, or you can send it back with free shipping and returns. They will even pick it up from your home for you.
5. Take the right supplements
If you continue to have chronic back pain or neck pain, you may find yourself turning to supplements that may help out. Of course, eating correctly and exercising has also proven to help with back pain as well. If you’re looking to go the supplemental route, according to many studies, adding in the following supplements may help alleviate your back and neck pain. (As always, run this by your doctor prior to starting any dietary route.)
- Omega 3 fatty acids
- Glucosamine and chondroitin
- Methylsulfonylmethane (MSM)
- Devil’s claw
- Willow bark
- Capsaicin cream
If you’re looking to alleviate your painful neck crick, or help soften the chronic pain you deal with every single morning, we have faith that with a combination of some of the above suggestions, you’ll be singing a different, happier tune in the mornings to come. And if you’re looking for our favorite recommendation for the best mattress for lower back pain, look no further than the NECTAR Sleep mattress. You won’t be sorry!
Photo Credits: Kristen Lee Creative & Amber Mondalek