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Everything you need to know about sleep to help you reduce and manage back pain so you can move with ease and confidence

Everything you need to know about sleep to help you reduce and manage back pain so you can move with ease and confidence

When you experience pain that keeps you from falling asleep, getting comfortable in bed, staying asleep through the night because it wakes you up, or even feeling like you didn’t sleep when you wake up the next day, it can be frustrating.

Sleep is SO important to our overall health that having interrupted sleep or not enough sleep can affect all areas of your health, not just how tired you feel.

These are some of the things that I do to increase comfort levels:

Lavender:

A lovely and relaxing scent to smell in the evening before bed. You can use it in a diffuser. Be careful if you have pets as some oils may not be suitable.

Sleep schedule:

Plan out a bedtime schedule where you sleep and wake up around the same time each day. Try to be consistent and do this even on weekends.

Getting enough sleep:

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep each night, but in general you should aim for 8-9 hours. Some people need less and some need more. If you aren’t getting enough sleep, make a schedule of everything you do in a day and see what you can shift around or eliminate so you can prioritize your sleep. If you find yourself binge-watching a TV show before bed, maybe try cutting down a bit and sleep earlier 😉

Sleep positions:

Side and back sleeping are the best positions for back pain. Using a pillow under the knees or between the knees can put the back in a neutral position and reduce tension on the joints in your back. Stomach sleeping is generally not recommended because this tends to put the most pressure on the back joints.

Routine:

Having a bedtime routine cues the mind for bed. Doing similar things each night to get you feeling more relaxed can be a great way to fall asleep faster. Avoiding bright lights or blue lights, screens, work, and intense activities can be helpful on top of doing more relaxing things such as reading a book, having herbal tea, meditation, journaling, or any of the other things mentioned in this post.

Relaxing:

You want to aim to feel relaxed. When you are able to relax the mind, you can easily relax the body. They are connected. Sometimes we have a million thoughts in our minds at the end of the day and it can keep us up at night. Writing down your thoughts or doing a guided meditation can be so helpful for this. If you are feeling tension in your body, a yin yoga sequence or stretches, a warm bath/shower or a heating pad may be helpful.

Magnesium:

Many people are deficient in magnesium and it usually shows up as tense, tight, stiff muscles. Either using magnesium topically, in epsom salt baths, or as a supplement may be helpful. Speak to your healthcare practitioner to see which is best for you.

Products that can help:

Water Pillow – I love using a water pillow which you can purchase by clicking on this link here (this is the brand that I use). The water moves with you so you may feel less tension in the neck. This may also help you sleep better without tossing and turning as much, reducing tension in the back as well. It may also be beneficial for upper back pain.

Body Pillow – Great to use while lying down on your side. You can place the bottom part between the knees and then hug the top, keeping your entire spine in neutral position. This is also good for mid or upper back pain.

Lavender Essential Oil

Essential Oil Diffuser

Ancient Minerals Magnesium Oil or Magnesium Salts

Mattress – while I don’t have brand recommendations, you should choose a firm but comfortable mattress. Replace this every 8-10 years and try to rotate or flip it every few months as needed.

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Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

Signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency

magnesium deficiency

So, how do you actually know if you have a magnesium deficiency?

These are some of the signs and symptoms that may be related to magnesium deficiency:

  • Muscle cramps
  • Twitching
  • Charlie horses (intense cramping of the calf muscles)
  • Tight and stiff muscles
  • Reduced range of motion
  • Low bone density (osteoporosis, osteopenia)
  • Chronic pain

Here’s what you need to know about magnesium deficiency and why it’s so important for your health:

  1. Up to 90% of North Americans may be deficient in this important mineral.
  2. Magnesium is depleted in our soils so it is hard to get from food sources.
  3. Magnesium is used in over 800+ functions in our bodies.
  4. Without magnesium, your muscles cannot relax.
  5. Stress and exercise will deplete magnesium faster.
  6. Alcohol, certain medications, and supplements may reduce magnesium or interfere with absorption
  7. Gut disorders, food sensitivities, or allergies may reduce magnesium absorption

Here are some foods that contain magnesium:

  • Nuts and seeds (almonds, pumpkin seeds, pine nuts, sunflower seeds, cashews, brazil nuts, etc.)
  • Raw cacao powder
  • Dark leafy greens such as spinach, kale, swiss chard
  • Legumes (ie. peas, soy, lentils, etc.)

Source: https://www.dietitians.ca/Downloads/Factsheets/Food-Sources-of-Magnesium.aspx

Here are some other ways that you can get magnesium on top of food since food sources alone may not be enough:

  • Epsom salts bath
  • Magnesium oils or lotions
  • High quality professional supplements from your licensed healthcare practitioner

If you are experiencing some of the signs and symptoms of magnesium deficiency, speak to your healthcare practitioner today to find out what is best for you.

Never make any changes to your health without speaking to your healthcare practitioner first. Never start a supplement without consulting your healthcare practitioner. There may be interactions with some supplements or medications. Please read the disclaimer.

Disclaimer

The information contained in this blog is not intended to be used as medical advice and should not be used as a substitute for a professional diagnosis or treatment. This does not create a patient-doctor relationship and therefore any comments or communication are not subject to patient-doctor confidentiality. For specific questions or concerns regarding your medical health, please see your family physician or chiropractor. If you think you may be suffering from a medical condition, please seek immediate medical attention.

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