Lower back pain often causes many doctor visits. The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS) states it's the main reason behind job-related disability. A minimum of 80% of individuals in the U.S. will likely struggle with low back pain at some point in their lifetime.

What Are the Causes of Lower Back Pain?

Injuries like muscle strains or sprains from poor body mechanics, or sudden movements while lifting heavy objects cause most low back pain. Common  causes of back pain in the lower back include:

  1. Strains

The ligaments and muscles in your back can tear or stretch because of excess activity. You'll likely feel muscle spasms, stiffness, and pain in your lower back. Physical therapy and rest can help with the symptoms.

  1. Disc injury

Your back discs are susceptible to injury, which increases as you age. The outside of your disc can herniate or tear.

Herniated discs, also referred to as ruptured or slipped discs, occur when the cartilage that surrounds your disc pushes against your nerve roots or spinal cord. The cushion sitting between your spinal vertebrae extends outside its regular position.

This can lead to nerve root compression as it exits from your spinal cord, and through your vertebral bones. Usually, you'd get a disc injury suddenly after you lifted something, or after you twisted your back. Pain from disc injury, unlike with back strains, typically last for over 72 hours.

  1. Sciatica

When your disc is pressing on your sciatic nerve with a herniated disc, it could lead to sciatica. The sciatic nerve connects your spine to your legs; therefore, sciatica could cause leg and feet pain. This pain often feels like pins and needles, or burning.

  1. Spinal Stenosis

This condition is where your spinal column narrows and adds pressure on your spinal nerves and spinal cord. It's often due to disc degeneration between your vertebrae, resulting in compression of your spinal cord and nerve roots by soft tissues or bony spurs.

Spinal nerve pressure could cause symptoms like:

  • Cramping
  • Numbness
  • Weakness

Your symptoms may become worse when walking or standing.

  1. Other Conditions

There are numerous other conditions that might cause low back pain, including:

  • Fibromyalgia: this is long-term tenderness and pain in your muscles, joints, and tendons
  • Arthritis: Joint inflammation
  • Spondylosis: A degenerative disorder that causes joint inflammation, and might lead to loss of normal spinal function and structure

What Are the Best Sleep Positions for Lower Back Pain?

Lower back pain can not only ruin your sleep at night, but if you're sleeping in a poor posture, too, it can make your existing pain worse. A poor sleep posture might even be what's causing your lower back pain, since certain positions could place pressure on your hips, back, and neck.

If you're experiencing low back pain during the night, you might want to try the following tips and postures that might offer you some relief:

  1. Sleep on Your Back While Supporting Both Your Knees

Lying on your back is typically believed to be the best sleep position for a healthy back. By doing so, you're distributing weight evenly throughout the full length of your body's biggest surface. It also ensures proper alignment of your neck, head, and spine, and minimizes pressure.

You can place a small pillow under your knees to offer extra support, and help maintain natural spine curve.

To adopt this sleep position, you should:

  • Lie on your back flat, and face the ceiling. Don't twist your head sideways.
  • Support your neck and head with a pillow
  • Put a small pillow under both your knees

For additional support, fill in any open spaces between your mattress and your body with a few pillows, like beneath your lower back.

  1. Sleep on Your Side While Placing a Pillow Between Both Your Knees

While lying on your side can be comfortable, it could also pull your spine out of position, straining your lower back. But, it's simple to correct this. You could simply put a firm pillow between both your knees, which will raise your upper leg, and restore the natural alignment of your pelvis, hips, and spine.

To adopt this sleep position, you should:

  • Roll to one side carefully after getting into bed
  • Support your neck and head with a pillow
  • Slightly pull both your knees in, and place a pillow between them

Fill in any open spaces between your mattress and your body with several pillows for extra support, particularly at your waist.

  1. Sleep in the Fetal Position

If you're suffering with a herniated disc, sleeping in a curled-up fetal position might provide you with some relief in the nighttime. This is because when you lie on your side, and tuck both your knees into your chest, it decreases the bending of your spine, and helps open your joints up.

To adopt this sleep position, you should:

  • Roll on to one side carefully after getting into bed
  • Support your neck and head with a pillow
  • Pull both your knees up towards your chest, until your back is fairly straight
  1. Sleep on Your Back While in a Reclined Position

When you sleep in a reclined position, it might benefit low back pain, especially if you have isthmic spondylolisthesis.

If substantial relief is found when you rest in a reclined chair, it might be worth investing in an adjustable bed you can position as you see fit.

  1. Sleep on Your Front While Having your Head Facing Down

Some would say sleeping on your front is not a good idea because by doing so, your head is usually turned to one side which can twist your spine, and place extra stress on your shoulders, neck, and back.

However, you can avoid this. First, try lying face down, and prop up your forehead with a tightly rolled-up towel or a firm pillow, allowing some room to breathe. You should also place a pillow under your stomach.

To adopt this sleep position, you should:

  • Roll onto your front after climbing into bed
  • Put a slim pillow under your hips and abdomen to raise your mid-section
  • Position a rolled-up towel or pillow under your forehead to create sufficient breathing room between your mattress and your mouth

What Are the Worst Sleep Positions for Lower Back Pain?

The worst position to sleep in is believed to be on your stomach. It's not good for your spine because it places the most pressure on the joints and muscles of your spine, since it flattens your spine's natural curve. It also causes you to have to turn your neck, which could cause upper back and neck pain.

Can Your Mattress Be Causing Your Lower Back Pain?

A mattress can play a significant role in reducing or preventing lower back pain because it's a principal means of supporting your body while you sleep.

Good spinal alignment requires a mattress that's in great condition, and doesn't excessively sag. A medium-firm mattress is the best mattress to use for combating lower pain, although the proper firmness could vary based on your:

  • Body shape
  • Weight
  • Comfort preferences
  • Sleep position

What Is the Best Mattress for Lower Back Pain? 

Again, a medium-firm mattress is what you'll want to aim for for lower back pain. Latex is great. It's pressure relieving, and contouring. When you sleep on a hard mattress, it may be too firm, and this could lead to more pain. If your mattress is too soft, it can lead to too much sinkage, and this can cause your joints to twist, which can also be painful.

A medium-firm latex mattress provides the body-cradling qualities of memory foam, but it also offers cushioned support. It provides these things without harmful chemicals, too. But, you'll want to check the latex mattress you're considering buying to ensure it's 100% natural, like a mattress from Latex For Less that contains no additional chemicals or fillers.

Tips to Sleep Better With Lower Back Pain

Obtaining quality sleep is an essential part of recovering from low back pain, but to sleep well might seem like a challenging task when your back is hurting. While you won't find any guaranteed ways of obtaining better sleep with lower back pain, these tips could helps:

  1. Find a supportive sleep position. Sleeping on your side is ideal, but regardless of the position you decide on, ensure your spine is well-aligned. You can use a couple pillows for body support, if needed.
  2. Avoid or reduce caffeine and alcohol intake . While alcohol might help you fall asleep, it could throw the quality of your sleep off. Caffeine is a stimulant, therefore could make it more difficult to fall and stay asleep.
  3. Try relaxation techniques. Find techniques that will help you wind down, and put you in a good state of mind for sleeping while reducing your focus on your pain.
  4. Decrease potential sleep disturbances. If you wake up at night inadvertently, pain might make it more difficult to go back to sleep. Because of this, try and eliminate light and noise from your bedroom. You can try earplugs and/or a mask to block them out. Set the temperature in your bedroom to be comfortable during the night.

Focusing on your sleep hygiene could enhance your sleeping habits, thereby reducing your lower back pain, and improving sleep quality.

Be sure to see your doctor for additional tips, and to help you manage your back pain.

The Latex For Less Mattress Benefits for Lower Back Pain

Some benefits of sleeping on a Latex For Less mattress when you have back pain are:

  1. Offers proper body and spinal alignment. Natural latex offers buoyant qualities that offer both firmness and surface cushion. It keeps your lower back supported while cradling your body. This results in a combination of proper spinal alignment, body alignment, and pressure point relief. And, this could lead to noticeable lower back pain relief, too.
  2. Decreases surface pressure. Pains and aches could also lead to you tossing and turning all night. When you're dealing with a painful condition, like lower back pain, restlessness is particularly troubling. Just turning your body in the wrong way could lead to unbearable pain. A latex mattress is made for reducing surface pressure, so you'll be less likely to toss and turn at night, and aggravate your back pain.
  3. Sleeps cool. Latex doesn't sweat or trap body heat, so you won't be constantly tossing your blankets on and off of you all night long.
  4. Provides a springy feel. If you're a person who likes to switch sleep positions during the night, it's simple to do so on a latex mattress, since it's a springy material. You never sink deeply into a latex mattress, which could make it hard to move.

These are only some ways a Latex For Less mattress can help with lower back pain. You can visit the Latex For Less website to learn more about our natural latex mattress's features and benefits.

Elizabeth Magill

Elizabeth Magill is a professional freelance writer and editor who holds an MBA. Liz specializes in writing about health news, medical conditions, healthy living, small business, career and work, personal finance, and green-living, including news and trending topics in these specialties. Her clients include Healthline, The Motley Fool, GoBanking Rates, LIVESTRONG.com, Big Interview, HealthNews, Intuit Small Business Blog, Intuit Health, American News Report, Travels.com, IFX Medical, and many others. She’s also a published eBook author and ghost writer for various clients in the health, medical, career, small business, and personal finance niches.