Sleep quality and duration are strong indicators of overall health and quality of life and should be considered a vital sign. According to the CDC, around 70 million Americans suffer from chronic sleep problems that are associated with chronic diseases, poor overall well-being, increased health care costs and productivity at work. While these problems may be critically under-assessed in our nation, chiropractic care can help to improve sleep insufficiency and sleep disorders.
How Does Pain Affect Sleep?
The 2015 Sleep in America Poll conducted by the National Sleep Foundation reported pain as a significant factor between the amount of sleep Americans say they need and the amount the are actually getting. The national, random-sample survey found that 21 percent of Americans experience chronic pain and 36 percent have had acute pain the past week. Individuals experiencing acute or chronic pain are more likely to have sleep insufficiency impact their work performance and daily lives. Usually pain does not interrupt sleep patterns at first, but when it becomes a problem, it can be a vicious cycle. When individuals experience chronic pain, they feel less control over their sleep and tend to worry more about the lack of sleep affecting their health. Lower back pain, neck and shoulder pain can all lead to a poor night’s rest.
How Can a Chiropractor Help?
When the spine is misaligned, due to accidents or injury, pain is a very common symptom. Both the pain and associated anxiety of subluxations, or spinal misalignments, can tremendously interfere with sleep patterns. Subluxations can compress the nerves, leaving a lack of communication between the spine and the brain. Stress response then kicks in, putting the body out of balance and unable to rest properly. Traditional chiropractic adjustments combined with new techniques, such as Active Release Technique (ART), are effective for not only decreasing immediate pain symptoms and improving blood flow in the nervous system, but also reducing the likelihood of future problems. Rather than relying on sleeping pills or prescription medication, correcting subluxations in the vertebrae can help to resolve the problem instead of putting a temporary band-aid on it.
The Importance of Sleep Hygiene
Keeping your spine in neutral is an important aspect of sleep hygiene. Because of the way your spine is shaped, forward curves at the neck and lower back and backward sway in the middle, it’s important to find a position that is both natural and comfortable. Finding the perfect mattress and pillow that will keep your spine aligned and stress-free plays a significant role in preventing misalignment. The American Chiropractic Association reports sleeping on your back puts approximately 50 pounds of pressure on your spine, so other positions may be best. Neutral positions are different according to how a person sleeps:
- Back sleepers: place a pillow under the knees to help the back curve naturally and help low back pain;
- Side sleepers: keep a pillow between the knees to take pressure off of the hips;
- Stomach sleepers: a flat pillow can be placed under the stomach to support a neutral spine.
A healthy spine is an essential part of a healthy lifestyle. When your body regains normal functioning without pain, you are able to achieve much needed rest. If you are experiencing disruption in your sleep patterns, take a positive and neutral approach to your healthcare today by making an appointment with us at http://www.carolinaactivehealth.com/contact-us/ .