New research from the British Chiropractic Association (BCA) has highlighted that middle age is the most likely time in our lives to become affected by back and neck pain, and the most likely cause is incorrect posture. The research into this age group (45-54), found that 39% of people who have suffered from back or neck pain identify sleeping/mattress as the trigger for those aches, and 58% admit pain prevents them from sleeping.
With a huge 87% of people in this group saying they wake up with back or neck pain – approximately 13% on a daily basis, the BCA is now urging people to pay attention to their sleeping habits.
As we get older, our bodies begin to take the toll of years of incorrect posture, which then makes us more susceptible to developing back pain. For many this pain is triggered by sleep.
So what is the best sleeping position? At Shrewsbury Chiropractic Clinic, we recommend sleeping on your side, which stops your neck from being twisted all night. This allows your spine to be parallel to the mattress and should not sag (if the bed is too soft) or bow (if the bed is too hard). We also advise patients to take care on waking and not to get up suddenly or doing anything too strenuous ‘first thing’,as your back hasn’t properly woken up. Devoting time to exercise in the daytime is also an important step to build muscle tone and promote good posture.
Neil Robinson, a sleep expert from Sealy says, “We recently conducted a world sleep census which revealed that almost a third of people aged 45-54 say they never wake up feeling refreshed. To help ensure you get a restful night’s sleep it’s important to have a good mattress. Numerous people consider their mattress to be a dull purchase, but investing in a mattress which is tailored to be supportive for you is so important for your health”.
Difficulty sleeping, including a poor mattress is the third most common trigger for British people with back or neck pain, affecting 34% of those people.
Here are our top tips for those of you who struggle to sleep:
• Update your mattress: Chiropractors recommend buying a new mattress at least every 10 years. Mattresses lose their support over time, so if you can feel the springs through your mattress, or the mattress is no longer level, your mattress is no longer providing the support you need. Those looking for a new mattress can now choose the one that’s right for them with Sealy’s innovative new bed selector app: www.sealy.co.uk/bed-selector/
• Buy the right mattress: Ensure your mattress is supportive for you. If you share a bed with your partner, you could look at purchasing two single mattresses which can be joined together, to ensure you both get the support you need.
• Start your day right: Don’t get out of bed too quickly in the morning as this could lead to injury. When you first wake up, try doing some gentle stretches and avoid doing anything too strenuous or making any sudden movements
• Get moving: Activities such as yoga, pilates and tai chi, which can improve posture, are recommended for people in the 45-54 age group. Other exercise which helps build your abdominal muscles could also help to protect your back. When exercising, warming up and warming down is essential to ensure that your joints and muscles don’t get a shock.
• Straighten Up: The BCA’s Straighten Up UK programme offers a series of daily exercises to help build muscle tone and improve posture. Find these here.
The research was carried out between 27/01/2016 and 02/02/2016