It’s a problem many people experience when they have chronic pain, particularly back or hip pain. Often, the pain worsens when they lie down or are sitting for prolonged periods of time. After being sedentary, movement increases the pain in the troublesome area. It makes resting difficult and can keep you from getting a good night’s sleep. It can make mornings terrible and, if you have a desk job, it can make your days more painful.
It’s common to believe that when you’re in pain the best option to stay still. However, that can lead to more problems and pain. Furthermore, pain worsening during rest can indicate particular problems that a physical therapist can help fix. This is why it’s so important to let your doctor and physical therapist know that your pain worsens during and after rest.
Pain Worsens Due To Lack Of Circulation
There are a number of reasons why your pain may worsen while sleeping, lying down, or sitting for a long period of time. One of these reasons is directly related to your circulation or lack thereof. When you’re sedentary for a prolonged period of time, your circulation decreases. This is why many people find themselves feeling stiff when waking up or after sitting and watching a movie. This stiffness can cause your pain to worsen, especially around the joints. It can also cause an increase in pain in the lower back and hip area.
Moving around every 15-20 minutes during the day can help keep your blood circulating, which help eliminate stiffness and pain. During the night, however, this is impossible. Instead, doing light exercises first thing in the morning to get your blood moving, along with stretching, can help eliminate morning stiffness. This exercising doesn’t need to be nor should be intense, but rather just enough to get your heart pumping and blooding circulating.
Just like any position, whether standing, sitting, lying down, or moving, the wrong posture or alignment can cause pain or contribute to the pain you’re already experiencing. Sitting incorrectly, especially for a prolonged period of time, can cause back pain, neck pain, and hip pain. As with any position, the goal is to keep the body aligned naturally. For sitting, this means the knees kept straight and at a ninety-degree angle. The head should also be straight to avoid straining the neck. However, even sitting and resting in the proper position can add to your pain if you sit for too long, causing stiffness. Changing positions and even getting up to move around can help prevent stiffness and pain.
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Indeed, even when you’re lying down and sleeping, your posture matters. Sleeping in the wrong position could be contributing to your pain and even be the reason for pain. Stomach sleepers often report increased lower back pain. While the “halfsies” – those that sleep half on their stomach and half on their side – may find more pain in their hips.
Sleeping positions can vary greatly. There is no “one size fits all” correct sleeping position. Rather it depends on the person’s condition and problem. Furthermore, there are ways to alter how you sleep without changing your position, as this can take days and even months to fix. For example, belly sleepers may have increased neck and back pain. However, using a soft pillow or none at all can help keep your body aligned in a natural position. Similar to those who experience hip pain, your position could be the one to blame. Keeping your hips aligned with a pillow between your legs could help. Your mattress and pillow can also affect your pain over your sleeping position.
A sleep specialist can help you determine the best position and if your current position is contributing to the problem. Speaking to someone who specializes in body alignment can also help you work on positions that will decrease and even eliminate your pain.