Getting a better night’s sleep when you have spinal canal stenosis

Patients dealing with spinal canal stenosis, or narrowing of the spinal canal, often deal with pain, tingling, numbness and weakness, which can affect activities during the day as well as the ability to sleep at night. Adults sleep for approximately eight hours out of every 24, and this time is critical for both mental and physical wellness. Plus, our backs are especially vulnerable, especially if a person is sleeping in a position that puts excessive strain on the spine.

Nighttime pain prevention for spinal canal stenosis

Below are a few simple ways to ensure that your back is properly supported while you sleep and that spinal canal stenosis is not worsened. Before putting any of these tips into practice, be sure to consult with your doctor to make sure you are taking your individual needs into consideration:

  • Find a medium-firm mattress. Traditionally, people with back pain have chosen extremely firm mattresses, though new studies have shown that mattresses with too hard a density can actually make back pain worse. When gauging firmness, take into account the number of coils in the mattress, how far apart they are and the amount of padding that is on top of the mattress.
  • Consider a bed that is adjustable. If you have stenosis of the spine, lying down in a perfectly flat position may be very uncomfortable. Usually, elevating the sections of the mattress that are under the head and under the knees have proven to be the most helpful for people with spine pain.
  • If you sleep on your side, slide a pillow between your knees. If you sleep on your stomach, remove the pillow under your head and slide it under your abdomen. This way, the section of your spine that would normally collapse into the mattress is supported from beneath.

Practicing spinal health while sleeping can potentially help you wake up with less spinal stenosis pain. Do some light stretches first thing in the morning before getting out of bed to help with flexibility and circulation. This also helps prevent straining muscles that have been immobile during the night.

Finding long-term relief

If you have taken precautions to prevent your back pain as you sleep — in conjunction with other methods of conservative pain relief therapy — for several months and you still endure the debilitating discomfort of spinal canal stenosis, your doctor may suggest surgery. Contact Laser Spine Institute for more information about our minimally invasive outpatient procedures that are safer and effective alternatives^ to traditional open spine surgery.

Our caring and dedicated team will be happy to help you receive a no-cost MRI review* so you can find out if you are a potential candidate for one of our procedures.

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