Whether it’s patients consulting with him at his clinic or those he meets at corporate health camps, one of the most common questions spine specialist Dr Muralidharan Venkatesan gets asked is, “Doctor, how can I avoid back pain?”
“They usually have several questions,” the Chennai-based doctor explains, listing them out – What is the best sleeping position? How should one sit in a car or while riding a bike? What kind of mattress should one buy?
Gone are the days when back pain was considered an age-related predicament. "Now, even people in their 20s and 30s have started complaining. There are two main reasons for it – lifestyle and bad posture,” Dr Venkatesan observes. Most cases of back pain are benign and only about 20% of the cases need surgery, he points out.
From watching your weight to using the right mattress, there are several measures you can take to avoid benign back pain.
“Typically, there are two types of people who develop back pain due to bad posture. Either they go to bed without pain and get up with back pain – which indicates bad sleeping posture. Or they wake up fine and develop back pain during the day – which indicates bad posture during the day,” Dr Venkatesan explains.
So, how can you maintain good posture while sleeping, and what are the lifestyle changes you need to incorporate? We’ll tell you that in a bit, but here are a few things you need to understand first.
The shape of your spine and the 5-zoned support system
Your spine is shaped like an 'S' that allows flexibility. The 'S' is often forced into a 'C' when you sit or sleep in the wrong position. This could lead to pain and discomfort as it stresses out your back muscles, spinal joints and bones.
Not only is maintaining the ‘S’ important while we sleep, we also have to give the body the right kind of support at the right spots. The human body is divided into 5 zones – head and neck; shoulder and upper back; lower back and hips; upper leg and knee; and lower leg and ankle zones. Each of these zones requires different levels of support based on the weights exerted, and the mattress one sleeps on should ideally be able to provide different levels of support for each of these zones.
Avoiding back pain
So, here are a few specific points you need to keep in mind, as per Dr Venkatesan.
Sleep right: The best posture to sleep is on your back, so you face the ceiling when you are asleep. But if you keep your legs straight, there is too much stress on the back muscles as the ‘S’ shape is not maintained. So, keep a pillow under your knee, and this will also help maintain your normal spinal alignment.
Sleeping on the side is also a good idea, but you have to bend your hips a bit to maintain the right alignment of your spine.
The worst posture is to sleep on your stomach, which gives doesn’t give you a way to maintain the normal alignment of the spine and puts a lot of stress on your back muscles.
Watch your weight: In terms of lifestyle issues, being overweight is one of the most common causes of back pain. The rationale is pretty simple: excess body weight exerts more pressure on the back muscles and the spine, increasing the strain on the back. So, watch your weight by eating right and exercising regularly.
Dine a few hours before bedtime: With our busy lives and late workdays, one of the most common diet habits is to sleep as soon as you finish your dinner. When you go to sleep on a full stomach, you will be uncomfortable, and you will not be able to sleep in the right posture. It is good practice to eat a few hours before you sleep, eat light, and take a walk after dinner.
Strengthen your back: If you have a job which does not require you to walk around much and you spend all day at a desk, your back muscles do not get enough exercise. The lack of any major physical activity during the day must be balanced with regular exercise. From strengthening your core to simple back exercises, all you need is a few minutes of workout every day.
Quit Smoking: It has been clinically proven that smoking causes back pain. There is scientific evidence which proves that when you smoke, there is damage to the discs on the back due to reduced circulation of blood and nutrients to the discs. If you didn’t have enough reasons to quit smoking already, here is another!
Find the right mattress: You should have a scientifically designed and certified orthopaedic mattress which allows your natural body posture but also maintains your spinal alignment.
Duropedic Range: Tending to your back while you sleep
Speaking of mattresses, here is something you need to check out: the Duropedic Range from Duroflex. It is India’s only certified orthopaedic mattress range that has been tested and recommended by the National Health Academy. It has a specially-engineered orthopaedic layer that provides differentiated support and pressure relief to all 5 zones of the body.
Duroflex is the only mattress brand that has collaborated with orthopaedists to design a genuine orthopaedic mattress that provides the most advanced back support system available in the country. It has been developed at the Duroflex sleep lab in collaboration with renowned orthopaedists over a course of eight months of testing. It helps in everyday posture correction to restore spinal alignment and strengthen the back.
Click here and check out the seven different types of mattresses from the Duroflex Duropedic Range, or visit any of the Duroflex retail outlets across the country. You can also call/WhatsApp Duroflex at 9513000868 with your queries.
The range starts from just ₹8000 and comes with up to 10 years of warranty.
This article was created by TNM Brand Studio in association with Duroflex Mattresses.