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Low Back Pain and Sleep Part 1

backpain2LBP or low back pain can be as a result of many causes such as twisting, bending, lifting, pulling, and pushing. LBP can also be caused by sleep. And this comes in many ways such as sleeping in a crooked way or faulty position like falling asleep in a chair or on a couch or while riding a car. Lack of sleep can also lead to LBP. So, the question that everyone should ask is what amount of sleep should one get to feel restored and what amount of sleep do one needs to avoid LBP?

It’s been confirmed that lack of sleep or chronic sleep can cause serious health issues such as (but not limited to) heart attack, irregular heartbeat, diabetes, stroke, heart disease, heart failure, and high blood pressure. Sleepiness can lead to a disaster as seen in the case of 1979 nuclear accident at Three Mile Island and the 1986 nuclear disaster at Chernobyl, as well as the oil spill from Exxon Valdez. When we’re deprived of sleep, our reaction time is slowed down, and thus, driving safety becomes a major issue.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, fatigue leads to over 100,000 crashes annually with 1,500 yearly crash-related deaths in the U.S. This issue is greatest among persons aged below 25 years. Moreover, job-related injuries are reportedly more frequently; particularly repeat injuries, among workers who complain of daytime sleepiness, which also leads to more sick days. Ideally, it’s clearly published that sleep plays a major role in learning and thinking. Lack of sleep impairs general cognitive function, alertness, reasoning, attention, and concentration. Additionally, lack of sleep makes it more difficult to learn efficiently. Getting into a deep sleep cycle also plays a vital role as far as consolidating memories in the brain is concerned.

As such, it’s advisable that you get to a deep sleep stage of around 4 hours of uninterrupted sleep, so you can have easy time remembering what you’ve learned. An interesting study from University of Pennsylvania showed that those who slept less than 5 hours a night for 7 nights felt angry, sad, stressed, and mentally exhausted. Another study also reported that of 10,000 people, over time, lack of sleep (insomnia) hikes the chance for developing clinical depression by 5-fold. Other clinical studies have talked of the many other negative side effects of sleep deprivation, which according to them; include weight gain, forgetfulness, aging of the skin, and more.

In regard to LBP, what comes first? Does LBP lead to sleep interference or does sleep deprivation result in LBP (or both)? It’s been indicated that loss of sleep can lower your pain tolerance and pain threshold, thereby, making any existing pain to feel worse, so it’s a two-way traffic. Specific to low back pain, a 28-year, 902 metal worker study showed that insomnia and/or nightmares predicted a 2.1-fold increase in back pain hospitalizations with one and 2.4-fold increase with both causes of insomina and nightmares. Other studies have indicated that patients who suffer from chronic low back pain have less restful sleep and more electroencephalogram (EEG) sleep than controls. Ideally, similar pattern differences using EEG (measures brain waves) have been proven when comparing patients with chronic LBP with vs. without depression compared to controls with no LBP and are not depressed.

Therefore, the bottom line is: consult your chiropractor because they can help reduce low back pain, stress, and facilitate sleep. Your chiropractor will also discuss with you about the nutritional benefits of Valerian root and melatonin.

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