Positioning Myself to Be Pain-Free

Positioning Myself to Be Pain-Free

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbye to Back Pain!

Positioning Myself to Be Pain-Free

Ice packs, ibuprofen and massages had become a routine part of my existence. Every five to six weeks, I would wake up with a stiff neck, or I would turn the wrong way in the course of my day and end up with what felt like a knotted up shoulder blade. The pain would radiate down my back, up into my neck and lead to a splitting headache. The pain came and went in this pattern over a three-year period.

I learned to live with and manage these episodes, but the regularity with which they occurred became more frequent. The flare-ups exhausted me physically and mentally. I made myself go about my daily tasks, but the pain was distracting. I often couldn’t devote my full attention to anything because of the ache.

One day, I found myself resting on the couch watching an afternoon talk show. The guest on this particular day was a back expert. They were discussing the most common causes of back pain and how it could be treated and/or managed. Needless to say, I listened intently. What I learned completely changed my life for the better. The expert talked about sleep positioning being a major contributor to back pain. I learned that my back and neck did not get the support they needed when I slept on my stomach or my side. I had been a tummy sleeper for as long as I could remember! The good news was that a change of sleep position could help. I was ready to give it a shot!

I began to force myself to sleep on my back. This was not easy for me. It took me several hours to fall asleep those first few nights. I also caught myself turning to the side and having to readjust myself. I had to train my body to sleep in this new position. The training would pay off, though. After a week, back sleeping became much easier, and over the course of a few months, I noticed something. I hadn’t had to buy any ibuprofen! It was working. I hadn’t experienced any back pain.

I’m now about six months into my new sleep routine, and so far I’ve only had one flare-up in my back. Not surprisingly, it was after a few nights of slipping back into tummy sleeping. I know that there are a number of reasons for back pain and that what has worked for me might not work for someone else, but going “back” to sleep has positioned me to be pain-free.

~ Kimberly M. Hutmacher ~

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