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Sleep Ergonomics


During the past 4 weeks, our social media theme has been sleep ergonomics. Ergonomics of Sleep - Nashville TN - East End Chiro As we wrap up July, let’s look at sleep from a different perspective. Many of our patients attribute their back pain, neck pain, and other musculoskeletal complaints to sleep-related events.  Here are the most common:

“Our mattress is old/worn out.”
“I must have ‘slept funny’.”
“I need a better pillow.”
“I’ve been travelling and sleeping in hotel beds.”
“We stayed at our in-laws’ house on a bad mattress.” (This is a very common misconception.  I think there could be a good psychological study on this phenomenon).

While all of these things can initiate an episode of musculoskeletal pain, it is important to consider the underlying structure and function of the area in which there is pain.  In other words, maybe it’s your back, not the mattress!

In reality, a musculoskeletal system that is functioning optimally should be able to withstand a few nights on a bad mattress, or falling asleep on the sofa, without causing pain or spasms.

Here’s how it works.

  1. When spinal joints are not moving properly, your central nervous system (brain and spinal cord) are quick to detect this problem, whether you are aware of it or not.
  2. Corrective neural impulses are sent from the central nervous system to nearby muscle groups to stabilize the dysfunctional area.
  3. Sleeping tends to relax some of this defensive posturing, leaving the weakened areas vulnerable to irritation.
  4. Upon waking, you attempt to move and “stir-up” these dysfunctional spinal joints
  5. Your central nervous system interprets this sudden movement as dangerous and responds by locking up all of the muscle groups around the dysfunctional area, essentially making a natural (and very painful) “splint” to stabilize the area.

This is most likely happening if you are waking up often with back and neck pain.

We can help!  In our office, we evaluate the motion patterns of your spine.  In most cases, we are able to identify the underlying dysfunction and correct it via spinal manipulation, muscle release techniques, and therapeutic exercise therapy.

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