Back pain is one of the most common ailments afflicting bedridden patients. Alongside bed sores, back pain is a leading cause of poor quality of life and suffering for patients who are confined to bed. People who spend a long time in bed can expect to suffer some degree of back pain, especially if they don’t take precautions.
However, with proper management and an understanding of the causes of back pain, it is possible to alleviate the symptoms and reduce the pain patients suffer.
Understanding the Causes of Bedridden Back Pain
The human body did not evolve to spend long periods immobile. Our bones, muscles, and joints are most healthy when we exercise them regularly. For bedridden patients, regular exercise may not be possible, leading to a variety of health problems, including back pain. Common causes of bedridden back pain include.
- Lack of movement. Healthy people reposition themselves automatically so that no part of their body is under too much pressure for too long. Bedridden patients with bodily weakness may not be able to reposition themselves to adjust the forces acting on their bodies.
- Pressure on the spine. Remaining in the same position, especially an uncomfortable position or one that doesn’t distribute pressure evenly, can lead to damage or distortion of the spine and back muscles.
- Incorrect positioning. Sleeping in a position in which the spine is not correctly aligned can cause back pain in even healthy people. The problem is compounded for bedridden people with mobility issues because they may not be able to change to a more comfortable position.
- Muscle atrophy. Long-term immobility causes the muscles of the back to atrophy and shorten. Weak muscles are unable to properly support the complex array of bones, tendons, nerves, and discs that make up the spine and the back, often causing severe back pain.
Tips for Avoiding and Reducing Bedridden Back Pain
The causes of bedridden back pain fall into two main categories: lack of movement and improper positioning. Alleviating back pain involves making it easier for the patient to move, exercise, and change position regularly.
Get Out Of Bed For Short Periods
For some bedridden patients, getting out of bed is not possible. But those who are mobile to some degree benefit from regularly getting out of bed for short periods. Leaving the bed helps the patient to move muscles and joints and gently exercise, alleviating pressure on the back and reducing muscle atrophy.
Home hospital beds with adjustable height such as the Supernal Hi-Low and beds with tilting adjustments such as the Supernal 5 can help patients get out of bed more easily, both on their own and with the help of a carer.
Exercise In Bed
An exercise program that can be carried out while in bed can have many of the same benefits as getting out of bed. Even short periods of exercise that work the muscles of the back can slow muscle atrophy and maintain back health.
To learn more about exercising in bed read 5 Exercises to Do From Your Home Hospital Bed.
Regularly Change Position
If you are able, regularly change position in your bed to redistribute the forces that act on your spine. If you are unable to change position, a home hospital bed with electric head and foot adjustments will help you to sit up and lie down more easily. For patients who cannot move even with an adjustable electric bed, a pressure-relief mattress can be used to change their position gently.
Sleep in a Position That Correctly Aligns the Spine
Your spine should be aligned in a natural position when you are sleeping. If your spine isn’t correctly aligned, the forces it experiences are not correctly distributed, a common cause of back pain.
It is possible to achieve a comfortable alignment sleeping on your back, front, or side, but the pillows and mattress you use will have an impact on whether your preferred sleeping position is good for your back. For example, you will need thinner or fewer pillows when lying on your back than when lying on your side.
A poorly engineered mattress will not support you properly or distribute weight optimally. Transfer Master hospital bed mattresses including the Ascent Hospital Bed Mattress and the Soft Touch Memory Foam Mattress use progressive laminated foam or memory foam to ensure that weight is evenly distributed and that achieving a natural spinal alignment is easier.
If you would like to learn more about how an adjustable hospital bed with a high-quality hospital bed mattress can help with back pain for bedridden patients, talk to one of our bed experts today.