Weighted Blankets and Back Pain
Weighted blankets are often used as a treatment for anxiety and insomnia, but they may also be helpful for people who experience chronic pain.
If you’re considering using a weighted blanket for pain relief, it’s important to consult with your doctor first to make sure it’s safe for you. Some conditions, such as joint problems or osteoporosis, may be aggravated by the added weight of a blanket.
Can a weighted blanket cause back pain?
Let’s take a look at the research.
Table of Contents
How do weighted blankets work for back pain?
Weighted blankets provide deep pressure which works to reduce back pain by triggering the production of natural hormones. This deep pressure touch helps people relax, resulting in improved sleep. Despite this, some people experience back pain due to the pressure of the blanket itself or their condition worsens after sleeping with a weighted blanket.
It is recommended to combine a weighted blanket with physiotherapy for optimal results.
Weighted blankets can be used to help relieve back pain, but they must be used correctly and in the right circumstances.
Can a weighted blanket cause pain?
No, a weighted blanket is not harmful to health, but it is important to take certain precautions if you are considering using one. Weighted blankets can help with both acute and chronic pain, but they may also cause discomfort if they are too heavy or not properly adjusted to the body.
It is not uncommon to experience a tingling sensation when using a weighted blanket, but if it causes pain, it is best to discontinue use. In order to ensure that you are using a comfortable weighted blanket that does not create discomfort, it is best to select one that is not too heavy and to adjust your sleeping position to reduce the amount of pressure on your body.
What is a weighted blanket?
A weighted blanket is a type of sleeping accessory designed to provide deep pressure touch for those with special needs, such as those living with autism and ADHD, sleeping, and sensory disorders. A weighted blanket is a therapeutic blanket that weighs between 5 and 30 pounds. It is usually made of cotton or fleece fabric with pockets filled with removable, evenly dispersed items (typically metal or plastic beads) sewn in.
While many people report feeling relaxed and comfortable with the weighted blanket, others experience pain and discomfort. This is often due to the blanket being too heavy and restrictive, or because the person is sleeping in a position they normally wouldn’t.
This begs the question: Is a weighted blanket a pain reliever or causer?
How it works?
The purpose of the added weight is to simulate deep pressure therapy, which is a type of therapeutic technique that alleviates anxiety by distributing an even amount of weight across the body. Weighted blankets are designed to reduce stress and promote feelings of relaxation, which can help people fall asleep more quickly. Weighted blankets are also used in physical therapy as an at-home measure to provide similar benefits to deep pressure therapy.
Weighted Blanket – a Pain Reliever?
Research has found that weighted blankets can help with both acute and chronic pain. In a study, 94 participants with chronic pain used either a light or weighted blanket for one week with the heavier weighted blanket resulting in greater reductions of chronic pain. Weighted blankets can also help with one-off aches and pains by reducing symptoms of anxiety as they activate the parasympathetic nervous system and put your mind and body in a state of ease.
However, it is also important to consider the potential for a weighted blanket to cause pain. If the blanket is too heavy, it can cause discomfort and even back pain. Therefore, it is essential to choose a blanket that weighs no more than 10 to 20 percent of your body weight, and to adjust if necessary.
In conclusion, a weighted blanket can be a pain reliever for those suffering from chronic pain and anxiety, although it may also cause pain if it is too heavy or restrictive.
Are weighted blankets bad for your back?
While some individuals find relief with a weighted blanket, others have reported that their back pain was exacerbated by using one due to the pressure of the blanket or because the blanket was too heavy or not properly adjusted.
Statistics show that the most common cause of lower back pain is poor sitting and sleeping posture or repetitive strain injury, and these cannot be attributed to a weighted blanket alone.
Weighted blankets can be hard to move around and difficult to use for people with mobility issues.
But there are also many deep pressure calming activities you can do to relax muscles and joints by providing input to the proprioceptive and sensory systems.
Weighted blanket sciatica
Weighted blankets can be a powerful tool for managing back pain, including sciatica. While weighted blankets may not be the right choice for everyone, there are a few steps you can take to ensure you get the most out of the therapy.
First, it is essential to check with your doctor before using a weighted blanket to determine if it is the right choice for your sciatica. Once you have received the green light, make sure you purchase a blanket that is both the right weight and size for you. This will ensure that the blanket fits your body shape and size to provide the most optimal pressure.
Before going to bed, doing yoga, meditation, or breathing exercises can help relax your muscles, and a warm bath can help you relax even further. Most importantly, try to focus on the sensation of the blanket against your body rather than your chronic pain.
By following these steps and selecting the right weighted blanket for your needs, you can enjoy the benefits of deep pressure therapy and potentially reduce your sciatica pain.
What are the benefits of using a weighted blanket?
The benefits of using a weighted blanket include improved sleeping experience, alleviation of anxiety, improved sleep quality, calming of the nervous system, reduced pain perception, improved circulation, reduced stress levels, and increased serotonin levels. Weighted blankets are effective for people with anxiety, insomnia, work stress, autism, ADHD, and PTSD. Studies have also indicated that individuals who experienced chronic pain had decreased pain perception after using a weighted blanket. A 2020 study has further found that weighted blankets improved sleep in people with major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and ADHD.
Are there any risks in using a weighted blanket?
1. Chest Pain
The risk of chest pain when using a weighted blanket is increased due to the additional pressure that it can put on the chest. This is especially true for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory conditions. The extra pressure on the chest can make it difficult to breathe and can cause chest pain. Additionally, the pressure placed on the chest by the weighted blanket can put extra strain on the ribs, which can lead to chest pain.
2. Neck Pain
Using a weighted blanket can be beneficial in preventing and alleviating back pain. However, it can also cause neck pain if not used correctly. If the blanket is too heavy and the weight is not evenly distributed or the posture is not good, a weighted blanket can cause neck pain and put strain on the muscles and joints in the neck.
3. Low Back Pain
The risk of low back pain when using a weighted blanket is an increased chance of developing chronic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis, as well as an increased likelihood of straining or tearing the muscles in the back if the incorrect form is used during physical activity.
10. Injury from the Weighted Blanket
The risks of using a weighted blanket may include:
- Weak muscles or an older adult using a too heavy blanket, which can adversely affect their body, including bones and joints.
- People with asthma or obstructive sleep apnea may feel suffocated.
- Infants and aged adults may not have the strength to remove the quill if an emergency arises.
- Chronic pain sufferers may wake up feeling tired, achy, and in pain.
Can sleeping with a weighted blanket make you sore?
Sleeping with a weighted blanket can cause feelings of soreness and pain for some people. This is because the blanket can be too heavy and restrictive or it can cause them to sleep in a position they normally wouldn’t, resulting in waking up feeling tired, achy, and sometimes in pain.
What is Back Pain?
Back pain is a common physical ailment that is caused by a wide range of factors. It can be a sharp pain localized in a certain area of the back, or it can be a dull pain that radiates over the entire back. The end effect in both cases is the same: discomfort. Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, often preventing people from engaging in work and daily activities.
What Causes Back Pain?
There are a variety of causes for back pain, ranging from physical activities such as heavy lifting and sports, to more chronic conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis. Back pain can become more common with age, due to the lack of exercise and nutritious meals, as well as smoking.
Weighted blankets have been found to be an effective method for reducing back pain and muscle soreness.
Weighted blankets are becoming increasingly popular for their potential health benefits, but they can also cause back pain if not used correctly. When using a weighted blanket, it is important to make sure that the weight is spread evenly across the body. This ensures that the pressure on the back is not too intense and the muscles are not strained.
The Best Back Pain Sleep Position
The best back pain sleep position is sleeping on your side, as it is linked to better sleep quality and less neck and upper back pain. This position can be further supported with a small pillow under your lower stomach to prevent your spine from sagging.
Stomach sleepers should be aware that using a weighted blanket may increase pressure on their lower spine, leading to more back pain. It is important to manage back pain from sleep as it can lead to poor sleep quality, sleep disturbance, reduced sleep duration, dissatisfaction and distress, difficulty falling asleep and problems with functioning during the day.
Can weighted blankets cause hip pain?
Weighted blankets can cause hip pain if they are too heavy for a person’s body weight. People have reported experiencing discomfort, such as back and hip pain, after using a weighted blanket. This is because a blanket that is too heavy and restrictive can cause the user to sleep in an unnatural position, which can cause sore muscles the next day.
Can weighted blankets cause leg pain?
Weighted blankets are often suggested as a way to help people with chronic pain, but there is anecdotal evidence from individuals who say the blanket has caused them discomfort. Some customers claim that a weight blanket worsened their back pain, or even caused new pain. This can be due to the weight of the blanket or feeling of being “squished”.
Therefore, it is possible that weighted blankets can cause leg pain, especially to those who already suffer from lower back discomfort. It is important to speak to a doctor before using a weighted blanket to ensure that it is the right fit for the individual’s needs.
Can weighted blankets cause joint pain?
Weighted blankets are sometimes suggested as a means of helping people who suffer from chronic pain, but they can ironically produce feelings of pain and discomfort themselves. While scientific studies don’t yet exist on the topic, anecdotal evidence suggests that weighted blankets can cause joint pain due to being too heavy and restrictive, or causing people to sleep in a position they normally wouldn’t.
How does a weighted blanket help with chronic pain?
Weighted blankets have been found to help people living with chronic pain in various ways.
- they help reduce tension in the body that can be caused by stress and busy days, allowing for a full-body release.
- they are able to help improve sleep, which is essential for reducing chronic pain. Poor sleep increases sensitivity to pain
- weighted blankets are proven to reduce stress, balance hormones, and encourage better mental health. This is incredibly beneficial for those living with chronic pain, as pain and stress are closely intertwined.
Weighted blankets can be used as a natural pain-relief technique, in conjunction with other methods of pain management.
What are the safety considerations for using a weighted blanket for back pain?
Safety considerations for using a weighted blanket for back pain include:
- Consulting a doctor before deciding to use a weighted blanket.
- Selecting a blanket of the correct weight and size for one’s needs.
- Purchasing a blanket that is not too heavy for one’s body weight (maximum weight should be 10 to 20 percent of one’s body weight).
- Taking into account mobility issues when selecting a blanket.
- Ensuring that the blanket is properly positioned and adjusted.
- Stopping use of the blanket immediately if there is any discomfort or pain.
- Taking extra caution when using blankets with elderly people or those with weak muscles.
- Allowing time for one’s body to adjust to the blanket before expecting results.
Are there any side effects associated with using a weighted blanket?
There are a number of potential side effects associated with using a weighted blanket. These include feelings of pain and discomfort, fatigue, and achiness due to the blanket being too heavy.
People with asthma, obstructive sleep apnea, claustrophobia, infants, and aged adults should avoid using a weighted blanket as it may worsen their condition or cause them to feel suffocated.
Sleeping with a weighted blanket over the head can be dangerous as it heavily restricts breathing and increases the risk of suffocation.
It is important to consult a doctor if you have any chronic respiratory or circulatory issues, such as asthma or low blood pressure before using a weighted blanket.