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Statistic On Heart Disease

Posted by John H on 2/16/05 at 09:48 (169149)

Recent studies indicated heart patients who were being treated by a Doctor found that for ever two years increase in age of your Doctor over the younger Doctor there was an increase of a 1% increase in heart mortality rate. I would have guessed it would have been the other way around. They are guessing the younger Doctors are more up to date on the latest procedures and meds, more internet savy in looking up data and even patient records.

Re: Statistic On Heart Disease

Linda V on 2/16/05 at 18:22 (169189)

Did you know that women that sleep on their stomaches have a higher incidence of heart mortality? Interesting.....

Re: Statistic On Heart Disease

wendyn on 2/16/05 at 22:24 (169212)

That won't help my insomnia Linda! I'm a stomach sleeper...

Re: Statistic On Heart Disease

Linda V on 2/16/05 at 23:26 (169220)

So am I, Wendyn...and I have to scrunch down in the bed so my feet hang off in mid air to relieve the PF...

Re: Stomach sleeping - attention Wendy

Julie on 2/17/05 at 02:05 (169229)

Wendy, you're not, are you? That is the WORST (I never use caps, as you may have observed, except in extremis) sleeping position for your spine. Sleeping on your stomach puts the lumbar spine into extension and compresses the discs.

The best and most restful sleeping positions for the spine are on the back (I can't do that one because I inevitably snore and wake my husband up) or on the side with a pillow between the knees.

This is Very Relevant. See my post on the other thread.

Re: Stomach sleeping - attention Wendy PS

Julie on 2/17/05 at 02:35 (169230)

It's during sleep that the discs can 'recover' from the compression they've been under all day, so it's important to give them that chance. When the body is relaxed in sleep the discs rehydrate, and regain the height that they've lost due to gravity and sitting. But sleeping on your stomach, they're kept under compression (the compression is of a different sort, but it's still compression.)

I just looked up a couple of references for you which give a couple of ideas for making a transition between stomach sleeping and one of the preferable positions.

This is Judith Scott, in 'Goodbye to Bad Backs':

'Sleeping prone (face down) is usually not recommended for people with lower back problems. The prone sleeping position is the most stressful to the lower back, because it accentuates the swayback position.'

But she goes on to say that it can be done if place a pillow under your pelvis - so perhaps you could try that if you really can't sleep on your side.

And this is what Mary Pullig Schatz says, in 'Back Care Basics', which is a yoga programme for back and neck pain relief. Items in brackets are me.

'Remember to get enough sleep to give your discs a chance to soak up healing nutrients. Sleep on your back with a pillow behind your knees to release the lumbar vertebrae (I meant to say this in my previous post - straight legs are bad news for a bad low back) from the pull of the hip flexor muscles. If you wish to sleep on your side, bend at your hips and knees. Elongate the waist on your down side by increasing the distance from the hips to the armpit. Do this by moving the hip away from the armpit. Place a pillow between your knees, or under the knee of the top leg. (The pillow is there to take the strain off the spine caused by the pulling-down of the top leg.) Unless you have a tight piriformis or flat lumbar curve, avoid sleeping on your stomach. This position can strain the lumbar discs. If yu are a stomach sleeper by habit, begin to change your sleep position by starting off lying on your side or back. Relax in this position for a while before you turn over to sleep. Gradually, over many months, you'll find that you'll learn to go to sleep in one of the new positions. Be patient.'

Re: Stomach sleeping - Julie

Kathy G on 2/18/05 at 09:52 (169328)

I posted this further down on the board but this is where it belongs. Here's what I so beautifully and succinctly said:

'I am having the opposite problem. I have always slept on my left side, with my knees bent, as that is the most comfortable position for me. If I sleep on my right side, my right arm goes numb and it wakes me up or if if doesn't, it makes turning off the alarm clock a real challenge since I'm right-handed and unable to move that arm if I've been sleeping on that side.

In the last few months, since the OA in my clavicle and neck has been particularly painful, I suspect I might feel better if I could sleep on my back. Try as I might, I just can't do it! I've tried piling pillows along the side of the mattress but I just wake up and find them on the floor.

Any suggestions? Or maybe back sleeping isn't such a good idea?'

Julie, once again, you've addressed my problem, bless you. So what I should try is putting a pillow under my legs when I'm attempting to sleep on my back? I have been trying to fall asleep on my back but I always awaken on my side. I think if I persevere, I should be able to train myself.

Thanks for the information.

Re: Stomach sleeping - Julie

Julie on 2/18/05 at 16:41 (169370)

Hi Kathy

Yes. Pillow under your bent knees. You will need to experiment with the height until you're comfortable - you may need more than one pillow. The reason for this is that bending the knees releases the hamstrings which pull on the lower back when the legs are straight. A person who doesn't have low back pain can be comfortable in that position for a little while, maybe an hour or so. But remaining in that position for a whole night is likely to be a strain on the lower back. The pillows under the knees spport them in the bent position, unloading the back.

You might find that a solid bolster works even better - maintains its height throughout the night, whereas pillows crush down a bit.

It would also be a good idea, once you've settled yourself in position, to practise a relaxation technique before going off to sleep. If you can let go of some of the muscle tension that has built up during the day, you're more likely to be comfortable in the new position.

Finally, break the new position in gradually, as you would a new pair of shoes (or orthotics). You and your body are not used to it and you both need a bit of time to get used to it.

Hope this helps and relieves the pain somewhat. And don't forget the neck pillow (it works in both sleeping positions, side and back).

Re: Stomach sleeping - Kathy

Julie on 2/19/05 at 01:23 (169385)

Kathy, I 've just realised that you might not have seen my response to your original post about sleeping, at the tail end of that other very long thread. As it was mostly about neck pillows, and had a couple of links to sites where you can see/buy them, I will copy it for you here:

'Kathy, back sleeping is fine as long as the knees are bent and supported by pillows to take the lower back out of extension and release tension in it.

I say it 'is' fine. I should amend that to 'it is ok and it CAN be fine'. It never has been for me because I snore in that position. Many people find this. But if you don't (or if your nice husband doesn't mind you snoring) you might try it.

If your neck is painful (and even if it isn't) I can recommend a memory foam pillow. The kind that I have supports the neck in alignment with the rest of the spine and is very helpful if the neck is problematic. Hang on and I'll see if I can find a link for you.

This is the pillow I have:

Here is one that is available in the States. It's a different shape so I can't vouch for it, but the site has good information and they do offer a full refund if not happy.

It might really be worth your while to research memory foam if you haven't (there are of course zillions of websites - just have a google). A mattress might be beneficial for you too, as you have pain in so many places in your body. They're expensive, but worth it, and not more than a good quality conventional mattress if you're anywhere near having to replace yours, and well worth considering.'

Re: Stomach sleeping - Kathy

Kathy G on 2/19/05 at 09:30 (169409)


We bought a new foam mattress a year ago and it was the best investment we've ever made. We didn't like the feel of the Temperpedic so got a Natural something-or-other. Yes, I took a Carisopridol today so my bad memory for names is even worse. Whatever it is, we also got the pillows. I cannot stress enough how much they have helped both of us sleep. My husband had some problem with a sore hip in the morning and it's disappeared. I could do a commercial for the company if I could remember its name! :)

Re: Stomach sleeping - Kathy

Julie on 2/19/05 at 10:42 (169416)

Aha. So all my carefully gathered information is redundant. Can't win 'em all! :)

Seriously, Kathy, I'm pleased the mattress and pillow have helped you so much and I hope the shift to sleeping on your back improves things even more. Let me know.

Re: Stomach sleeping - Kathy, beds

Ed Davis, DPM on 2/19/05 at 10:54 (169423)

Any thoughts on the TYPE of bed that is best for backs? So much of the information is being generated by the manufacturers that I have lost track of where the good evidence is. Harder vs. softer? Hard with a soft conforming overlay (molding foam) to provide support?

Re: Stomach sleeping - Kathy, beds

john h on 2/19/05 at 11:18 (169429)

I think it is almost universal that hard is better than soft for a back. I have tried a lot of expensive beds in my life and I have found nothing better than the Tempur mattress made from the space material. It is firm but conforms to your body. No springs to press on body parts and never needs to be turned. Yes I have a bad back.

Re: Mattresses

Julie on 2/19/05 at 11:53 (169437)

Both hard and soft mattresses are bad for the spine. Soft because the heavier, larger, protruding body parts, the hips and shoulders, sink in too deeply, hard because, the mattress beng unyielding, those parts do not sink in at all. In both cases, the spine is pulled out of neutral alignment and is under stress all night. If one is very lucky, one may manage to find a conventional inner spring mattress that is exactly the right firmness to support one's weight correctly, but that's a lottery, and the chances are further diminished by the fact that most people think the harder a mattress is, the better, and buy accordingly, only to find they are just as uncomfortable than they were before. The hard, so-called 'orthopaedic', mattresses can be the very worst. Most osteopaths and chiropractors and physiotherapists will tell you this. My own experience with hard mattresses certainly bears this out.

Memory foam conforms to the body and does away with all this. That is why it is so helpful for people with back problems: the hips and shoulders sink in more deeply than the rest of the body, so the spine is supported properly and is not stressed anywhere, and one is more comfortable. Therefore one does not have to shift position constantly as the spine seeks ways to undo the stress and end the discomfort. And therefore sleep improves.

Re: More on Mattresses

Julie on 2/19/05 at 12:50 (169441)

Here is a link to an interesting article, for those interested:


Re: More on Mattresses

Julie on 2/19/05 at 12:52 (169442)

And here is an extract from it:

The Myth Behind: 'The Firmer the Mattress, the Better'

Some people love a hard mattress and can even get comfortable on a futon or the floor. But if you wake up feeling battered, you're not doing your body any favor. 'There's no truth to the adage that a harder bed is better,' says Bergin. 'Especially as we get older we need both support and relief from pressure.'

'We used to think waterbeds were the best bed, and for the majority of individuals, they probably are. They're especially good for people who have diabetes and can develop ulcers from pressure. But as you get older, a waterbed doesn't provide adequate support.'

Bergin says the memory foam mattress is best for anyone with back pain or osteoarthritis. The term 'memory foam' is often misunderstood. It doesn't mean the mattress remembers the contours of your body but that the mattress returns to its original flat plane once you get up. Memory foam is made of heat and pressure sensitive material that responds to your body temperature and conforms to near-perfect pressure, weight distribution, and support.

'It gets as close to weightless sleep as possible,' says Bergin. 'It supports the entire body at all the pressure points as though you're floating. It really is a remarkable discovery. Unfortunately a high-quality mattress that will last 20 years without being flipped is high priced, about $1,800 to $2,500.'