5 Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Do you usually wake up with pain radiating from your back? Well, that’s not surprising.

Back pain is the most common type of pain people experience, so we don’t usually pay attention to it. But did you know that it can have negative impacts on your daily life?

This is the very reason why you should find ways to address that pain you’re experiencing. If a medical condition does not cause your back pain, there’s one easy thing that you can do to alleviate it— change your sleeping position.

In this article, let’s explore the different sleeping positions that are perfect for back pain.

Sleeping Tips for Back Pain

Before getting into the right sleeping positions, here are some other sleeping-related tips that may help with back pain:

Choose the right mattress.

To avoid back pain, it may be best to switch to a recommended medium-firm bed that’s comfortable but firm enough to provide you adequate support. If you prefer a firm mattress, make sure that the mattress you will choose has thicker padding so it will still be gentle on your back.

Change your pillows.

Pillows quickly lose their shape, so you must change your pillow every 12 to 18 months.  If you sleep on your back, a thinner pillow is the best option for your head, while a thicker pillow is advised for side sleepers.

The Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Back pain in the morning is due to muscle stiffness that is brought about by decreased blood flow while you’re sleeping. With the right sleeping position, there will be no pressure on your spine, and the back pain you’re experiencing will be reduced.

Without further ado, here are 5 of the best sleeping positions for back pain:

1. Back Sleeping Position with a Pillow Under Your Knees

Sleeping flat on your back is the best sleeping position because it’s the position wherein your body weight is evenly distributed, and your spine is aligned correctly. Unfortunately, many people find this position to be unnatural and uncomfortable.

To address discomfort and to maximize proper spine alignment, it’s recommended that you place a pillow under your head and another one under your knees. Use a thicker pillow under your knees because the gap between your knees and the mattress is more significant. 

Warning: If you’re pregnant, this sleeping position is not recommended for you as it may lead to a decrease of blood circulation to your baby and heart.

2. Side Sleeping Position with a Pillow in Between Your Knees

Sleeping on the side is the most common sleeping position because it’s the most comfortable. It is also the go-to sleeping position for snorers and pregnant women.  If possible, switch sides from time to time but sleep on your left side more frequently.

The truth is, sleeping on your side is not a good position in itself for back pain. It is the pillow-between-the-knees technique that does the trick as it keeps the pelvis, spine, and hips in proper alignment.

Additionally, check to see if there’s a gap between the mattress and your waist. If there is, try placing a small pillow under your waist so you can maintain proper alignment.

3. Fetal Position

Yes, you should sleep in the same way that a fetus is positioned in her mother’s womb. This may seem funny and awkward at first, but it’s an effective position for people suffering from herniated discs. That’s because this sleeping position provides more space between your vertebrae.

Here’s how you can do this:

  • Sleep on your side. Sleeping on your back is the most painful position for people with such conditions. You can sleep on whichever side you’re most comfortable with. However, don’t forget to switch sides from time to time.
  • Bring your knees to your chest as closest as you comfortably can.
  • Bring your chest and arms closer to your chest, forming a round and curled position.

4. Stomach Sleeping Position with Pillow Under the Hips

This is the least sleeping position you should try when you have back pain as it may aggravate your condition even further if done improperly.

If you’re used to sleeping on your back and find it difficult to switch to another sleeping position, there’s one small tweak you can do—place a pillow under your hips.

To prevent further back pain, it’s essential to ensure that your pelvis and abdominal area get adequate support. Using a slim pillow can provide the support your body needs.

back pain for girl

This sleeping position may also be beneficial for degenerative disc sufferers because it puts less strain on the vertebrae.

5. Reclined Sleeping Position with a Chair Pillow

Sleeping reclined is possibly the least common sleeping position as it’s uncomfortable and won’t make you feel relaxed.

Surprisingly, this sleeping position offers plenty of benefits for people with certain medical conditions, including heartburn, sleep apnea, and lower back pain conditions, especially isthmic spondylolisthesis. It is also recommended for post-surgery patients who find it difficult to get into the bed.

If you think this sleeping position would be beneficial for your long-term, investing in an adjustable mattress is a good idea. It will allow you to modify the support you can get based on your personal preference.

Final Words

Back pain can be addressed just by improving your posture or changing your sleeping position. You don’t have to switch to a different sleeping position just to get rid of back pain. Always remember that maintaining the proper spine alignment is the biggest priority of all.

If back pain persists for more than 3 months even after you’ve applied all the sleeping tips that we’ve mentioned, you should consult with your doctor to see if there are other solutions that you can do.

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