What Are the Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain?

    Which Sleeping Positions Are Ideal for Someone with Back Pain?

    Getting a good night’s sleep is often easier said than done if you have back pain. Granted, you can’t fully control what your body does when you sleep, but you can have some control over your preferred sleeping positions. Ideally, you should opt for a position that supports your spine without placing too much stress on the area where you’re experiencing discomfort. Today, we’re going to talk about the best sleeping positions for back pain and what steps you can take to increase your odds of getting a good night’s sleep.

    What Positions Should You Avoid?

    Before discussing the best sleeping positions for back pain, let’s look at what you’ll want to avoid. The main position that’s not recommended is stomach sleeping, since you’ll be throwing off your spine’s natural alignment. Also, if you have sciatica, avoid sleeping on the side that hurts more.

    What Works best if you’re a Back Sleeper?

    Sleeping on your back may not seem like a good idea if you have back pain, but it does allow your spine to retain most of its natural alignment, which is a good thing. It’s also a position that can be just fine if you take the following steps:

    • Place a pillow between your knees to reduce stress on your lower back
    • Elevate your knees slightly to maintain the natural curvature of your spine
    • Put a pillow under your head that’s not too high to maintain the alignment of your head and upper spine

    What if you’re a Slide Sleeper?

    Another sleeping position that can be good for you if you have back pain is side sleeping. As with back sleeping, you should take some extra steps to minimize stress on your spine while sleeping on your side. Start by placing a flat pillow between your knees to keep your lower back aligned with your hips and minimize excess pressure on your lumbar spine and pelvis. Using a pillow also provides more space for spinal nerves, which can be beneficial if you have sciatica or a similar source of lower back pain. Further make side sleeping good for your spine-related discomfort by:

    • Using a supportive pillow under your head to improve head-shoulder alignment
    • Placing a lumbar support cushion or waist pillow just below your waist to keep your upper and lower spine aligned
    • Avoiding excessive curling so you don’t restrict your breathing and stress your spinal bones

    This can be especially problematic if you have spinal osteoarthritis.

    Ultimately, there’s no single “best” sleeping position for back pain, although it’s a good idea to avoid stomach sleeping as much as possible. But side and back sleeping can be just fine as long as you strategically use pillows to maintain your spine’s natural alignment. On a side note, don’t forget to pay attention to the mattress you sleep on. A medium-firm mattress is generally considered the most supportive option.

    If you need professional guidance on how to sleep so you can relieve your back pain, make an appointment with a Los Angeles spine surgeon, who will be able to make a personalised diagnosis and devise a customised treatment plan to alleviate your back pain.

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