Best sleeping positions for back pain
Have you ever noticed that your back plays up the most after a lie-down? Or worse, your back pains so much when you’re in bed that you can’t get any sleep? These problems occur when you don’t sleep in the right position for your back problem, especially considering the fact that you sleep pretty much in the same position all night.
One can’t stress enough about the importance of the best sleeping positions for back pain. However, it is even more important to first identify the type of back pain you have before you choose your sleeping position. Each type has a different cause and different symptoms, and usually a different kind of pain.
For instance, do you have spondylitis? And is it in the cervical, dorsal or lumbar region? Because this causes pain in different areas of your spine. Cervical spondylitis will affect your neck and you have to deal with it by using the correct pillow and sleeping position. While spondylitis in the lumbar region will cause lower back pain which makes it difficult to turn over in bed or even straighten up when you get out of bed. And what happens if you have sciatica?
The importance of choosing the right sleeping position
Do keep in mind, that the way you are used to sleeping dictates the correct position to take for back pain. For example, do you habitually sleep flat on your back or on your stomach? Or do you curl up in the fetal position, on your side? Quite often, your normal position may be aggravating your back issues.
Now, if you’re used to sleeping on your back, asking you to sleep on your front or your side is not going to work because it would be an alien position for you. So, we need to find solutions that will help you deal with your back ache while still sleeping in the position you are used to. The aim here is to maintain a neutral position for your spine, that will align your back with your hips and pelvis.
So, if you want to continue sleeping on your back, this is what you can do:
While you must obviously support your neck with a pillow, also place a pillow under your knees, thus maintaining the normal curvature of your lower back. If you want additional support for your back, try rolling up a small towel and place it below the small of your back. These simple measures will help take the strain off your back.
If you suffer from sciatica, ensure contact between your bed and your buttocks and heels and raise your knees slightly towards the ceiling.
If you are used to sleeping on your stomach, try this:
Do remember, sleeping on your stomach can be particularly painful if you have a back problem. But if you must, then do sleep with a pillow under your lower abdomen and pelvis. This will help in the reduction of strain on your back. And if it doesn’t cause any discomfort, you can continue sleeping with a pillow under your head. However, if it puts any strain on your back, then do without.
You can also try sleeping with your head facing down, because sleeping with your head turned to the side stresses the area around the base of your neck i.e. the cervical spine, and causes misalignment of the spine. As far as possible, try to avoid sleeping on your stomach.
If you sleep on your side, this is how you can make it more comfortable for your back:
A simple way to reduce the strain on your back when you sleep on your side, is to pull your legs up towards your chest and hold a pillow between your knees, preferably a long body pillow or bolster which will provide support from your ankles to the tops of your thighs. This is particularly effective for middle back pain, or herniated discs, as your spine won’t get misaligned, and it provides relief for your back muscles.
Value added solutions
Apart from the way you sleep, you can try to find additional ways to help relieve your back pain. One of the most important factors is the kind of mattress you use. Always use a firm mattress that will support your spine, or try to sleep on the floor on a yoga mat or bed sheet. This will prevent your spine from sagging and reduce your back pain.
The other important factor is the pillow you use. Avoid using an over-fluffy pillow that raises your head too high and puts strain on your neck, or a pillow that is lumpy or saggy as it will not support your neck. You need to keep your upper spine straight to avoid aggravating your lower back pain.
It may take you a little while to try and change the way you sleep, but it’s well worth it to make the effort to practice the best sleeping positions for back pain if it ensures a good night’s sleep.