Sleeping Positions to Avoid Back Pain

Back pain is something that almost everyone will experience to some degree during their lifetime. The spine and the muscles supporting it are put under great amounts of stress throughout our normal daily activities. Sports, jobs, chores, dancing and other activities can add more stress than our spine and muscles can handle, resulting in back pain. Believe it or not, sleeping on a poor mattress or the wrong size pillow can cause back pain. There are some sleeping positions that can prevent or reduce back pain.

First make sure that you have a mattress that is firm enough to support your body in a natural S curve. You shouldn’t role towards the middle of the bed or sink at your waist into the bed. Your pillow should only elevate your head 2-3 inches above the mattress. A thicker pillow will put your neck at an unnatural angle, causing neck and back pain.

Flat on Back

Many people, who suffer from back pain, choose to lie flat on their back. It may relieve lower back pain to cross the feet at the ankles. Putting a rolled towel or small pillow under the knees can also relieve lower back pain. If you suffer from upper back pain you can rest your hands on your chest. This takes pressure off the upper back. If you prefer to keep your arms at your side, it is helpful to rest the hands or forearms on a small pillow. Your head should be on a pillow that only elevates you 2-3 inches from the mattress. You can also roll a towel and place it under your neck instead of using a pillow.

Side Sleeping

Sleeping on your side gives you a couple options as to the position of your legs and arms. Remember that your pillow shouldn’t be elevating your head higher than 3 inches. You want your head to be at a height that makes it even with the middle of the distance between your shoulders. Lie on your side with your shoulder slightly in front of your body. Observe how high your head is from the mattress and if your head is tilted more than 10 degrees. Adjust pillow accordingly.  You can position your top arm with the elbow slightly bent straight out from the body. Some people find it more comfortable to rest the arm on a pillow. This one can be thicker than 4 inches. You want the arm to be in a resting position. You can slightly bend your legs at the knees and place a small pillow between them. This helps alleviate lower back pain by taking pressure off the hips. You can also bend the leg closest to the mattress at the knee and slightly move the leg forward. The top leg should remain straight. This is a difficult position for many people to get used to, but it aligns the spine, relieving pressure on the entire spine. You will get back pain relief after training yourself to sleep in this position.

Stomach Sleeping

Sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for anyone, whether you experience back pain or not. This position puts the head at a twisted angle. It also puts strain on the entire spine.

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