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What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Back Pain? 5 That Will Have You Sighing With Relief

what is the best sleeping position for back pain

What is the best sleeping position for back pain?

The 5 sleeping positions I recommend are what have helped me to keep back pain at bay. They served me through 4 pregnancies, when I injured my back by lifting something heavy without using my knees, and when my sciatica nerve started acting up.

Back pain is often one of the top reasons people complain about, not only that, but it is also one the leading cause of disabilities worldwide. Most people over the world will experience back at least once in their lifetime.

This type of pain isn’t limited to young or old, man or woman. It can affect anyone at any age.

Bedtime is when back pain makes itself heard. During our quiet times when there are no other distractions around is when we get distracted by pain experienced in our body.

We often toss and turn all night long, which makes the back pain even worse then what it may have been before we went to sleep. There are some proper sleeping positions which may lessen back pain so you can get a good night sleep. 

In order to have a good sleeping position, you will require a good mattress which supports a bad back. Read Eric’s post on best mattresses for a bad back.

Some of the symptoms of back pain are:

  • Radiating pain down the leg
  • Aching Muscles
  • Worsening pain when bending, lifting, standing or walking
  • Improvement of pain only when reclining
  • Stabbing pain which shoots in all directions

Back pain can come on suddenly lasting no longer than six weeks, which means it acute, or it can last longer than three months, which leads to it being chronic.

Causes of back pain:

  • Pregnancy-related
  • Sciatica nerve acting up
  • Lifting weight without using the Knees
  • A herniated disc in the back
  • Spine misalignment
  • Arthritis or osteoporosis

Being acute or chronic, it will still disrupt your sleep. You will still need to pay attention to your sleeping positions to minimize the pain to ensure a good deep sleep at night.

Sleep With A Pillow Between Your Knees

When back pain becomes an issue, using a pillow is the most affordable and straightforward solution which can provide some relief.pillow between knees

When lying on your side in a fetal position, with a pillow between your needs, it helps keep the spine in alignment. This will also reduce stress on the hips, which is another cause for back pain.

A pillow which has the right firmness will prevent the upper leg from pulling the spine out of neutral position.

One of the things you want to make sure is that the pillow resting underneath your head is thick enough to align your head with your spine. Your hipbones should be stacked right on top of each other so that your spine remains in a neutral position.

Benefits of placing a pillow between your legs are:

  • Eliminates pressure from your hips
  • Prevents rotating of the hips while working to keep them in alignment
  • Excellent for people who suffer lower back pain or leg pain
  • Helps those with breathing issues
  • Works to improve blood circulation

Sleep on Your Back

By sleeping on your back, you allow your spine and neck to be in alignment without any forced angles of sleeping. It’s not a very preferred position for most people; by far, it’s still one of the best position to sleep in if you are dealing with back pain.sleep on your back

Not only that, but people who sleep on their back tend to have fewer wrinkles on their face.

When you are sleeping on your back, there is no extra pressure on your head, neck, and spine. This sleeping position also helps to deflect acid reflux.

However, those who have breathing issues; this may not be the best position for them as their tongue can block the breathing tube.

You may want to use a wedge pillow to help with acid reflux so that you can sleep on your back to decrease back pain.

Sleep On Your Stomach

Even though sleeping on your stomach may be considered one of the less desired sleeping positions, for those who struggle with back pain, this may be perfect for them.sleep on your stomach

Those who have herniated disc or degenerative disc disease will find it most beneficial sleeping on their stomach.

You may want to use a flat pillow for the head maybe even consider sleeping without one. But remember to place a slim pillow underneath the stomachs and hips, which will help to improve your spinal alignment.

Not only does sleeping on your stomach help with back pain, but it also may help to ease snoring by shifting obstructions from the airway.

Sleep In A Loose Fetal Position

Almost half of the population of the world chooses to sleep in a fetal position. It is one of the most common found position preferred by adults.sleeping in fetal position

This position is especially helpful to women who are pregnant. It helps to improve circulation in the woman’s body as well as in the fetus. It will also stop the uterus from pressing against your liver, which is on your right side. People who snore will also benefit.

The fetal position should be a loose, free sleeping position. People who sleep too tight in this position may end up having breathing issues and wake up with back pain.

Sleep In A Reclining Position By Using Wedge Pillows

Sleeping in a reclining position by using wedge pillows helps with acute and chronic back pain. When you sleep in a reclining position, you take the pressure off your spine, which allow your core muscles to rest. In the process of doing this, they heal and become stronger.

Many people use reclining chairs, but if you prefer being in your room for sleep, placing the wedge pillows on your bed may be exactly what you need to sleep.
sleeping in a reclining position on wedge pillows

Aside from those people who suffer back pain, individuals with spinal issues such as the lumbar spinal stenosis or osteoarthritis will also benefit from sleeping in a recliner.

The reason this sleeping position helps a person with back pain is that it elevates their head and knees to give them a more comfortable, refreshing nights rest.

Not only are you going to be helped with your back pain, but it will also help to reduce sleep apnea, which is a breathing issue when going to sleep. It will also help to reduce the risk of heartburn, another common problem which pops up when going to sleep.

Pregnant women will also find this position a good sleeping position as it takes the stress off back pain as well as the discomfort from the weight of their unborn baby.

Get A Good Mattress

To deal with back pain effectively, you will need the right mattress for a bad back which helps to alleviate pain successfully. The right type of mattress will also accommodate the different sleeping positions for you to get the best rest.

The mattresses we have reviewed all conform to your body to aid in the alignment of your spine. By having a mattress conform to your body, it allows the more substantial parts to sink down while the lighter parts of you stay up.

Find The Best Pillow

Pillows, when chosen appropriately, allow for the best positioning of the body possible. When your body is aligned where your spine is in neutral, recovery is achievable.

When you choose a pillow which will help your back pain, there are several things you will need to watch out for:

  • Pillow thickness
  • Pillow material
  • Pillow shape retention
  • Pillow temperature neutrality

The pillow I would recommend is the Malouf Z ZonedDough Gel-Infused Memory Foam. This pillow is made from soft memory foam which has been air infused. It will conform to your head as well as between the knees to give your spine the best alignment possible.

It has ventilation holes in it, which helped circulate the air, this allows the pillow to be more cooling than other memory foam models.

It is durable and has a life span of three years or more. You can get this pillow in low, medium as well as high loft options to accommodate your best sleeping positions for your back.

When pressed down upon, the pillow recovers its shape quite efficiently. Meaning you will never have to fluff it up back into shape.

This pillow comes with a five-year warranty.

Visit Your Dr. To Rule Out Serious Issues

Visiting your doctor is one of the most recommended things when dealing with back pain. Sure you could try any of these positions, get a good mattress or the right pillow.

But if you’re back pain is to the point where you can not get any sleep; then it’s time to your doctor.

Your doctor will help to rule out any serious issues. Sometimes anxious thoughts can also disturb sleep, especially if we’re in pain. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

If pain lasts for more than two weeks, please see your doctor.

Remember, alignment is key; each of the sleeping positions I have gone over all encourage spinal alignment. Although the positions encourage spinal alignment, make sure that you focus specifically on aligning our ears, shoulders, and hips.

What is the best sleeping position for back pain needs not be complicated? Find the one that suits you the most to use for your benefit.

Share below on what position you sleep in to deal with back pain.

jagi

Reading is my favorite thing to do. But other than reading, I enjoy discovering new techniques on how to do something in simpler methods. My daughter likes to call me the Renaissance woman. So I do have to live up to the name. One of my main issues is sleeping, so I'm always searching for new ways to get a good night sleep, I'm more than happy to share them with you. My posts are either geared towards pain or self-help. Pain posts because I suffer from ongoing cancer pain. In the past 6 years of my fight with cancer, I have learned many ways to deal with pain, especially when going to bed. The self-help posts come from my work as a mental health counselor for over 15+ years. My background in counseling training is from UFV and RRU. I also have personal trainer certification from IFA, so I might throw in some exercise posts as well.

View all posts by jagi →

14 thoughts on “What Is The Best Sleeping Position For Back Pain? 5 That Will Have You Sighing With Relief

  1. I have not suffered with back pain thankfully but these are some great ideas. I think the first thing I would do is invest in a good mattress. I have slept on some terrible ones before and I have slept on some that were just the most comfortable ever, and for me a good mattress is very important.

    I have seen people sleep with a pillow between their legs and now I get a better understanding how that works effectively. If I had back pain, probably my least favourite position would be sleeping on my back but you have done an awesome job of giving the benefits as to why, which gives me a much better understanding.

    Sometimes its so hard to find a good pillow and we often go for the cheap pillows which can end up being very uncomfortable and I imagine causing damage in the long term. Thanks for sharing your recommendation on a good pillow.

    I learned a lot that i did not know. Thanks for sharing.

    1. Glad that I was able to help. Wishing you great nights of sleep ahead.

  2. Christine says:

    Hi, I sometimes have lower back pain. I usually sleep in the fetal position and I find that that helps, but using pillows to align the spine also seems a great idea.
    Thank you for sharing this useful article ?

  3. Neil Brown says:

    lower back pain is something that I have been dealing with since I was twenty two years old, I have been seen by chiropractors over the years and it’s something that will never go away so it is something that I have learned how to deal with from day to day.

    You have some great tips that I would find highly recommended for anyone who has back issues. I have had many of the other issues that you have mentioned like breathing problems (sleep apnea) which I use a c-pap machine every night, as well as acid reflux.

    I typically get six hours of sleep a night, any more than that and it messes my back up. Having a good pillow like you mentioned can be a lifesaver as well as a good mattress. My wife and I just got a new mattress, a firm one, and it has made a world of difference.

    The pillow that you recommend I think would be something that I should give a try, thanks.

    1. Back pain can be difficult to deal with, especially when we don’t know the cause. But it sounds like you have a well-developed routine to keep it at bay. Thanks for stopping by. 

  4. AmDetermined says:

    Hi, your blog is very unique because it talks about the best moment I find my self is when sleeping, I do have pains as well but I don’t known the cause, your post have enlightened me with the cause and solution, this makes it very helpful and I will.love to share it with my friends and family also to benefit from your post by posting your website on my social media

    1. Thank you for the share. Hope you find relief with your back pain. 

  5. Colleen W says:

    A good read on the best sleeping positions for someone who has back pain. A family member has issues of back pain so I am all too familiar with the varying degrees of a good night sleep to a night without sleep.
    Thanks for sharing the detailed info.

    1. Glad you enjoyed the post. Hope your family member feels better.

  6. This article brings back memories…

    When in secondary school in Nigeria, I fell tripped and fell. The pail of water I was carrying on my head fell on my back and I had to be lifted up to my bed in the dormitory.

    The pain lasted for 2 years before my back healed on its own.  However, years later I noticed I had lower back pain.  Fortunately, a music teacher taught us the Alexander technique.  The starting position being laying flat on your back with your head propped up on 2-3 books.  Apparently your spine realigns itself while you stay on your back for 15 minutes a day. Each day.

    I noticed after several months of doing this, the lower back pain had disappeared totally.

    Thanks for sharing this – our backs are important to us and we need to take great care of them.

    1. Thank you for sharing your technique. You are right, our backs are significant, without a proper back alignment even the simplest of tasks becomes difficult. 

  7. These are great tips. Many years ago I had slight back pain, and I started using a pillow between the legs and sleeping on my back. I’ve never been a back sleeper, but for the last few years I have been, and I haven’t experienced back pain in a longtime. Maybe doing those two things helped. 

    Oh, and you’re right about getting a good mattress! That alone can make all the difference in the world.

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