Lower back pain can not only affect your daily life but it can also disturb your sleep. Pain can make it difficult to relax and get comfortable at night. This often translates to less overall rest and poorer quality sleep, which can actually make the pain worse.
So what can you do to get some decent shut-eye when experiencing back pain?
How you sleep plays an important role in managing back pain, as certain positions place more strain on the back than others. Although posture is typically associated with sitting and standing, it’s also critical when lying down. A sleeping position that involves twisting, contorting, or otherwise putting pressure on lower spine can cause pain and stiffness. This pain is often worse in the morning but may persist throughout the day.
What are the best sleeping positions for back pain?
The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial bend in the knees. Keeping the knees bent helps balance the body and reduces pressure on the lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to put a small pillow between their knees to make this position more comfortable.
As a general rule, avoid sleeping on your stomach as it disturbs the normal alignment of your spine. Also, if your pain is concentrated to one side of your back, you should avoid sleeping on that side.
It can be really difficult to change your sleeping position. So if you’re a stomach or back sleeper, you can try these steps to reduce strain on their lower back:
Placing a small pillow or towel beneath your knees reduces strain and tension on the lower back and hips by creating a more natural spinal curve. Legs should ideally be positioned straight out (not kicked off to the side or spread too wide, which can strain the pelvis and hip joints).
If you sleep on your stomach, opt for only a thin pillow under your head (or no pillow at all) and place a more supportive pillow under your hips and abdomen. This works to prevent the lower back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the spine out of alignment.