6 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

6 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain disturbs sleep and it can negatively affect anyone’s daily life. Additionally, sleeping posture not only worsens backache but it can also cause it. There are sleeping positions that can help with lower back pain.

Looking for the best sleeping positions for lower back pain? Then, continue reading to not only know the best six sleeping positions but to also know when to visit a doctor, sleep hygiene, and the best advice on pillows and mattresses. 

The Best Sleeping Positions 

Some sleeping positions improve sleep and they help in treating back pain. 

Unfortunately, poor sleeping postures make it hard to sleep at night and they can make the existing lower back pain worse. 

A poor sleeping position puts unnecessary pressure on the hips, neck, and back. That is why poor sleeping posture may be the main cause of lower back pain. 

Maintaining the natural curve of the spine is important when sleeping. To maintain the normal curve of the spine, the person should sleep on the back. Sleeping on the back provides enough support for the back and it ensures the hips, shoulders, and head are in alignment. 

However, some people hate sleeping on their backs because they make them snore. People sleep differently. That is why there are several sleeping positions for reducing back pain and improving sleep. 

Some people experience lower back pain at night. So, here are the best sleeping postures and tips that can help reduce their back pain. 


1. Sleep on the Back with Knee Support

Sleeping on the back is good for the back because it improves the health of the back. 

Sleeping on the back ensures good alignment of the spine, neck, and head, reduces pressure points and evenly distributes the body weight. 

To maintain the optimal spinal curve and provide additional support, place a small pillow under the knees. 

A person can adopt this sleeping position by:

  1. Lying flat on their back facing up, and avoiding twisting their head sideways. 
  2. Positioning their pillow to support their neck and head. 
  3. Placing a small pillow under their knees. 

Filling the gaps between the mattress and the body with more pillows can help provide extra support. 


2. Place a Pillow Between the Knees and Sleeping on the Side 

Many people love sleeping on the side because it is comfortable. However, sleeping on the back can pull the spine out of position straining the lower back. 

It is easy to correct this. Placing a firm pillow firm between knees can help correct it. Sleeping with a pillow between the knees restores the natural alignment of the spine, pelvis, and hips by raising the upper leg. 

A person can adopt this sleeping position by: 

  1. Getting into the bed then rolling on to one side.
  2. Positioning a pillow to help support the neck and head. 
  3. Pulling the knees up then placing a pillow between the knees. 


Additionally, filling the gaps between the mattress and the body with more pillows can help provide extra support.

For anyone who loves turning to sleep on their front, the person can hug a big pillow against their stomach and chest. The pillow improves sleep and it keeps the back aligned. 


3. Fetal Sleeping Position 

The fetal sleeping position helps anyone with a herniated disc because it brings relief during the night.

A curled-up fetal sleeping position brings relief when sleeping. How? Tucking the knees into the chest when lying on the side not only helps to reduce the bending of the spine but can also help open up the joints. 

A person can adopt fetal sleeping position by: 

  1. Getting into the bed then rolling on to one side carefully. 
  2. Positioning a pillow to make sure it supports the neck and head.
  3. Drawing the knees into the chest. The back needs to be relatively straight.


4. Placing the Pillow Under the Stomach While Sleeping on the Front 

Sleeping on the front of the body is one of the worst sleeping positions. Unfortunately, some love this sleeping position because they struggle with other sleeping positions. To comfortably sleep in this position, place a slim pillow under the hips and stomach. A small pillow improves spinal alignment. 

Additionally, sleeping on the front benefits people with degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc.

A person can adopt this sleeping position by: 

  1. Getting into the bed then rolling on their front. 
  2. Placing a slim pillow under the hips and stomach. The pillow helps to raise their midsection. 
  3. Sleeping without a pillow or using a flat pillow for the head. 

5. Sleeping on the Front and Head Facing Down 

Sleeping on the front is also bad because it turns the head to one side twisting the spine and placing additional stress on the back, shoulders, and neck. Sleeping facedown can help avoid this. 

A person lying face down can prop up their head by using a tightly rolled-up towel or a small and firm pillow. The person props up the head to allow room to breathe. Additionally, the person can place a pillow under their stomach. 

A person can adopt this sleeping position by: 

  1. Getting into their bed then rolling on their front. 
  2. Raising the mid-section by placing a slim pillow under the stomach. 
  3. Creating room for breathing by positioning a rolled-up towel or pillow under the forehead. 


6. Sleeping in a Reclined Position

Sleeping in a reclined position is perfect for anyone with isthmic spondylolisthesis. Also, this sleeping position can help lower back pain. 

If a person finds relief when resting in a reclined chair, the person can invest in an adjustable bed that is easy to adjust and position properly.


How to Choose a Pillow 

There are so many types of pillows that are used for different sleeping positions. 

A head pillow supports the spine and it helps maintain the normal posture of the neck. A good pillow keeps its shape after use. It is comfortable. And it is adaptable to different positions. 

Pillows are usually changed between 12 to 18 months. 

A thin pillow is perfect for people who love sleeping on their backs because it does not place strain on the back and neck. A thick pillow places strain on the back and neck. 

Additionally, some thin pillows can help support the neck and they are perfect for people who love sleeping on their front. These people will place a thin pillow under their hips. 

Another good option is the memory foam. This is because it is firm and it molds to the shape of the neck and head.

A thick pillow is perfect for people who love sleeping on their sides. This is because the thick pillow fills the space between the mattress and the neck completely providing the best support. Also, a gusseted pillow is perfect for people who sleep on their sides.  

A thin pillow is perfect for people who love sleeping on their stomachs. If they do not want a pillow, they can sleep without a pillow. A thin pillow does not push the head backward, which means it does not put pressure on the neck. 

In addition, a small but firm pillow is perfect for people who sleep face down. They can use the pillow to prop their forehead and keep their neck straight. Propping the head creates room for breathing. 


How to Choose a Mattress 

A good mattress provides enough support, is comfortable, and is well made. Firm mattresses are excellent for people suffering from long-term lower back pain. 

To know how much support a person needs, the person needs to know their body shape, size, and proportions. A soft mattress is perfect for people with wide hips. A firm mattress is perfect for people with slim hips because it helps keep the spine aligned properly. 

A soft mattress provides less support even though it is more comfortable. A soft mattress causes the spine to come out of its normal alignment and it causes joints to twist because the person will sink too deep. 

A foam mattress topper provides additional support to a spring mattress. Also, placing a plywood board under the mattress can help increase the firmness of the mattress. 

A mattress is usually replaced after 10 years. 


How to Improve Sleep Hygiene 

Back pain disturbs sleep. People should sleep early. They should not try to compensate for lost sleep by sleeping late. To get a good sleep every night, the person needs to have a regular schedule with consistent sleeping time and wake time. 7 to 9 hours of sleep is enough for most adults. 


Here are the best sleep hygiene tips:

  • Avoid stimulants like coffee in the evening. 
  • Avoid heavy exercises just before sleeping. 
  • To wind down before sleeping, do gentle yoga stretches, listen to relaxing music, take a warm bath, or read. 
  • Make the bedroom comfortable and relaxing. Dim the lights. Remove distractions like TVs and computers. 


Additionally, you can use PSO-RITE for full-body self-massage, PSO-SPINE to massage your spine, or PSO-MINI for a massage before sleeping.  


When to Visit a Doctor? 

It is important to visit a doctor after a fall or injury that increases back pain. People whose back pain gets worse every night need to visit a doctor. 

People should visit a doctor if their back pain is accompanied by: 

  • Chest pain
  • Fever
  • Numbness in the groin area, buttocks, or legs
  • Loss of bowel or bladder control
  • Unexpected weight loss
  • And difficulty passing urine. 

If the back pain leads to insomnia, the person needs to speak to a doctor. A doctor provides treatment options, helps the person feel better rested, and improves their sleep by changing the lifestyle of the person.

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