How Sleep Position Affects Your Spine
When you think of poor posture leading to orthopedic issues like lower back pain or neck pain, standing posture or sitting position probably come to mind. But theres a third type of posture you may be forgetting, and it affects your health just as much as standing and sitting its your sleeping position.
Your bodys posture during sleep can have a negative effect on your spinal column and other body parts, too
Minus a few tosses and turns in the night, the posture we hold during sleep is sustained for several hours at a time. If something in the body is crooked, twisted, pinned under another body part, or held at a strange angle, it can stay that way for far, far longer than it would when youre awake.
As you probably know from experience, the result of an awkward sleeping posture can be painful the next day, ranging from the pins and needles of an ‘asleep’ limb to the torture of a middle-of-the-night leg cramp.
And then theres your spine your back and neck.
What Else Can I Do For Back Pain
Changing your mattress will most likely do wonders for your back pain, if that was the cause. You can also implement a short stretching routine into your day. Aim to do a few stretches before you go to bed and after you wake up to help with spine flexibility. Also, it is important to learn how to sleep in the best position possible. Many experts recommend sleeping on your side with a pillow between your legs to support the hips and lower back. Certain pillows can also help promote less neck and back pain while you sleep.
For sweeter dreams and less back pain in the morning, consider getting a new mattress. Your sleep is essential, so make sure you are getting a mattress that will improve your sleep, not make it worse. When mattress shopping, bring your own pillow and spend a good ten to fifteen minutes on each mattress. It may seem silly, but it is the best way to ensure you get the right mattress for you.
What Causes Back Pain While Sleeping
Sleeping in the wrong position can wreak havoc on your back. If youre already struggling with chronic lower back pain, poor sleeping postures can make it worse. The way you sleep may even be the culprit of your back pain.
The way you sleep matters when it comes to your spine. When you lie down at night, its essential to maintain the spines natural curve, ensuring your head, shoulders and hips are all in alignment, and your back is fully supported. Certain sleep positions put painful pressure on your back, neck and hips and can lead to lower back pain.
Read Also: Left Lower Side Pain Pregnancy
Sleeping Positions Can Prevent Lower & Upper Back Pain
- Use a rounded pillow under your neck to support the natural S curve of your spine while sleeping on your back.
- Use a flatter pillow to cushion your head.
- Use pillows to support your lower back and knees.
- Stretch your legs straight out.
- Try to avoid pillows that are too high or low. Maintain your spine in a straight position by using a pillow which is high under the neck than under your head.
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach as this position is tough on your spine because it arches your back and turns your neck to the side.
Pillowing Strategies For Side Sleepers
If you are a side sleeper, consider the following pillow strategy.
Put padding between your knees to raise your top leg a bit. This small lift of the top leg may keep your hip and knee in good alignment, which may, in turn, help relax the hip muscles and keep them from straining. Improving your hip and knee alignment may also help avoid strain or irritation in the hip jointone less thing to keep you up during the night.
Along with that, you might use a pillow to fill up the space between the bed and your waist. The same idea applies to your neck curve. Consider positioning your pillow such that part of it is under your neck which thereby fills in the space between your neck and the bed, providing more support for your neck curve.
You May Like: Is A Hot Bath Good For Lower Back Pain
Don’t Miss: Shoulder Pain 2 Years After Surgery
Some Of The Most Common Issues That Contribute To Morning Back Pain Include:
This list outlines some of the most common reasons why you might be experiencing back pain in the morning.
How The Right Mattress Can Cure Your Back Pain
Now that weve discussed how to tell if your mattress is causing back pain, weve found some advice on how to choose a bed that will relieve AND prevent back pain. Researchers in Spain recently studied people with long-term back pain and found that people who slept on a medium-to-firm mattress had less pain than those who prefer a soft or firm mattress. In an interview with NBC News, Gerard Varlotta, director of sports rehabilitation at the Rusk Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine at New York University Medical Center, explained why the findings make sense.
There needs to be an equal distribution of pressure, he said. Too firm of a mattress is not good. It doesnt provide enough contour to our bodies. Too soft is going to bend and cause problems as well.
But of all the medium-to-firm beds out there, its hard to tell which brands and models are best. One thing to look for is a material thats been proven to help back-pain sufferers sleep.
Sleep expert Michael Breus, PhD, says latex is a great choice. In WebMDs article How to Pick Your Perfect Mattress, he says, Quite frankly, I think one of the best materials is latex. Breus goes on to say that latex is firm and supportive, yet provides comfort similar to memory foam. But latex pushes back whereas memory foam doesnt, ultimately providing more support.
Don’t Miss: Jaw Pain On One Side Treatment
Continue Learning About Back Pain
Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.
Should You Get An Adjustment
It is a very wise idea to get a wellness adjustment from your chiropractor before you go mattress shopping. This can help relieve pain and help you have better posture and body support while you sleep. Ask your chiropractor for advice on sleeping positions, as well as recommendations for mattresses. Not only is your chiropractor a back expert, but he has probably heard a lot of recommendations from his patients who suffered from mattress-induced back pain.
Don’t Miss: Severe Tooth Pain After Filling
Pillow Use For Back Sleepers
Sleeping on the back or supine is the most recommended sleep position to get rid of upper middle back pain after sleeping. It does not only promote good neck and spinal posture at rest, but helps relieve pain related to a muscle strain or injury. These conditions include a stiff neck, rotator cuff tear injuries, adhesive capsulitis, and ankylosing spondylitis. Unfortunately, no matter how healthy this sleeping position is, only 8% of the worlds population sleeps in this pose. Like all the sleeping positions, sleeping on the back can also use a little bit of padded support. In this case, its the knees that will benefit a lot from a pillow. When you sleep with knees, spinal cord, and neck muscles extended straight you also risk creating lower back strain. That is because when you sleep, you are pulling your pelvis out of its neutral alignment and into an arched lower back.
By propping a memory foam or regular small pillow under your knees, your legs will bend in a more natural sleeping posture. This sleeping position can also help get rid of severe shoulder pain and upper-middle back pain after sleeping, as it places your body in a more neutral position. If you feel like this position is too uncomfortable, you can prop your head and neck with a memory foam pillow against the mattress. That can ensure that your body is straight while its natural curve is supported.
You Need A New Mattress
Having a cozy sleep setup is also key to avoiding back pain after sleeping. Snooze on a comfortable, supportive mattress that holds your spine in a neutral position, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
âThe fix:â If you have an old or uncomfortable mattress, consider getting a new innerspring or foam mattress to support your spine, per the Cleveland Clinic, which may help you avoid mid-back pain after sleeping.
You can also opt for a foam mattress topper to take your current bedding to the next level.
You May Like: Pain Management Panama City Fl
How Do I Check For Sagging
Its important to be able to identify when your mattress starts sagging and starts causing you back pain. Use the method outlined below to figure out if your mattress is sagging.
Also Check: Aleve Or Advil For Lower Back Pain
Is It Better To Sleep Without A Pillow To Avoid Neck Pain
Is it better to sleep without a pillow to avoid neck pain? Or, does sleeping without a pillow actually lead to neck pain? There are a few advantages of sleeping without a pillow to consider, especially for your posture.
Sleeping without a pillow will actually help extend your back and help you rest in a more natural position, possibly without any aches or pains. At the same time, using a pillow that is too soft will strain your neck muscles and reduce the flow of blood to the head.
Overall, sleeping without or with a pillow is a personal choice. That being said, here are some sleeping without a pillow benefits that you need to know:
Recommended Reading: Where Is Pancreatic Cancer Pain Felt
How Sleep Can Contribute To Back Pain
Although there are many potential sources of lower back pain, how youre sleeping can be a factor. When youre sleep-deprived, your tolerance for pain is lower than it would be if you slept well. Studies have shown that losing sleep can heighten sensitivity to painful stimuli. In theory, sleep loss increases painful inflammation and getting enough sleep may reduce inflammation.
Another factor that can increase back pain is your response to pain medication when youre sleep-deprived. In a study of healthy normal adults, the analgesic effects of codeine are diminished in sleep-deprived individuals versus non-sleepy individuals. Sleeping well may help your pain medications work better.
Best Sleeping Position For Neck Pain
If you have spent the entire day with stiff and sore muscles, then you probably want to know how to sleep correctly with neck pain at nighttime. You may need to improve your posture while you sleep by choosing a position that helps keep your spine in alignment.
What is the best sleeping position for neck pain specifically? In general, there are two sleeping positions that are most comfortable on the neckâsleeping on your back or your side. Letâs take a look at how to best side sleep and back sleep.
- Back sleeping: Back sleepers are best to use a thin pillow to support the natural curve of your neck. It may be helpful to use a small neck pillow or a specialized pillow with built-in neck support. You can also put a small neck roll into the case of a soft pillow.
- Side sleeping: How about the best pillow for neck pain for side sleepers? Those that sleep on the side typically need a thicker pillow to ensure the head and neck is positioned in the middle of the shoulders. The height and width of your shoulders are also important to consider. For instance, a petite person will require a slimmer pillow than a broad-shouldered individual.
Recommended Reading: Pain Below Knee When Bending
Sleeping Positions For Back And Neck Pain
Getting a good nights sleep can be tough with back or neck pain. Its avicious cycle. You need sleep to heal, but your back hurts so you cant sleep,so you cant heal, so your back still hurts and you cant sleep.
The non-restorative sleep that is typical when youre in pain preventsthe relaxation of your muscles and impedes the healing that normally occursduring sleep. During restful sleep, the heart and blood pressure slow, thebrain is able to release the hormones that stimulate tissue growth and repairblood vessels, the body makes more white blood cells and the immune system isboosted.
If sleeping well is that important to healing back pain and neck pain, how do you do it? Heres how to sleep when your back hurts.
Do Morning Stretches In Bed
Simple stretching exercises can relieve back pain, and there are stretches you can do before you get out of bed.
For example, you can lie on your back and do a full-body stretch when you first wake up. For this exercise, stretch your arms and hands above your head as far as you can, with your legs and feet stretching in the opposite direction. Hold for a few seconds before releasing.
It may also help to stretch out your lower back. To do this, you can bring your knees into your chest and hold, wrapping your arms around them. Then gently rock from side to side.
You May Like: Can’t Work Due To Back Pain
Prevent Back Pain During The Day
Ultimately, its not just about how you sleep. Your posture and activity during the day has a significant effect on muscles that may wind up feeling sore no matter what position you sleep in.
During the day, focus on maintaining good posture at work and taking frequent breaks to get up and stretch.
This might mean the difference between waking up feeling like you need a visit to a massage therapist and getting out of bed ready to take on the day.
Do you have any tips or tricks for avoiding back pain due to sleep? Share them with us in the comments section!
Why Do You Have Shoulder Pain From Sleeping In The Wrong Position
Empirically, it should be more than evident that sleeping on your side may cause pain in your shoulder. The reason behind this is the fact that, while youre sleeping, the majority of your torsos weight is on your shoulder.
While this is something you may already know, theres also scientific proof that your sleep position affects the frequency and intensity of your shoulder pain.
The solution to this problem would, therefore, be adopting a better sleeping position.
Neck Pain From Sleeping Is Manageable
Neck pain from sleeping can be your worst nightmare in the morning. This can be caused by sleeping on your stomach, sleeping with your hand placed on the forehead, or having pillow problems like stiff or thick pillows cramping your comfort level during sleep.
Luckily, sleep posture matters. Try sleeping on your back or side, or sleep without a pillow. Sleeping without a pillow is known to benefit the neck, spine, and face. At the same time, it might also improve the quality of your sleep.
Other ways to relieve neck pain include neck exercises, showers or baths, applying heat or cold, acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and an anti-inflammatory diet.
Also Read :