How to Sleep Well When You Have Back Pain
If you have back pain, you probably take steps each day both to prevent and alleviate that pain. From using lumbar pillows and ergonomic chairs to stretching and following your doctor’s advice, you might think you have all the bases covered. However, did you know it’s important to be mindful of lower back pain even when you’re sleeping?
By making a few adjustments to your sleeping position, you can keep your back in a healthy alignment all night and wake up with less pain. Here are a couple of positions to try – as well as one position to absolutely avoid – to soothe and prevent lower back pain.
Lying on your side is the best choice for a comfortable night’s sleep and a healthy back. However, you need to pay attention to a few key issues to make this position work for you. Your goal should be to keep your spine in a neutral, naturally curved position. Do this by lying on your side and putting a slight bend in your knees. Then, “stack” your hips in a straight line. Avoid letting one hip fall forward because it will rotate your lumbar spine and create pain. Instead, place a firm pillow in between your knees so that your legs are positioned about hip-width apart. It might take a few nights to get used to this position, but once you adjust, you’re sure to wake up with less back pain.
Lying on your back while sleeping can help you keep the spine in a natural, comfortable position. One word of caution, though: If you have snoring problems or sleep apnea, be sure to talk with your doctor about the benefits and costs of sleeping on your back. While this position is great for the back, it can make snoring and apnea worse.
To sleep comfortably on your back, use a pillow that raises your head enough to support the back of your neck. Also, place a small pillow under your knees to relieve the pressure on your lower back. Doing so will keep your spine resting in a safe and comfortable position.
Whatever you do, avoid lying on your stomach while you are sleeping. This position keeps your lower back compressed all night, and it keeps your head and neck twisted to the side in an unnatural position. In fact, even if you don’t have lower back pain, sleeping on your stomach can lead to severe discomfort upon waking in the morning!
Changing your sleeping position will require some practice and patience. However, once you’ve adjusted to a more natural position, waking with less back pain will be a well-deserved reward.