How to Sleep If You Have Chronic Back Pain

Updated on December 2, 2020

Good night sleep is essential for your physical and mental well-being. Getting quality sleep is a challenge for restless sleepers and who suffer from various diseases. Lower back pain affects people’s productivity during working hours. The quality of sleep also suffers alot when you have back pains.

Most of the lower back pain comes from lifestyle choices and the activities we involve ourselves with. Your sitting posture, weightlifting, or even mental challenges can lead to back pains. Awkward sleeping positions also lead to back pains. Getting 8 hours of sleep thus becomes impossible if you have backaches. Let us discuss the best sleeping positions if you have back pains:

Sleep on your side and have a pillow between your knees

Sleeping on your back may feel uncomfortable when you have back pains. Let your left or right shoulder to make contact with the mattress. The rest of the body on that side should also assume the same position. You can also add a small pillow if there is a gap between the mattress and your waist. Do not sleep on the same side all night as this may cause muscle imbalance. This sleeping position will not eradicate the pain. However, the pillow helps your pelvis, hips, and spine alignment.

Sleep on your stomach with a pillow tucked underneath

Sleeping on your stomach is not the best when you have back pains as it strains your neck. However, there are instances you will feel the urge to sleep on your stomach. Place a pillow under your lower abdomen or your pelvic area as it helps relieve some pressure from your lower back. You can as well add a pillow under your head depending on how this position feels. This sleeping is very beneficial to someone suffering from degenerative disc disease. Sleeping on your stomach relieve stress and pressure between discs in the lower back.

Assume a fetal position and sleep on your side

It is the best sleeping position if you are suffering from a herniated disc. The bending of the spine reduces when one sleeps on the side with knees tucked into the chest. This sleep position also opens up joints that may have been pressurized in the past. The first step to assuming this position is to get into the bed and roll on to one side. You can then position a pillow that will support your neck and head. You can then draw your knees upwards towards the chest until the back assumes a straight position.

Sleep on the back with knees’ support

Experts on this field recommend this lying position as it distributes the weight of the body evenly. This position ensures good alignment of the spine, head, and neck and also minimizes pressure points. A small pillow under the knees provides additional support as well as maintaining the natural curve of the spine. Do not twist your head sideways when you are assuming this position. Add a support pillow on your head or neck. You can also fill any spaces between your body and chiropractor-approved mattresses with small pillows.

Sleeping on the back with a reclined posture

This posture fits those who are suffering from isthmic spondylolisthesis. It is a spinal condition where one vertebra slips forward over the one below. It can either be caused by a fracture or defect of the pars interarticularis (the bone that connects the upper and lower facet joints). The best option for someone suffering from this condition is an adjustable bed. Reclining creates an angle between your trunk and the thighs. This reclining angle comes in handy as it reduces pressure on the spine.

Sleep on your back and place a pillow below your knees

Your weight gets evenly distributed when you lay on your back. This weight also gets spread across the widest area of your body. This position reduces strain on the pressure points, which reduces pain. The alignment of your spine and the internal organs receive a boost from this position. The pillow should be below your knees but ensure that the spine is in a neutral position. You can also add a rolled-up towel on your back to beef up support.

There are several sleeping positions that you can assume when you are suffering from back pains, as you can already see. However, these sleeping positions will not heal or relieve you from the pain, but they just help you have an easy time while sleeping. New York Pain Care Center’s back pain programs are a good example of a long-term solution dealing with the root cause. 

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