Chronic back pain can prevent people from sleeping well. In fact, a report from the National Sleep Foundation confirms that around 2 out of 3 people with chronic back pain don't sleep well! And even if people do get some sleep, they can often times wake up hurting even worse than before. This is because there are many factors that can contribute to back pain, including your sleep position.
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The different positions that you sleep in can cause strain on your back and can effect existing back pain. So, what can be done to avoid nighttime back pain? Believe it or not, it might be as simple as adding or changing pillows, or getting a new mattress. One of the best ways to find relief for nighttime back pain is changing into a sleep position that will not cause unnecessary stress on your spine.
Most people sleep in one of three ways: on their back, side, or stomach. Below we discuss the best ways to sleep in each position:
- For people who prefer to sleep on their back, it is important to support your lower back. Begin by placing a small pillow or rolled up towel underneath the small of your back. Then place another pillow under your knees. This helps to preserve the normal curve of your lower back, and reduces the stress put on it. If you are suffering with lower back pain, this position can be especially helpful for you.
- Sleeping on your stomach or abdomen is the most difficult position for people suffering with back pain, and is the position that puts the most stress on the back. If you must sleep on your stomach, place a pillow underneath your lower abdomen and pelvis to reduce the strain on your back. Also, place a pillow under your head as long as it does not cause too much strain on your back. If it does cause too much strain, sleep without a pillow under your head.
- The most common sleeping position is on your side, and the best way to do that is to sleep with your legs and hips aligned and with a pillow between your legs and thighs. It is very important to use a pillow in this position because without it your upper leg is unsupported, leaving the top of your knee and thigh to slide forward and rest on top of the mattress. This causes the lower back to rotate slightly and can lead to back and hip pain.
Sleeping incorrectly can definitely put a huge strain on your back and keep you up throughout the night. But sleeping in positions like mentioned above can help reduce stress on your back and relieve back pain!
The Illinois Back Institute is dedicated to educating people, because we know that the more that you understand about your problem, the more likely you are to eliminate it.
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