Top Tips on Sleeping with Back Pain

Often when we experience back or neck pain this can make sleeping difficult. Patients often fall into to two categories those that are unable to find a comfortable position when going to bed which prevents them from sleeping or those that do manage to get to sleep initially but wake up due to pain turning over or changing position in bed.

Given that most of us hopefully spend around 8 hours a night in bed sleeping the position we adopt  can have a major impact on our spines and the other joints of our bodies.

What is the best position to sleep in with back pain?

This is a question that I am asked a lot through the course of my day and the answer will often depend on your sleeping habits. Lying flat on your back is generally considered the best position to sleep in as it puts the least amount of pressure on the lumbar spine.  However if you are someone who generally sleeps on your front or side then altering habits can be difficult.

The best solution for sleeping with back pain? – Alter your position with supports!

The bottom line is that if you continue to sleep in the same position as always that you will continue to put pressure on the same parts as you always do. The way to alter this is by using pillows

If you can sleep on your back:

The best position as noted above will be to lie flat on your back with several pillows supporting the legs if possible all the way up to a 90-degree angle. This position takes all the pressure off the lower spine and allows for a decompression of the joints and neurological structures overnight. One patient remarked to me that after doing this for one week he felt better than he had in the last 15 years having seen many different types of physical therapists in this time.

If you sleep on your side:

Sleeping on your side is one of the more commonly reported sleeping positions. People who sleep on their side will often find that they cannot sleep in any other position. The solution to this is to place a thick pillow between your legs to change the point where pressure will be applied. It serves to open up the sacroiliac complex and can often help in a better nights sleep.

Sleeping on your front:

Sleeping on your front is considered a poor position to sleep in as it focuses pressure on the lower lumbar spine, people who do this often feel very stiff and sore in the morning. The suggestion if you cannot sleep in any other position is to place a pillow under your stomach to flatten out the spinal curve and reduce pressure in this region.

I have tried all the above but I am still not able to sleep due to pain:

Pain in the back when sleeping can be caused by many different things, joint irritations, disc prolapse, muscular spasm or even more serious pathologies. If pain persists beyond a few days then consult a professional in order to determine what is causing your symptoms and get help.

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Positive Balance Osteopathy
55 Main Street
Co. Wicklow

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