Whether You Have Back Neck Or Pregnancy Pain Your Sleep Posture Makes A Big Difference In How You Feel Each Morning
Good posture is a key to a healthy spine, but posture isnt just about sitting or standing straight. Your sleep posture also has a major impact on your back and neck. While some positions help you feel refreshed come morning, others can leave you stiff, sore, and in pain.
When it comes to finding the best sleeping pose for your back and neck, think neutral. Positions that put your spine in a neutral, or straight, alignment put the least amount of stress on your back and neck. Learn which positions put your spine in a neutral state and those that should be avoided below.While some positions help you feel refreshed come morning, others can leave you stiff, sore, and in pain. Photo Source: LifetimeStock.
Blame Your Expensive Mattress
Like pillows, your mattress needs to provide support that conforms to your body. The right mattress will help you maintain proper sleep posture all night.
Beware of the squishy pillow top mattresses!
Pillow top mattresses have become quite popular in recent years. Theyre not necessarily better than non-pillow top types. Laying on a very soft compressible surface all night long can cause back pain for some, particularly stomach sleepers. These mattresses can allow your body to bend too far downward at the heaviest part, your waist. This can be a result of the pillow tops filling:
- simply being too soft or
- sagging and/or compressing over time from repeated use.
Maybe your mattress is just too firm?
If your mattress is too firm, it wont compress sufficiently to allow your body to sink downwards in the appropriate locations.
If youre convinced that a new mattress is the key to eliminating your back pain, shop with caution.
The large mattress manufacturers are frequently criticized for their marketing practices. They often distribute the same mattress under different names to each retailer intentionally making it difficult for consumers to comparison shop.
The Best Sleep Positions For Back Pain
Some sleep positions are truly better for you than others, and Tozer has his preferences. I don’t recommend stomach sleeping for both low back and neck health,” he says. I recommend side and back sleeping and varying those positions through the night.”
Sleeping on your back helps keep your head, neck, and spine in a neutral position. That takes pressure off those areas and makes it a lot less likely you’ll wake up with aches and pains in the morning. Sleeping on your side can also help keep your spine in neutral alignment and minimize back pain.
One 2016 study focused on the effects of sleep positions on back pain in physically active seniors. After four weeks of sleeping in the recommended position , 90% of the participants indicated a significant decrease in back pain.
It may seem nearly impossible to train your body to adopt a sleep position that’s better for your back, but it is doable. Here are Tozer’s tips:
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Can Your Sleeping Position Cause Back Pain
One’s preferred sleeping position can contribute to their back pain,” says Thomas Tozer, chiropractor at Imperium Chiropractic in Wisconsin. Sleeping on your stomach, in particular, is bad for your back, he says, because it’s hard to maintain neutral spinal alignment while in this position.
Additionally, sleeping in the same position in the same spot night after night can lead to back pain. “If someone only sleeps in one position in the same spot in a mattress, and the mattress breaks down over time, then the proper support may be lost,” explains Tozer.
Beyond sleep position and a poor mattress, Tozer cites several other sources of chronic back pain, such as sprains and strains, subluxations in the spine , scoliosis, arthritis, and degenerative disc disease. These are all things that can benefit from a visit to your physician.
Whether your back pain is caused by your sleep position or something else, it can lead to major issues with being able to get a good night’s sleep. Back pain can be a serious problem,” says Tozer. “Sleeping is a critical time for the body to be able to heal and recover from the stresses of the day. The discomfort of back pain can make sleeping difficult, and not having a proper mattress can hinder the process of healing.”
Sleep On Your Side With A Knee Pillow
Chances are you’ve slept on your side many times. Unfortunately, this sleeping position can take your spine out of its proper position and strain your back. The good news is there’s an easy fix. All you have to do is put a pillow between your knees so you can raise your upper leg and restore your natural alignment.
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Side Sleepers And Back Pain
Side sleeping has its benefits, such as open airways and reduced snoring. The position is ideal for those who may suffer from sleep apnea. It can also be a good position for back pain sufferers but only under certain circumstances. To make sleeping on your side work for you, try a pillow between your legs and bend them no more than a 45 degree angle. Make sure the pillow under your head is thick and supportive, and watch for sagging in your mattress as it ages.
Why Your Mattress Matters For Back Pain
If youre waking up with back pain, you may be sleeping on the wrong mattress. However, your bed is typically not the cause of back pain. In any case, a good mattress can help relieve issues that cause back pain.
A good mattress that is well suited to your needs will help to align your spine. This alignment can alleviate aches and pains. People who suffer from lower back pain should look for a mattress that doesnt put pressure on pain points, particularly the shoulders and sacrum. These beds are typically firm enough that your shoulders dont sink, but soft enough to feel comfortable. Look for a 5-7 rating on the mattress firmness scale .
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On The Back With Knee Support
Lying on the back evenly distributes the bodys weight, helping to minimize pressure and ensure a good alignment of the head, neck, and spine.
Placing a small pillow under the knees may provide additional support and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.
To get comfortable in this position:
The Role Of Your Mattress
We spend one-third of each day in bed, meaning your mattress and how you sleep is just as important as focusing on posture in the daytime hours. Since sleep is a time for healing and renewal, it may arguably be even more important.
Its an important, often-asked question. But, there is no single right answer. When it comes to picking a bed, there are no hard and fast rules that will apply for every person, every time. Essentially, the best mattress is the one that you feel gives you good, refreshing sleep with minimal pain and stiffness.
While we all have different preferences and needs that are important to consider, research and studies can shed some insight on different mattress traits and how they may interact with back pain.
The Two Basics of Beds
At their most basic, beds do two things: provide support and comfort.
Support comes from the core of the mattress, typically a sturdy foam layer or innersprings depending on the type of bed. A supportive mattress will have enough firmness to keep your spine aligned, meaning your heavier areas like hips and shoulders wont sink too far into the bed. On the other hand, it shouldnt be so firm that it forces hips and shoulders up at an awkward angle either.
Now, comfort is pretty easy to identify, but how do you know if a mattress is providing adequate support? Essentially, your spine should maintain an even, natural posture , with whichever sleep position you prefer.
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May Lead To Poor Sleep Quality
If you fall asleep on a couch in a shared space, your chances of being interrupted during the night due to someone elses movement are increased. Not only that, sleeping on the couch often means that you are falling asleep with the television on. Sleeping in front of a TV can result in a lack of REM sleep, disturbing dreams, and more frequent wake-ups during the night. Thats why its
Sleep With A Pillow Under Your Stomach Under The Abdomen
You may have read that it is probably bad to sleep on your stomach because of back pain. This is partially true because it can add to your neck tension.
But if you rest on the stomach, you do not have to push yourself into a new stance. Instead of that:
To ease pressure off the back, put a pillow under the lower abdomen and pelvis.
You may or may not choose to use a pillow under your head, depending on how this position feels.
Contact a back doctor in OKC for treating your back and shoulder pain. Our back specialists would ease your pain and get back you to the normal life. At Neuroscience Specialist we would be serving you for an extended range of spine and bone health issues.
**Disclaimer- Information presented here is not intended to be qualified medical advice. Nothing expressed herein creates a doctor-patient relationship.
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Solutions Shoulder Pain When Sleeping On Your Side
Sleeping on your side is perhaps the worst sleep position if you’re prone to shoulder pain. When you sleep on your side, your shoulders and your hips support most of your body weight.
Not only that, but side sleepers tend to curl up while sleeping too. This misaligns your spine and can cause more body pain as you age.
Other Sleep Hygiene Tips
Here are some other ideas for how you can get better rest at night and reduce your back pain:
Put yourself on a sleep schedule. It may be hard to resist sleeping in if you toss and turn all night. Still, setting regular bedtimes and wake times can help your body fall into a more natural sleeping pattern. Aim to get around eight hours of sleep per night.
Having trouble with a sleep schedule? Try following a nightly routine. Start this routine about 30 to 60 minutes before your set bedtime. Choose two soothing activities that help put your mind into a relaxing space.
Ideas include taking a bath, doing some gentle yoga, and engaging in quiet hobbies like reading or knitting.
Skip caffeinated drinks like coffee and other stimulants. If you just have to drink a cup, finish your last one before noon.
Save hard exercise for the morning or early afternoon hours. Doing anything too rigorous before bed may raise your adrenaline levels and even your body temperature. These two factors make it even harder to sleep.
If you dont already have a primary care doctor, the Healthline FindCare tool can help you find a physician in your area.
For pain relief
Use an ice or a cold gel pack before hopping into bed. It may help reduce inflammation in your back and relieve pain. Apply the cold pack to your back for 15 to 20 minutes before sleep.
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Can Your Mattress Cause Lower Back Pain
Because it is a principal means of supporting the body during sleep, a mattress can play an important role in preventing or reducing lower back pain.
Proper spinal alignment demands a mattress that is in good condition and doesnt sag excessively. Research supports using a medium-firm mattress to combat lower back pain, although the most appropriate firmness can vary based on a persons weight, body shape, sleeping position, and individual comfort preferences.
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.
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Remember: Alignment Is Key
No matter what position you choose, keeping proper alignment of your spine is the most important part of the equation. Focus specifically on aligning your ears, shoulders, and hips.
You may notice gaps between your body and the bed that strain your muscles and spine. You can reduce this stress by using pillows to fill the gaps.
Be careful while turning in bed. You can get out of alignment during twisting and turning motions as well. Always move your entire body together, keeping your core tight and pulled in. You may even find it helpful to bring your knees toward your chest as you roll over.
When To See A Provider About One
If you have pain in the left or right side of your backthat started for no particular reason, it will most often resolve on its own orwith minimal treatment, says Dr. DeMicco. Typically, we see 50% of casesresolving within two weeks and 75% resolving by six to eight weeks.
Have you been dealing with intense pain for 10 days andover-the-counter pain relievers arent cutting it? Time to call your doctor,who may recommend:
- Stronger medicines: Prescription-strength muscle relaxants and anti-inflammatory medications could take the edge off as your body heals.
- Manipulation: A physical therapist, chiropractor or osteopath could perform hands-on treatment that deliver relief.
If your pain extends beyond six weeks, your doctor willlikely recommend imaging, says Dr. DeMicco. An X-ray is usually the firststep to ensure there isnt a broken bone or some other obvious reason for thepain.
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What Sleep Position Is Best For Spine Health
The National Sleep Foundation has ranked sleep positions based on whats best for your overall health and wellness. This ranking takes into account both your orthopedic fitness and your general health .
Their ranking is consistent with what orthopedists recommend. When youre sleeping, you should strive to keep your spine as neutral as possible including your head position. Your legs should be elongated if possible, but not overly straight. Keep a natural bend in the knee.
A neutral spine keeps your muscles long and loose, not flexed, which reduces the risk of soreness or tightness anywhere in the body. For example, by keeping your legs straight, not bent at ninety degree angles, you eliminate the risk of your knee ligaments becoming tight and stiff in a bent position.
Neutral spine posture is also symmetrical, which keeps your body in balance the muscles on one side of your body wont be working harder than the other.
Keeping this in mind, the best sleep positions for back and neck health are, in order:
If youre experiencing back or neck pain, take a look at your mattress and pillows too. And old mattress with weakening inner springs may not be supporting your spine enough, or some of the springs may be pressing into pressure points, triggering pain. You may need a firmer mattress or a softer one. Or your pillow may be to blame it could be too flat or too high.
What To Look For In A Pillow
Your pillow should cradle your head and neck and help to support the upper portion of your spine.
If you sleep on your back, your pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. If you sleep on your side, try using a thicker pillow to keep your head in line with the rest of your body in this position.
Whatever you do, dont place your pillow under your shoulders.
For back sleepers: You may do best with thinner pillows and those that have extra padding in the bottom to support the neck.
Memory foam is a good material that molds specifically to your own neck.
A water pillow is another option that gives firm, all-over support.
For stomach sleepers: You should aim to use the thinnest pillow possible or no pillow at all. In fact, you may try sleeping on your side while holding a body pillow. The body pillow will give you the feeling of something against your stomach while helping to align the rest of your body.
For side sleepers: You may want to look for a firm pillow. Better yet, try to find one that has an extra-wide gusset that will help with the space between your ear and shoulder. And dont forget to place a firm pillow between your knees. You may even substitute a rolled towel.
While youre at it, remember to change your pillow every 18 months or so. Those pillow protectors can be a good barrier, but pillows still hold lots of allergy triggers like mold and dust mites.
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