If Youre A Combination Sleeper With Back Pain
Combination sleepers with back pain can minimize their symptoms by following certain routines with each position. When side sleeping, they should ensure the their shoulders and hips are properly supported. Back sleeping may require a pillow under the knees to reduce pressure in the back and hips, and a pillow under the lower abdomen can stomach sleeping can alleviate aches and pains in the same areas.
Sleep On The Front Of Your Body
Many doctors don’t recommend sleeping on the front of your body. But if you feel comfortable in this position, many of them will suggest you put a small pillow under your stomach and hips. This can improve the alignment of your spine. If you have degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, sleeping on the front of your body with a pillow could be a great option.
Add A Few Pillows For An Easy Fix
Another easy and customizable way to improve your sleeping situation is to use pillows for additional support while sleeping.
For back sleepers, place a pillow under your knees to bring your body back into natural alignment. If you sleep in the fetal position, WikiHow suggests using a pillow in between your knees to relieve lower back pain. Their illustration of this is below. Side sleepers should also make sure to alternate sides during the night.
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The Basics Of Back Pain
From temporary, acute pain to debilitating chronic conditions, the term back pain can be quite broad. It can be attributed to many different causes and can vary in intensity, but the scope and effect of back pain can be quite significant when it strikes. Before we get into the specifics of sleep and pain, heres a look at where back pain comes from and how it can affect life for those who have it.
Sleep On Your Side To Relieve Pain From A Pulled Back Muscle
One of the most common causes of lower back pain is a pulled back muscle, which occurs when a muscle in your lower back is strained or torn as a result of being over-stretched. Symptoms from a pulled back muscle typically resolve within a few days, but the intense pain can make it difficult to fall asleep at night. Worse yet, the longer you lie in the bed, the more deconditioned your body gets and the worse your symptoms may become.
No single sleeping position works for every person with a pulled back muscle, but a good place to start is to test sleeping on your side. When sleeping on your side, try the following:
- Avoid a tight curled-up fetal position , and instead sleep with your body slightly elongated.
- Slip a slim pillow between your knees to support the natural curvature of your spine.
- Find a head pillow that holds your head midway between each shoulder. If your pillow is too thin or too thick it can bend your neck at an uncomfortable angle.
You may also benefit from wearing a disposable heat wrap to bed to help alleviate the pain from a pulled back muscle. These wraps deliver muscle-relaxing, low-level heat over the course of several hoursand so they may help you both fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.
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Sleeping On The Back With Knee Support
Lying on the back is usually considered to be the best sleeping position for a healthy back.
This position evenly distributes weight the full length of the bodys largest surface. It also minimizes pressure points and ensures good alignment of the head, neck, and spine.
Placing a small pillow under the knees can provide additional support and help maintain the natural curve of the spine.
To adopt this sleeping position, a person should:
Dont Sleep On Your Stomach
Sleeping on the stomach is really the worst sleep position because it puts too much strain on the muscles of your back.
However, if you must sleep in that position, you can support the position more by sleeping with a pillow beneath your pelvis and lower abdomen. And always make sure the pillow is underneath your head and neck, never under your shoulders.
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Dont Forget That Its A Mattress For Your Body
Yes, read reviews. Yes, try out and test as many mattresses as you can. But, as the Cleveland Clinic points out, the mattress you pick also depends on your body shape:
If your hips are wider than your waist, a softer mattress can accommodate the width of your pelvis and allow your spine to remain neutral. If your hips and waist are in a relatively straight line, a more rigid surface offers better support.
Choosing A Mattress That Can Help With Back Pain
With the right mattress, you can align your spine and relieve pressure points, which can alleviate or eliminate back pain. Thats why its important to choose a mattress that meets your needs for firmness, comfort, and support. When youre shopping for a bed that can relieve your back pain, consider these points:
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Side Sleeping In The Fetal Position
Rather than side sleeping straight, curling up with your knees reduces pressure on the spine. If you have a herniated or bulging disc, a condition where the rubbery tissue between the spinal vertebrae slips out of place, sleeping in the fetal position can relieve your symptoms. Curling up opens the space between your vertebrae, reducing the tension on your discs.
In The Fetal Position
For anyone with a herniated disk, sleeping in the fetal position may help. This is because lying on the side with the knees tucked into the chest reduces bending of the spine and helps open up the joints.
To get comfortable in this position:
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Common Causes Of Shoulder Pain While Sleeping
Though poor posture is the biggest culprit, there are other factors that can cause tight shoulders overusing the shoulder muscles, muscle tension, or even stress can contribute to tense shoulders. In this section, we will cover the most common causes of tense shoulders that can result in shoulder pain while sleeping.
How Sleep Can Contribute To Back Pain
Although there are many potential sources of lower back pain, how youre sleeping can be a factor. When youre sleep-deprived, your tolerance for pain is lower than it would be if you slept well. Studies have shown that losing sleep can heighten sensitivity to painful stimuli. In theory, sleep loss increases painful inflammation and getting enough sleep may reduce inflammation.
Another factor that can increase back pain is your response to pain medication when youre sleep-deprived. In a study of healthy normal adults, the analgesic effects of codeine are diminished in sleep-deprived individuals versus non-sleepy individuals. Sleeping well may help your pain medications work better.
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The Best Sleeping Positions
Not only can lower back pain get in the way of a good nights rest, but poor sleeping posture may make the existing pain worse.
A poor sleeping position may even be the underlying cause of lower back pain. This is because certain positions can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, hips, and back.
It is important to maintain the natural curve of the spine when lying in bed. A person can do this by ensuring the head, shoulders, and hips are in alignment, and that the back is properly supported. The best way to do this is usually by sleeping on the back.
However, many people are uncomfortable sleeping on their back or find it causes them to snore. Everyone sleeps differently, so there is a variety of options for people who want to sleep better and reduce their back pain.
For people experiencing lower back pain at night, trying out the following postures and tips may provide relief.
How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
The lower back features an interwoven series of structures. It includes the five vertebrae of the lumbar spine, each of which is bolstered by shock-absorbing discs and held in place by ligaments. Surrounding muscles offer support and are connected to the spine by tendons. Nerves run through the spinal column to deliver signals throughout the body.
The lower back supports most of the bodys weight and is integral to all kinds of movements. Whether standing, sitting, walking, or lying down, the lower back plays a role in mobility and comfort.
Given the complexity of the lower back and how much we depend on it, it comes as no surprise that it is a leading hotspot for pain. Eight out of 10 people have back pain at some point during their life, and lower back pain is one of the top reasons why people see a doctor.
Back pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be short-lived or long-lasting. When serious, it can be debilitating and interfere with nearly all aspects of daily life, including sleep.
Pain and sleep have a complex relationship. Pain can disrupt sleep, and poor sleep can make it more likely that a person will experience pain. In addition, a sleeping position or mattress that doesnt support the lumbar spine can induce or exacerbate lower back pain.
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How Can I Make My Back Stop Hurting In Bed
There are a few things you can do to help treat your back pain in bed.
First, you can consult with a physician.
They may use high-end procedures like X-rays, MRIs, CT scans, or EMGs to determine why youre experiencing back pain in bed.
However, not all back pain merits seeing a doctor.
Generally, youll want to make an appointment with your physician only if your back pain.
- Feels especially severe or radiates to other parts of your body.
- It quickly gets worse over time.
- It started with a specific injury.
- Is showing signs of infection like fever or swelling.
- It may be causing weakness, numbness, or tingling in your lower body.
If that doesnt sound like you, though, there are a few things you can do at home to help treat your back pain.
The Best Sleeping Positions For Lower Back Pain
The best sleeping position for lower back pain is on your side with a partial bend in the knees. Keeping the knees bent helps balance the body and reduces pressure on the lumbar spine. Many people find it helpful to put a small pillow between their knees to make this position more comfortable.
Unfortunately, many back and stomach sleepers have a hard time changing their sleeping position. Even so, they can take steps to reduce strain on their lower back:
- Back sleepers can put a pillow under their knees, legs, and/or lower back to support the natural curve of the spine and minimize lumbar pressure.
- Stomach sleepers should opt for only a thin pillow under their head and place a more supportive pillow under their hips and abdomen. This works to prevent the lower back from sinking into a U-shape that pulls the spine out of alignment.
Some people with back pain use an adjustable bed that makes it easy to raise the upper or lower part of the mattress in a way that decreases tension in the lower back.
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How To Sleep To Relieve Lower Back Pain
Some mornings, getting out of bed can be hard enough. But when you wake up with lower back pain, getting out of bed and beginning your day can be even more difficult. While there are many issues that could be causing your lower back pain, one cause that many people overlook is how you sleep.
Individual sleep needs vary, but the average person sleeps anywhere from five to 10 hours per night. You can spend all day practicing habits like good posture, using a standing desk and wearing supportive footwear, but if you dont think about how your body is positioned overnight, these habits can be counterproductive, says Scott A. Rushton, MD, an orthopedic surgeon at Lankenau Medical Center, part of Main Line Health.
For many people, though, changing how you sleep can require reversing yearseven decadesof habits. Fortunately, many of the things that you can do to relieve lower back pain dont require completely changing how you sleep. Instead, you can make simple adjustments like:
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Stretch #3 Lumbar Rotation
This is the first stretch in the series that is progressive assuming the previous movements were tolerable.
Laying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat, put your knees and feet together as if you had a mermaid tail. Next, take a deep breath in a and as you exhale slowly drop your knees to the side, inhale bringing the legs back up to the starting position and exhale again as you drop them to the other side.
You do not need to have your knees touch the floor, work within your own pain-free range of motion.
Working this movement side to side creates a rotational motion in the lumbar spine and can help reduce tension if you are trying to fix lower back pain at home. This is a great exercise because it is an unassisted stretch that targets the low back which can be a difficult area to alleviate pain on your own.
How To Fix Back Pain When Sleeping
Why is it that kids can sleep in the strangest, most bizarre positions, but never seem to have any pain?
How is that they can sleep in totally unnatural positions and still sleep just fine?
And why is it that even when I try to sleep in a perfect position, on a great bed, with tons of pillows, I cant sleep. What the heck is going on?
After many years of sleepless nights, I figured out the answer.
a bonus step by step guide here to getting pain free .
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Dont Sleep On A Mattress Thats Too Soft Or Too Hard
Goldilocks was onto something when she picked Baby Bears just right bed.
A mattress thats too soft will cause your back or hips to sag and your spine to fall out of alignment, which can lead to significant pain. A mattress thats too firm will put too much pressure on your joints, especially if you sleep on your side or your back.
Thats why if you want to reduce your back pain in bed, you need a mattress that offers support but that also contours to your body to provide pressure relief and relieve pain.
That being said, theres no one-size-fits-all-best mattress for back pain. Plus, there are plenty of different materials to choose from. So be sure youre investing in a mattress made from suitable materials for your unique needs.
Sleep On The Front With Your Head Down
If you sleep on the front with your head facing one side, you may twist your spine and put unnecessary stress on your back, neck, and shoulders. You can prevent this by simply lying with your face down. It’s also a good idea to use a small pillow under your stomach and another one to lift up your forehead.
If you’re unsure of which position is right for you, try several of them. Eventually, you’ll find one that brings you the most comfort and pain relief.
All information provided on this website is for information purposes only. Please see a healthcare professional for medical advice. If you are seeking this information in an emergency situation, please call 911 and seek emergency help.
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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.