What Causes Lower Back Pain While Sleeping
Your back isanchored by your spine, which is essentially a column of bones stacked atop oneanother. In between each bone is a jelly-like pad called a spinal disc. Whereyou sleep and the position you sleep in can affect your spinal alignment. Whileyou sleep, you can twist and place strain on your spinal column, which cancause discomfort and pain. If you are sleeping on a hard surface or surfacethat does not provide proper support, it can also place strain on your spinalcolumn and muscles.
Pain caninterfere with sleep and lack of sleep can exacerbate pain. The sooner you knowthe best way to sleep with lower back pain, you can change how youâre sleeping,reduce your pain and stop this stressful negative cycle.
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.
How To Choose The Best Pillow For Your Lower Back Pain
The best indicator that you have the right pillow for your back is, of course, going to be your comfort and restful sleep. However, there are a few key questions to ask yourself when evaluating a new pillow:
Does the pillow fit comfortably between your neck and shoulder?If you feel like the pillow is bending your neck too far in one direction? If so, then it could cause stiffness, pain, and spinal misalignment from your head down to your low back.
Is the pillow too firm or soft?The density, or in other words, the firmness or softness of your pillow is crucial for supporting your head in a rested position. Soft pillows tend to sink lower and conform to your head shape. Whilst harder pillows maintain their original shape and height.
Is your pillow too tall or short?Youll need to explore what feels best in terms of how thin or thick your pillow is, which again contributes to providing just the right support for your unique body shape and spine. Your preferred sleeping position plays a role in determining the best heat for you. Those who sleep on their backs may prefer a lower pillow while side-sleepers may consider taller pillows. Keeping a symmetrical position while sleeping can help prevent imbalances that lead to lower back pain.
Do you run hot or cold when you sleep?Check how your pillow rates for breathability before you buy. If you know that you tend to run hot, then its worth finding a pillow thats got excellent airflow, or even a pillow with special cooling gel.
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Comfilife Lumbar Support Pillow
Heres another bed wedge pillow to help with lower back pain. This time from ComfiLife, a brand with vast experience in the comfort goods niche. This is not the first product of them we have recommended, and Im sure it wont be the last.
- Dimensions: 27.5 x 15.5 x 1.25 inches. As you can see, this wedge pillow is considerably bigger than the Cozy Hut.
- Design: This pillow is ergonomically designed to provide optimal spinal alignment.
- Materials: Its made of 100% premium memory foam.
- Shouldnt go flat over time.
How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain
Jenny Iyo, Physical Therapist
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We regularly assess how the content in this article aligns with current scientific literature and expert recommendations in order to provide the most up-to-date research.
Our medical review team has recently evaluated this page to ensure accuracy. We will continue to monitor and revise this article as new literature is published on how back pain impacts sleep.
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.
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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 In The Fetal Position
The fetal posture for lower back pain is considered beneficial for people experiencing herniated discs. But to make this the best sleeping position for lower back pain, certain alterations are to be made.
- Lay on your back calmly and slowly roll over to your side
- In the next step, tuck your knees towards your chest and gradually curl your torso towards your knees
- Remember to change your sides continuously to avert any sort of imbalance
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Reduce Strain On Your Back
In a similar way to how back sleepers feel that strain when they lay flat on their backs, stomach sleepers will also feel that strain if they sleep in a position that doesn’t support the spine’s natural curve. Just like your body isn’t flat from your shoulders to your heels, it’s also not flat from your chest to your toes. If you place a pillow under your stomach and pelvis area to lift it a little bit, you can relieve the tension in your lower back.
Where Do You Place A Knee Pillow
How to sleep with a knee pillow completely depends on your sleeping patterns and positions. These types of pillow will allow you to put anywhere you want. Side sleeper can place it between two legs to enjoy a night of uninterrupted sleep. Back sleepers will feel much better if they put the pillow under each knee of them.
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On The Back In A Reclined Chair Or Bed
This might help people with lower back pain, particularly those with isthmic spondylolisthesis, a condition in which one spinal vertebra slips over the vertebra right below.
If a person gets significant relief from resting in a reclined chair, it may be worth investing in an adjustable bed that can be positioned in the same way.
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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.
Sleep On Your Stomach With A Pillow Under Your Abdomen
Sleeping on your stomach might not be the best sleeping position for lower back pain, as has already been heard. You might feel that you cant sleep on your stomach with lower back pain because it adds pressure to your neck. But, if you have been a stomach sleeper for the longest time and cannot undo it, making certain adjustments can make this one of the most comfortable positions for lower back pain. The alterations are as follows:
- Place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to lower the pressure from your back
- After checking how this position feels, you may or may not place a pillow under your head
Lay On Your Back With A Cushion Under Your Knees
If lying on your back is your natural or most comfortable position, you should put a cushion under the back of your knees in order to hold your spine in neutral.
In this case, the pillow has a crucial role since it should support the straight and natural curve of your neck and your shoulders, which means that it shouldnt be as high nor firm as the one which side-sleepers should use. It shouldnt be too low either if you can see the tips of your toes while youre on your back, it would be an ideal position.
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The Best Sleeping Position For Your Back Pain
When you sleep, you lose conscious control over your body, and you can end up twisting your spine or tucking your pelvis in. An existing back pain can get further aggravated, resulting in a restless night of sleep.1 Using supported sleeping postures can prevent the concentration of stresses on your spine, keep your back relaxed, and create a healing environment.
As a general rule, avoid sleeping on your stomachit disturbs the normal alignment of your spine.1 Also avoid sleeping on the side that hurts more, especially if you have sciatica and follow these guidelines:
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What Is The Best Pillow Positioning For Back Pain
Sleep posture can exacerbate or alleviate back pain. Sleeping on your back is often considered the best positioning for back pain. This position is most likely to encourage sleepers to maintain a neutral posture, which keeps the spine aligned and reduces pressure on the lumbar region. Sleepers can use pillows strategically to relieve back pain.
Stomach sleeping is one of the worst sleeping positions for back pain, as it puts pressure on the lower back and often leads to spinal misalignment.
The following sleeping positions, along with their potential benefits and drawbacks, should be considered:
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What Should I Look For In A Pillow For Lower Back Pain
In general, you want to opt for a pillow thats not too high or puffy, Dr. Womack says. You dont want anything that will prop your head up too much to where your neck is really bent, he says. Instead, he recommends trying to find a pillow that will help line up your head with your shoulders.
A pillow should be firm enough to support the weight of your body, but soft enough to be comfortable,” suggests Dr. Slabaugh, like one of these expert-recommended best pillows for back pain.
How To Relieve Lower Back Pain When Standing Up From Sitting Position
Essentially, there are a whole host of techniques that patients can use to alleviate back pain, which we have discussed earlier. These involve doing certain exercises, adopting an ergonomic posture in the workplace while sitting, practicing regular movement during your office session and perhaps using recliners in your office.
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Positions For Side Sleepers
Sleeping on your side places your spine out of alignment. Your top knee will pull down on your back and can cause pain. If youre a side sleeper, youll want to make sure that your hips and waist are properly aligned.
4. Using a pillow between your knees
While your standard bed pillows will work well, a knee pillow is specifically designed to contour and fit comfortably between your top and bottom leg keeping your spine properly aligned by raising your hips and knees.
5. Placing support under the hollow of your waist
Some side sleepers may find that rolling up a small towel or using a small foam pillow placed under their waist adds the necessary support to their spine. The extra support lifts your waist just enough to keep your lower back and spine in line without causing extra stress.
6. In the fetal position
What’s The Best Way To Get Rid Of Low Back Pain
Low back pain can affect your sleep as well as your daily routine, and disrupting or not having the ability to have quality sleep makes everything worse. Even though you can incorporate tips to ease your pain, having a solid solution is essential. The best way to get rid of lower back pain is by tackling the root cause of the pain. You can achieve long-term pain relief through using the Hip Hook, a tool that’s specifically designed to release tension in your iliopsoas muscles, which are often the main cause of lower back pain.
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More Than A Minor Inconvenience
Seeking relief, Americans spend over $50 billion each year just on lower back pain. Its the second most common reason people miss work, third most common reason for surgeries, and fifth most common cause of hospitalization, and its responsible for 20% of doctor visits as well. Two 2014 studies suggest back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide.
Pain can also affect sleep. A2014 Korean studyVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourceof people with chronic lower back pain found that 32% of respondents experienced sleep disturbances due to pain, with those experiencing more pain reporting a higher amount of disturbances. A previousAustralian studyVerified SourceNational Library of Medicine Worlds largest medical library, making biomedical data and information more accessible.View sourcelooking at both acute and chronic back pain found that 58% of people reported disturbed sleep due to pain.
The ongoing impact of back pain in America:
- Over $50 billion in treatment costs
- 15-20% have long-term back pain
- 3-4% temporarily disabled due to back pain
- 1% of workforce disabled permanently
- 2nd most common cause of missed work
- 3rd leading reason for surgery
- Among leading reason for hospital and doctor visits
The 2015 Sleep in America poll looked at the connections between sleep, stress and pain. Over 1000 adults were surveyed, and the results found:
Sleep On Your Side With A Cushion Between Your Knees
Lying on the side is the most common position, especially among women. Although its not an ideal posture, if you make sure your shoulders and hips are well supported, this could turn into quite a good option.
Heres a tip: when youre lying on your side, bend your knees slightly and put a small pillow between them. This way, youll reduce the pressure your hips would normally put on your back and prevent them from twisting.
On the other hand, a cushion under your head should be of appropriate height, which means that your neck and your back should be even and straight this way your chin wont be drawn into your chest. General advice for back sleepers is that they should have higher pillows in order to prevent the pain. Finding the right-sized one can sometimes be really exhausting, so the custom body pillow could be a perfect solution for many. Knowing this, numerous companies have started manufacturing customized variations. Its possible to choose your preferred material and the exact style, and everything is set up. For those who wonder what this could look like, its also possible to read more and see more here about for more descriptions and advantages of these cushions.
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