Best Sleeping Position to Prevent Back Pain

If you’ve ever woken up with a stiff, achy back, it’s probably because of your sleeping posture. Sleeping in certain positions can also take a serious toll on your nerves and muscles, especially when you don’t move that position for hours. Luckily, these unpleasant outcomes are preventable with a little modification. Start with a quick look at your current sleeping habits.

Are You Sleeping On Your Stomach?

If you can manage it, simply resting flat on your back is generally the best sleeping position to prevent back pain. This maximizes surface area, preventing weight from getting focused on any one muscle, nerve, or vertebra. This is also the ideal posture for your internal organs, allowing them to lay out naturally instead of getting pressed into each other. For best results, use only a single, medium-sized pillow under your head to keep your neck level. Place an additional pillow under your knees to elevate them slightly.

Sleeping On Your Side

Some people have a hard time lying on their backs all night, for various reasons. If that’s the case, resting on your side is the next best sleeping position. The best posture is on your side with your knees drawn slightly up in fetal position. Position your arms to allow a straight line from your hip to your shoulder, minimizing spinal arch. Put a pillow between your knees so that it’s easier to keep your back flat and perpendicular to the mattress.

Other Positions

Other sleeping positions, such as resting on your stomach, are generally not recommended except in certain circumstances. For instance, you may be forced to change your posture if you have a back injury or are recovering from a surgery. In this case, ask your doctor to prescribe a position based on your situation.

Your Bed

No amount of positioning can help you if your bed’s no good. Soft mattresses that swallow you up, might seem to be the most comfortable, but they’re actually bad for your back. They create pressure points on your spine and shoulders as your body bends into them. Instead, a firm mattress with a little give is better for distributing your weight evenly. If you’ve tried changing your sleeping position and your bed, and you’re still suffering from back pain, you should probably make an appointment with your doctor.


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