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    The Best — and Worst — Sleep Positions for Back Pain

    If you’ve ever woken up with a tingling arm or achy neck, you’ve experienced the negative effects of sleeping in the wrong position.

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    The Best — and Worst — Sleep Positions for Back Pain

    Everyday Health

    The Best — and Worst — Sleep Positions for Back Pain

    Originally published January 3, 2019

    Last reviewed January 6, 2022

    Reading Time: 2 minutes

    Do you have neck or back pain? Your sleep style may be contributing.

    If you’ve ever woken up with a tingling arm or achy neck, you’ve experienced the negative effects of sleeping in the wrong position.

    The key is alignment: When you sleep with your spine in a neutral position, it reduces the strain on your back and neck. It also helps to sleep on a firm surface.

    So which sleep positions should you embrace and which should you avoid? Here’s a rundown, from best to worst.

    The ideal sleep position: On your back

    The best position to avoid back pain is lying flat on your back. Even so, many people find it the hardest way to enjoy deep sleep. For optimal spine alignment, place one pillow underneath your head or neck and another underneath your knees. If you’re pregnant, however, you should avoid this position because it decreases blood circulation to the heart and baby.

    Side sleeping: A solid runner-up

    Side sleeping with your legs straight is the second-best position for avoiding back and neck pain. It’s also a good position for snorers or anyone with sleep apnea because it keeps your airways open. If you can, stretch your legs out straight and tuck a pillow between your knees to keep your spine in a neutral alignment.

    Another type of side sleeping — with your legs bent upwards — is less ideal for your back. Known as the fetal position, it may be the most popular sleep style, but it promotes an uneven distribution of weight that can cause back pain and sore joints. Try straightening your body into a relaxed position by untucking your chin and adjusting your knees. If you’re pregnant, it’s a comfortable way to take the weight from your back.

    The worst sleep position: On your stomach

    Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your spine, according to Raymond J. Hah, MD, a spine surgeon at Keck Medicine of USC and assistant professor of clinical orthopedic surgery at the Keck School of Medicine of USC. “This position puts the most pressure on your spine’s muscles and joints because it flattens the natural curve of your spine,” he says. “Sleeping on your stomach also forces you to turn your neck, which can cause neck and upper back pain.”

    Research shows that there’s a correlation between pain and sleep, so it makes sense to incorporate simple changes in your sleep style that alleviate back pain — and less pain means better sleep.

    Topics

    back pain Dr. Raymond J. Hah neck pain side sleeping sleep positions Heidi Tyline King

    Heidi Tyline King is a former magazine editor who has written for numerous national publications.

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    Source : www.keckmedicine.org

    Slide show: Sleeping positions that reduce back pain

    Avoid aggravating back pain while you sleep. Get comfortable using good sleeping positions.

    Source : www.mayoclinic.org

    5 Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

    If you're dealing with lower back pain, you know how difficult it can be to get a good night's sleep. Most lower back pain is a result of stress or strain from poor posture and awkward sleeping habits. Here are the five best sleeping positions to try for your lower back pain as well as other remedies for better sleep.

    The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain, Alignment Tips, and More

    Medically reviewed by William Morrison, M.D. — Written by Ashley Marcin — Updated on August 25, 2020

    We include products we think are useful for our readers. If you buy through links on this page, we may earn a small commission. Here’s our process.

    What can I do?

    Do you deal with lower back pain? You’re not alone.

    The Global Burden of Disease study named lower back pain the leading cause of disability across the globe.

    What’s even more interesting is that most back pain isn’t caused by serious medical conditions, like cancer or arthritis. Instead, it’s often brought on by stress or strain from bad posture, awkward sleeping positions, and other lifestyle habits.

    Here are the best sleeping positions to try if you have lower back pain, as well as some other things you can do to get a better night’s rest.

    1. Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees

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    If lying flat on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting over to your side:

    Allow your right or left shoulder to make contact with the mattress, along with the rest of that side of your body.

    Place a pillow between your knees.

    If there’s a gap between your waist and the mattress, consider using a small pillow there for added support.

    Whether you use one pillow or opt for two, you should resist the urge to always sleep on the same side. Doing so many cause issues like muscle imbalance and even scoliosis.

    How does this position help? Sleeping on your side alone won’t make you feel better. It’s using the pillow between your knees that’s the trick. The pillow will keep your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment.

    2. Sleep on your side in the fetal position

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    If you have a herniated disc, you may want to try sleeping on your side curled in a fetal position:

    Lay on your back and then roll over gently onto your side.

    Tuck your knees toward your chest and gently curl your torso toward your knees.

    Remember to switch sides from time to time to prevent any imbalances.

    How does this position help? Your discs are soft cushions between the vertebrae in your spine. Herniation happens when part of a disc pushes out of its normal space, causing nerve pain, weakness, and more. Curling your torso into a fetal position opens the space between vertebrae.

    3. Sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your abdomen

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    You may have heard that sleeping on your stomach is actually bad for back pain. This is partly true because it may add stress to your neck.

    But if you find yourself resting on your stomach, you don’t have to force another position. Instead:

    Place a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen to relieve some of the pressure off your back.

    Depending on how this position feels, you may or may not choose to use a pillow under your head.

    How does this position help? People who have degenerative disc disease may benefit most from stomach sleeping with a pillow. It can relieve any stress that is placed on the space between your discs.

    4. Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees

    For some people, sleeping on their back may be the best position to relieve back pain:

    Lay flat on your back.

    Place a pillow underneath your knees and keep your spine neutral. The pillow is important — it works to keep that curve in your lower back.

    You may also place a small, rolled up towel under the small of your back for added support.

    How does this position help? When you sleep on your back, your weight is evenly distributed and spread across the widest area of your body. As a result, you place less strain on your pressure points. You’re also able to get better alignment of your spine and your internal organs.

    5. Sleep on your back in a reclined position

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    Do you feel most comfortable snoozing in a recliner? Although sleeping in a chair may not be the best choice for back pain, this position can be beneficial if you have isthmic spondylolisthesis.

    Consider investing in an adjustable bed so you can sleep this way with the best alignment and support.

    How does this position help? Isthmic spondylolisthesis is a condition where a vertebra slips over the one below it. Reclining may be beneficial for your back because it creates an angle between your thighs and trunk. This angle helps to reduce the pressure on your spine.

    Remember: Alignment is key

    Source : www.healthline.com

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