Most people understand back pain caused by strain, injuries, and chronic conditions like osteoporosis and arthritis—but even the way you sleep can lead to neck, back, and lumbar spine pain. You wouldn’t sit at your desk for six to eight hours a day in a position that strains your neck and contorts your spine; and neither should you sleep in positions that twist your spine’s natural shape. The following is a list of sleeping positions that may contribute to chronic back pain and what you can do to manage it:
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Many stomach sleepers turn their head to the left or right and lay their arms above their head to find a comfortable position. This pinches your upper back muscles and throws your neck off balance as half of your neck muscles contract, and the other half extend. Furthermore, sleeping on your stomach compresses your lumbar spine, causing lower back pain. If you really can’t fall asleep any other way, try placing a pillow under your pelvis to reduce the strain on your back.
Sleeping on Your Back
Sleeping on your back is one of the best ways to support the entirety of your musculoskeletal system, but it can cause problems if your knees are not fully supported and your lower back arches high to compensate. If sleeping on your back is most comfortable for you, try placing a pillow under your knees to help maintain the natural curve of your lower back.
Sleeping on Your Side
Sleeping on your side is one of the best ways to protect your back, if done correctly. However, many people allow one leg to overlap the other, which can throw your hips out of alignment and cause tightness in your hips and lower back. To best protect your back, keep both knees bent and place a pillow between your two legs to maintain normal leg and hip alignment. Don’t forget a supportive pillow under your head to protect your neck.
If you experience back pain and would like to learn more about noninvasive procedures to reduce your symptoms, call Carolina Back Institute at (919) 781-9950 to schedule an appointment at either of our Raleigh and Cary offices today.