Sleeping Positions for Back Pain: Best and Worst Positions for Relief

Sleeping Positions for Back Pain: Best and Worst Positions for Relief

Depending on the posture adopted while resting, sleeping postures can either lessen or increase discomfort, which makes them important for controlling back pain. Millions of individuals throughout the world suffer from back pain, which has a variety of causes, including muscle strain, bad posture, accidents, and medical disorders. While there are many ways to treat back pain, such as medication, physical therapy, and lifestyle modifications, changing one’s sleeping posture is a straightforward yet powerful strategy that can help.

We will examine the greatest and worst sleeping positions for back pain in this post, taking into account how each position affects the alignment, pressure points, and general comfort of the spine. Finding the best posture that accommodates each person’s particular condition and preferences is essential since, while some sleeping positions may be ideal for some people, they may not be acceptable for everyone.

1. Best Sleeping Positions for Relieving Back Pain

  • Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back is widely regarded as the ideal position for relieving back pain since it encourages a neutral spinal alignment. The head, neck, and spine are in a relaxed and aligned position in this position, which relieves pressure on the back’s muscles and joints. The natural curve of the spine can be preserved and pressure on the lower back can be reduced by placing a small pillow under the knees.

Sleeping Positions for Back Pain
  • The Side Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your side, especially on the side that doesn’t hurt, can also be helpful for people with back discomfort. This position relieves pressure on the back while preserving the spine’s natural alignment. A pillow between the knees can help maintain good hip, pelvic, and spine alignment and stop them from twisting, which can lead to back pain.

  • The fetal sleeping position

Curling up on your side and bringing your knees to your chest while you sleep can also help with back pain. By relieving strain on the spinal discs, this position can aid in widening joint gaps.

2. Back pain-causing sleeping positions to avoid

  • Sleeping on your stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is typically regarded as the worst posture for back discomfort since it puts undue strain on the neck, shoulders, and lower back. The natural curve of the spine flattens when you sleep on your stomach, placing undue strain on the back’s muscles and ligaments. Additionally, sleeping for a lengthy period of time with your head inclined to one side can put a strain on your neck. If you must sleep on your stomach, keeping the spine aligned and relieving pressure on the lower back can be accomplished by placing a thin pillow beneath the hips.

  • The Twisted Sleeping Position

Twisting or contorted sleeping positions, including having one leg crossed over the other or twisting the upper body, can strain the back and make it worse. These positions alter the spine’s normal alignment, which puts more strain on the muscles and joints and causes pain and discomfort.

3. More advice on how to sleep with back pain

  • Make Smart Mattress and Pillow Selections

Your back discomfort may be strongly influenced by the mattress and pillow you use when sleeping. For those who suffer from back discomfort, a medium-firm mattress is typically advised since it gives the spine the support it needs while maintaining its natural alignment. Similarly to this, it’s important to use a pillow that maintains the neck’s natural curve and keeps the head in alignment with the spine to lessen stress on the neck and upper back.

  • Establish Healthy Sleep Habits

Maintaining good sleep hygiene can also assist in treating back pain. Better sleep can be encouraged by keeping a regular sleep schedule, abstaining from caffeine and gadgets before bed, and having a cozy sleeping environment. Quality sleep is important for overall health and well-being, including back health.

  • Speak with a Medical Professional If You Have Severe or Chronic Back Pain

Millions of individuals throughout the world suffer from back discomfort, which is a common condition. Poor posture, muscle tension, injuries, or underlying medical issues are just a few of the causes. Sleeping posture is one frequently disregarded factor that can have an impact on back discomfort. Depending on your sleeping posture, the way you sleep might either help or make your back pain worse. The greatest and worst sleeping positions for reducing back pain are covered in this article.

4. Best Sleeping Positions for Relieving Back Pain

  • The Back Sleeper

Generally speaking, sleeping on your back is the ideal sleeping posture for reducing back pain. It aids in maintaining a neutral spine posture, reducing back muscle stress, and fostering proper spinal alignment. To get the most out of this posture, tuck a pillow under your knees to support the preservation of the lower back’s natural curve. For added support, place a lumbar roll or a small towel that has been tightly rolled under your lower back.

  • The Side Sleeper

Sleeping on your side, especially if you put a pillow between your knees, can help with back pain. This relieves pressure on the lower back and keeps your spine in a neutral position. This position can be improved even further by putting a pillow beneath your head to maintain it in alignment with your spine. If you sleep on your side, attempt to switch sides often throughout the night to prevent undue pressure from being applied to one side of your body.

5. Back pain relief’s worst sleeping positions

  • The Stomach Sleeper

According to most experts, sleeping on your stomach is the worst sleeping posture for reducing back discomfort. It flattens your spine’s natural curve and causes your neck to be twisted to one side for an extended period of time, which can put undue strain on your back and neck. Lower back and neck pain and discomfort may arise from this. To preserve a more natural spinal alignment if you must sleep on your stomach, try putting a thin pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen.

Best and Worst Positions for Relief and for good sleep
  • The fetal position

If your hips or shoulders are stiff, sleeping in the fetal position can make your back discomfort worse. Your spine may flex excessively as a result, causing an abnormal curvature that can be painful. In order to prevent curling up too tightly if you prefer to sleep in the fetal position, attempt to spread out your body. Another way to preserve appropriate alignment and lessen back strain is to place a pillow between your knees.

6. Additional Back Pain Relief Advice

There are other recommendations that can help with back pain relief besides sleeping in the appropriate position:

  • Pick the correct mattress and pillow

A supportive mattress and pillow can significantly impact how back pain is managed. Choose a mattress that supports the spine properly and encourages alignment. Choose a pillow that maintains your head and neck in a neutral position no matter how you sleep.

  • Regular exercise

Regular exercise can help to strengthen your back muscles, enhance your posture, and lessen your risk of developing back pain. Concentrate on core-focused workouts like yoga, Pilates, and mild back stretches. For workout advice tailored to your specific requirements, speak with your doctor or a licensed fitness professional.

  • Maintain proper posture throughout the day

Good posture is crucial not only when you sleep but also when you are up. Avoid slouching or spending too much time sitting down. To support excellent posture, sit up straight with your feet flat on the floor and choose an ergonomic chair and desk layout.

  • Use heat or cold therapy to treat your back pain

Both heat and cold therapy might offer momentary relief. Use an ice pack wrapped in a towel to minimize swelling and numb the area, or apply a heating pad or take a warm bath to relax the muscles. To prevent burns or frostbite, always adhere to the heat and cold therapy directions.

Good Sleep Hygiene Can Help You Sleep Better and Reduce Back Pain. Some good sleep hygiene techniques include keeping a regular sleep schedule, avoiding caffeine and electronics before bed, and creating a pleasant sleeping environment.

7. Sleep Tips for Back Pain

Back pain can make it difficult to get through the day, but it can also make it difficult to obtain a restful night’s sleep. It can be challenging to settle into a sleeping position. Additionally, you might experience pain even when getting in and out of bed.

However, getting enough sleep is crucial for your health as well as for your general well-being. According to studies, Americans with very good or excellent quality of life slept on average 18 to 23 minutes longer than those with inferior health and quality of life. However, research has revealed that getting insufficient sleep may actually increase your pain threshold.

Try these suggestions to help you sleep a little easier if back discomfort is keeping you from getting adequate rest.

1. Select a suitable place

Find a sleeping position that is most comfortable for you because some sleeping positions can help relieve back discomfort. For further support, try sleeping with a cushion between or under your legs.

Back Pain: Best and Worst Positions for Relief

Put the pillow between your knees and slightly raise them towards your chest if you like to sleep on your side. Try placing a cushion under your knees if you prefer to sleep on your back, or roll up a small towel and lay it under the small of your back.

Because it puts a lot of strain on your back, avoid sleeping on your stomach. A pillow should be placed under your stomach to relieve some of the pressure on your back if that position is the only one in which you can fall asleep. Alternately, put a tennis ball in the front pocket of a sleep shirt and wear it to break the habit.

2. Buy a quality mattress

According to the Sleep Foundation, you should inspect your mattress every six to eight years. For the best support and comfort, you might need to make an adjustment. In one study, after moving to a new sleep regimen, approximately 63% of patients experienced noticeable reductions in low back discomfort.

If you have the money to purchase a new mattress, don’t be hesitant to “test drive” a few different models. Remove your shoes before entering the store, find your favorite reclining posture, and have a little nap. Make sure your mattress provides you with adequate support so that your spine remains in the position it is in while you are standing.

Research has found that persons with low back discomfort actually sleep worse on really hard mattresses when compared to other types, contrary to what doctors used to constantly recommend. However, soft mattresses might sometimes be problematic. Your joints could twist if you dive in too far, which would make your agony worse.

To determine which mattress feels the best, try sleeping on a variety of them, either at friends’ homes or at hotels. Put a piece of plywood between your mattress and box spring or try sleeping on the floor for a few nights if you think a firmer mattress could help. This will help you determine whether the additional support reduces your pain.

3. Carefully climb into and out of bed

Although it may seem apparent, take extra caution when getting in and out of bed. You may experience more back discomfort if you bend forward at the waist or move abruptly.

Roll over slowly onto one side, then lift yourself up using your arms. After that, you can slowly get out of bed by swinging your legs out. When it’s time to lie down at night, reverse the motions.

4. Engage in core exercises

Regular exercise is a fantastic method to enhance the quality of your sleep. However, performing specific core-strengthening exercises, which target your abdominal, hip, lower back, and pelvic muscles, can also help relieve back discomfort.

Increasing the strength and flexibility of these muscles can help you sleep better by reducing the likelihood that you’ll strain your back or wake up with muscular spasms. These muscles can be strengthened by maintaining a plank position with your hands under your shoulders and your legs straight. Try to maintain perfect alignment, with your body in a straight line and your abdominal muscles engaged, as you hold the pose for the first 15 to 30 seconds.

5. Before going to bed, do some easy yoga poses

Yoga or vigorous stretching, according to research, helps lessen low back pain. Additionally, it can improve your sleep and help you feel less stressed.

Discuss which yoga poses are safe for you to perform and which ones won’t make your discomfort worse with your doctor. In order to maintain poses comfortably, it may be good to begin by using yoga props like blocks and bolsters for additional support. It’s also a good idea to enroll in a couple of yoga courses with a teacher to make sure you’re practicing the poses and breathing properly, which are essential for relaxation.

6. Medicine might be useful

Some drugs can relieve your back discomfort while also aiding in sleep. They should only be used on your doctor’s advice and as part of a comprehensive treatment plan. Your more regular sleep pattern should be your ultimate goal while using the medicine.

Short-term use of over-the-counter painkillers such as aspirin, Tylenol (acetaminophen), Advil, or Motrin (ibuprofen) can be successful. These medications are also offered in a “PM” variation that also contains a sleep aid. Long-lasting naproxen sodium (Aleve) may provide pain relief all night. There is also a “PM” version available.

Antidepressants, such as doxepin or duloxetine (Cymbalta), or a substance that has both antidepressant and painkiller properties, such as amitriptyline, or a muscle relaxant, such as cyclobenzaprine (Flexeril), are prescription medications for back pain.

before using these medications, please get a doctor’s advice.

7. Create a bedtime schedule

Try to have a consistent bedtime each night. Set an alarm, put on your pajamas, and wash your teeth as part of a routine. Never work, read, or watch TV in bed.

8. Lessen your stress

The main factor causing sleeplessness is stress. Back discomfort is also associated with it. So, try to find techniques to unwind and handle stress better. Avoid using alcohol as a self-medication because it disrupts your sleep.

Best and Worst Positions for Relief

Practice some relaxing techniques. Try relaxing techniques, and contact your doctor or physical therapist for advice on morning back-supporting activities.

9. Keep trying

Getting rid of back discomfort is the greatest method to get a decent night’s sleep, but this isn’t always attainable. Anxiety and sadness are two other conditions that may require attention and therapy since they can affect sleep and pain. Although many people tolerate pain, it is frequently preventable and treatable. Never give up trying to find a treatment that can help you.

In conclusion, the way you sleep is really important for controlling back discomfort. The greatest sleeping positions for back pain treatment are the fetal position with pillows for additional support, sleeping on your side with a pillow between your knees, and sleeping on your back with sufficient neck and knee support. These positions encourage healthy posture and lessen back discomfort by maintaining a neutral spine alignment and decreasing pressure on the back.

Keep in mind that every individual has different types of back pain, so what helps one person may not help another. Finding the optimum sleeping position for you requires careful consideration of your body’s needs and experimentation with various postures. It’s crucial to seek medical counsel if your back pain persists in order to receive an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment. Making adjustments to your sleeping position can help you manage back discomfort and get better sleep overall, which will improve your general health and well-being. The Sleep Wit emphasizes the importance of creating a comfortable sleep environment, establishing a consistent sleep schedule, and engaging in relaxation techniques before bed.


Our back discomfort may be significantly impacted by the way we sleep. We can reduce discomfort and raise the overall quality of our sleep by adjusting our sleeping postures. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under your knees or on your side with a pillow in between your knees are the greatest sleeping positions for back discomfort.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach at all costs since it puts stress on your neck and back. We may avoid and lessen back discomfort by taking care of our spine while we sleep, allowing us to awaken feeling rejuvenated and pain-free. 

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