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4 of the best sleeping positions to try for your lower back pain



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Did you know that good sleep can actually support your lower back pain recovery? Quality, restful sleep promotes healing in all areas of your body, including your back. That’s especially important considering over 65 million Americans have some form of back pain.

To get good sleep, you have to set your body up for success. This includes choosing the best sleeping position for your lower back pain so you can heal during the night. Find out the best sleeping positions for lower back pain (plus the ones to avoid) and how physical therapy can help you live with less pain.

The best sleeping positions for lower back pain

The first few hours of sleep every night are the deepest. They’re also when your body accelerates tissue growth and repair that can lead to long-term healing. If you want to give your body the best chance of success for health and healing, you have to find the best sleeping position for your lower back pain.

The first step of resting well is choosing the right position to sleep in. Here are a few of the best sleeping positions for lower back pain:

  • Back sleeping — This position is one of the best sleeping positions for lower back pain. When you lie flat, your spine aligns naturally, reducing stress on your back muscles and discs. Additionally, sleeping on your back distributes your body weight more evenly, which decreases pressure on your spine. Place a small pillow under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your lower back and reduce strain.
  • Side sleeping — This position also helps maintain the natural curve of your spine, which can prevent misalignments. If you’re sleeping on your side, it’s important to keep a pillow between your knees to help align your hips and reduce pressure on your lower back. Choose a pillow with some thickness to keep your body aligned and support your lower back.
  • Fetal position — Curling up on your side and drawing your knees up to your chest creates the fetal position. This can open up space between your bones, relieving tension on your discs and nerves. However, this position can cause uneven distribution of weight, so make sure to straighten your body into a relaxed position by untucking your chin and adjusting your knees.
  • Reclined sleeping — Reclining can help alleviate back pain by reducing pressure on the spine. By elevating the upper body slightly, you can maintain the natural curve of your spine while reducing pressure on your lower back. Specially designed wedges or adjustable beds can help you find the right position that protects your posture while alleviating pressure.

The most important thing is to sleep in a position that reduces pressure on your spine. You may need to test out a few positions to determine which one is the best sleeping position for your lower back pain.

The worst sleeping positions for lower back pain

Have you ever woken up feeling worse than when you went to sleep? Then you know the hazards of choosing a poor sleeping position. Pressure and tension on your spine during rest make it more difficult for your body to relax.

Generally speaking, the worst sleeping position is on your stomach. Sleeping on your stomach flattens the natural curve of your spine, placing unnecessary pressure on your back. This position can lead to neck strain and exaggerated arching of the lower back, both of which may make your pain worse.

But some people can only sleep on their stomach. If you absolutely need to sleep on your stomach, place a pillow under your hips and lower stomach. This will reduce strain on your lower back by giving it a natural arch. Additionally, use a smaller head pillow so you don’t force your neck into an unnatural position.

The goal of these sleeping positions for your lower back pain is to decrease tension and pressure on your spine to reduce pain and help your body heal instead.

Physical therapy techniques for lower back pain

While a healthy sleeping position is a good start to address lower back pain, physical therapy can also help. Some common physical therapy techniques REPAIR SI offers for lower back pain include:

  • Postural training — Poor posture can contribute to lower back pain. Postural training can help you correct bad posture habits, reducing pressure on your spine.
  • AcupunctureAcupuncture uses needles with the goal of opening up your energy to reduce pain. This may help release tension in your spine and promote healing.
  • Chiropractic careSpinal adjustments can address misaligned vertebrae and other spinal abnormalities that may be contributing to lower back pain.

These physical therapy treatments can strengthen muscles, decrease pressure on the spine and help you build better habits to protect your back. 

One good night’s rest won’t eliminate your back pain, but physical therapy and choosing the best sleeping position for lower back pain can help. Our team of specialists at REPAIR SI is here to help you get back on your feet. Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.