Feeling back pain? You’re not alone. Across the world, 619 million people suffer from lower back pain.

Lying down to sleep is one of the few natural relief methods for those with chronic back pain. Yet when you wake up the following day, the back pain gets worse, not better. This robs you of quality sleep and starts the day off with a kink in your spine.

Fortunately, there are sleeping positions for lower back pain that allow you to wake up refreshed and pain-free. In this guide, we take a look at a handful that you can try for yourself.

How Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain Help

Your lower back experiences the most significant amount of pressure, making it especially prone to pain and injury. Lower back pain originates from the lumbar region, the spine’s lowest five vertebrae.

The causes of lower back pain may include any of the following:

  • Muscle strain from physical activity
  • Overexertion
  • Work and sports injuries
  • Lack of exercise
  • Poor posture
  • Sedentary lifestyle habits
  • Being overweight or obese

Lower back pain can vary from a persistent, dull ache, to a shooting or stabbing sensation. It’s most noticeable when you bend over, even by a small amount. Standing up straight or sitting for long periods can exacerbate the pain.

If you have chronic back pain that is, it lasts for three months or more-relief can be challenging to obtain. Many people resort to analgesic medication, chiropractic services, or spinal surgeries and treatments.

Alleviating this pain often takes multiple different methods combined. One component that adds lasting, effective relief is quality sleep in the proper sleeping position.

Let’s take a look at the sleeping positions you can try to get the best relief.

Side Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your side is ideal for your spine since it lets you get proper, natural alignment. Unlike other positions, there’s no undo pressure on the lumbar region. Muscles and nerves don’t get twisted or curved this way.

Which side you sleep on will depend on you. Experts suggest that pregnant women or people with gastrointestinal problems should prefer their left side; those with heart problems, on the right.

You may have scoliosis and find that one side causes less pain than the other. Whatever the reason, choose whichever side is most comfortable for you.

Tips for Best Results

Get yourself a pillow and place it between your knees. This ensures your spine, hips, and pelvis stay in alignment. Bend your knees in order to reduce the strain on your lower back and hips.

Make sure your head pillow elevates your head to the level of your spine. Adjust it so you don’t feel any strain on your back or neck.

Fetal Position Variant

In certain situations, it may be best to sleep in the fetal position. That is, with your knees tucked up to your chest and your arms wrapped around them. This may help people who have suffered spinal stenosis or a herniated disc.

The benefit of this position is that it opens up space between your bones. This relieves the tension placed on your discs and their nerves. In particular, it takes pressure off of your nerve root – a common pain point with spinal stenosis.

Back Sleeping Position

Sleeping on your back is ideal for lower back pain. Similar to side sleeping, it allows your spine to attain a neutral posture. Unlike side sleeping, it helps to redistribute your weight evenly without putting undue strain on organs or joints.

Tips for Best Results

Make sure you have a firm mattress. Mattresses that are stiff and old, or too soft, can cause strain on the lower back.

It may help to roll up a towel and place it beneath the backs of your knees. This aids in having a natural spinal curve and may make it a bit more comfortable.

Elevated Legs Variant

Consider doing the same position but with your legs elevated on a stack of pillows. You can also do this with an adjustable orthopedic bed. It works by relaxing lower back muscles and easing strain on the pelvic area.

Another plus is that blood circulation improves when your legs are above the level of your heart. You may benefit if you struggle with swelling or inflammation in the lower back region.

Stomach Sleeping Position

To be clear, the stomach sleeping position is the least preferable. Spine doctors advise against it because it flattens your spine’s natural curve. This creates unneeded pressure on joints and muscles and inflicts neck pain since you have to turn your head on the pillow.

You may struggle to get comfortable if you can only sleep on your back or side. If you must sleep on your stomach, try the following tips to improve it.

Tips for Best Results

Use a rolled-up towel or pillow under your pelvis. This may restore the natural spinal curve that was lost with this sleeping position. Use a smaller head pillow, since thicker pillows can force an unnatural position.

Again, make sure you have a firm and supportive mattress. Too soft mattresses can let your lower back sink and increase pain and strain.

Other Tips for Quality Sleep Positions

Check the tag on your mattress. Some experts recommend replacing your mattress once it has reached 6 to 8 years and age. Otherwise, you can purchase a soft mattress topper as a cheaper alternative to replacing the whole thing.

Only use one head and neck pillow. You want to minimize the strain on your neck. Stacking multiple pillows or using thick pillows is not ideal.

Find More Ways to Treat Back Pain

Sleeping positions for lower back pain can do wonders for you. Ideally, you should sleep on your side or back, but avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible. Use pillows and rolled towels as support aids to get the proper posture.

The Advanced Spine Center helps you be free of debilitating back pain. We want to hear from you! Set an appointment here and get your first check-up.