Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Last Updated on July 13, 2024

by Marc Werner, Founder - GhostBed

It is vital to learn the best sleeping positions for back pain, as the discomfort can cause endless nights of no slumber. Many members of society of all ages and genders suffer with some level of pain in their backs, whether upper or lower, or both. Coupling the right mattress with the right sleeping position can be the cure to lull one off to dreamland.

I. Understanding Your Back Pain
  • Habit Inducing Pain
  • Upper Back Pain
  • Lower Back Pain
II. Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain Relief
  • Pillow Under Stomach
  • On Back with Knee Support
  • Sleeping in Fetal Position
  • On Back in Reclined Position

I. Understanding Your Back Pain

Back pain can be caused by many different life conditions. It can be fleeting as in pregnancy, or become a chronic condition caused by arthritis, an accident or even by a bad lifestyle habit. It is important to understand one’s own type of discomfort in order to learn how to sleep to relieve back pain.

Habit Inducing Pain

One may be surprised to learn that simple everyday lifestyle habits can be the cause of the back pain leading to sleepless nights. Just how one sits driving to work, at the computer, or slumped watching TV can have a negative effect on the body.

Be aware of posture: the head may push forward staring at traffic ahead, or at the television or computer screen; Do you roll shoulders forward grasping the steering wheel or pounding a keyboard. Simply by making lifestyle habit adjustments to one’s posture may be the prescription to relieving the back pain that steals sleep time. Be aware to keep the head aligned with the body and the shoulders back.

Upper Back Pain

Hurt flaring from the thoracic spine area is what causes the upper back pain. This pain can be sudden and unbearable causing the body to be unable to move comfortably. Those at risk include athletes and people may sit for a longer time whether at work, or in an inactive lifestyle.

In addition, sudden upper back pain can be the indication of a health concern such as: gallbladder disease, cancer, heart problems, acid reflux, and ulcer. Understanding what the cause of upper back pain is may help relieve it. Common sources for pain in the upper back can be as simple as poor posture or lifting a heavy item improperly. Other causes for upper back pain include injury trauma, osteoporosis, and even emotional stress tension.

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain can be chronic or fleeting and will affect around 80-percent of adults during their lifetimes. Lower aches can feel dull or be sharp and incapacitating. As with the upper back pain, lower pain can be caused by a sedentary lifestyle, or can be the result of one’s work life.

Just the act of aging with a common spine degeneration can cause lower back pain. The daily grinding down on the joints, discs and bones as one grows older is what leads to spondylosis. On top of regular growing older ailments can be other factors such as: turning or lifting improperly, intervertebral disc degeneration, herniated discs, sciatica, spinal stenosis, and genetic skeletal issues such as scoliosis.

Sudden lower back pain may be the indication of a health problem that should have one contact a medical professional. Be aware that lower back pain could indicate kidney stones, an infection, or an abdominal aortic aneurysm.

II. Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain Relief

Know you are not alone in those sleep lacking nights caused by back pain. Experts have noted that 80-percent of people in the U.S. have struggled with an aching back. It is vital to find comfort at night to help induce the best sleep possible. In addition to have the best of a supportive mattress for back pain, one will want to discover the just-right best sleeping positions for back pain relief and invite slumber.

Pillow Under Stomach

So, sleeping on one’s stomach is generally not advised for back pain sufferers – as it can put more stress on the neck. For those who struggle to sleep off their stomach there is a way for one to position to sleep to relieve back pain.

By positioning a thin pillow just under the hips and lower abdomen will take some of the pressure off the aching back. Either use another flat pillow for the head or consider sleeping without head raised at all for best results.

On Back with Knee Support

It is surprising that only eight percent of adults have been found to be back sleepers when the best position to promote a healthy back is on the back. When sleeping on the back, one’s weight is evenly distributed to promote proper alignment of the head, neck, and spine. Back sleeping also reduces pain inducing pressure points.

When sleeping on the back place a small pillow just under the knees. This provides support to keep the natural curve of the spine as the back is flat on the bed. Keep the head from turning sideways with a proper pillow placed to support the neck and head.

Side Sleeping with Pillow Between Knees

Sleeping on one’s side is the most common sleeping position for adults. Unfortunately, this position can add to back pain by forcing the spine out of alignment. For how to sleep to relieve back pain when sleeping on a side merely place a pillow between the knees. This allows for the upper leg to be raised to keep the hips, pelvis, and spine in a more natural alignment.

Rest in bed on the side pulling the knees up a bit and just place a pillow between them. Make sure to have another pillow to support the head and neck so it is not too high. Those who may turn in their sleep can try hugging a long pillow against their chest and stomach as well.

Sleeping in Fetal Position

The fetal position may seriously help ease back pain to have one sleeping like a baby. Those with a herniated disc often discover relief from pain in this sleeping position since it helps to open spaces between the vertebrae.

Just as the name indicates one will want to lie on their side and then pull knees up toward chest and curl back towards knees. Try alternating sides nightly or during the night to help keep the body balanced. Make sure to have a supportive pillow under the head and neck.

Side Sleeping with Pillow Between Knees

A best sleeping positions for back pain is reclined. Reclining chairs are so popular for the precise reason that they provide great comfort. An adjustable bed is the perfect solution to help relieve an aching back in order to get sleep.

The reclining position works wonderfully for sufferers of isthmic spondylolisthesis. This condition causes pain due to a slip in one vertebra above another. Reclining allows for an angle to be created between the thighs and torso. The angle works to minimize the pressure on the spine.

Marc Werner - Founder, GhostBed

Marc Werner

Founder - GhostBed

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Marc has spent the last two decades designing & manufacturing mattresses and other sleep products, drawing on a lifetime of experience working with the material sciences. With several patents to his name, he works closely with the GhostBed team to create products with the perfect balance of comfort & support. Learn More

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