Research shows that lower back pain is the number one cause of disability in children and adults globally. Back pain can happen as a result of a variety of reasons. If you encounter a fatal fall, a car accident, you have a habit of lifting very heavy loads, you tend to stand or sit for too long without taking breaks, or you assume the wrong posture, then you are at risk of experiencing chronic lower back pain.
So what can you do if you find yourself grappling with immense lower back pain? While it is highly recommended that you visit your doctor, you may also be surprised that the solution to end your back pain woes lies in how you sleep.
And with that, here are the best sleeping positions to help alleviate lower back pain.
- Adopt a Side or Fetal Sleeping Position
The fetal or side sleeping position is characterized by lying down on your left or right-hand side and bringing your knees closer to your chest.
This sleeping position is best for people whose lower back pain is caused by a herniated disc. Discs are like soft layers present between each vertebra that makes up your backbone. When one soft layer is pushed out of place, there’s nothing to keep the exposed vertebrae from grinding against the next vertebrae during movement this is what causes great discomfort on your lower back.
Curling or sleeping in a fetal position allows the affected area to relax. This alleviates nerve pain and allows for space for the displaced soft layer/ cushioning to ease back into position.
It is advisable to keep switching sides to avoid getting numb or straining one side of your body to the pint of further discomfort. Switching sides also helps prevent imbalances during the process of recovery.
- Reclined Flat Back Sleeping Position
If you have spinal alignment issues, then the reclined back sleeping position is the best option for you. You may find that a recliner chair is where you tend to sleep comfortably compared to your flatbed. However, a recliner chair doesn’t have nearly as much space as a bed, and neither is it made for sleeping.
It is, therefore, prudent to go for an adjustable bed one that you can adjust upwards or downwards for ample back support.
Alignment issues often happen as a result of a twisted vertebra. A condition which if not promptly addressed, could lead to massive back pain and pressure on the spine.
- Side Sleeping Position with Pillow in Between the Knees
Does it feel weird lying on your back? Why don’t you try rolling over to the side? Better? For many, sleeping on the side is not enough, but a simple addition, such as placing a soft average-sized pillow in between your knees, is all it takes to achieve the perfect sleeping position.
Make sure you are using a pillow to support your head and that your shoulder is in direct contact with the mattress. Pull your knees slightly upwards to create an angle and then place the second pillow in between the knees. This helps keep the pelvis, hips and spine in perfect alignment for comfortable, restful sleep. Don’t forget to switch sides several times through the night.
- Sleep Flat on Your Stomach with a Pillow Under your Chest
Most people find it hard to sleep in this position. But if you are one of the few who can achieve comfort in this sleeping position, then you’ll be amazed by how fast your lower back pain disappears. Sleeping flat on your stomach with no pillow is likely to add stress to your neck. A mistake that many people make albeit unknowingly.
If you are a stomach sleeper and you want to stay safe from any spinal discomfort, your best option would be to place a pillow below your torso. This helps relieve some of the pressure off your spine. You may choose to sleep with or without a pillow on your head, depending on which option feels ideal for you.
- Sleep Flat on Your Back With Pillow Under the Knees
People who spend a long time-bending, standing, or sitting find that sleeping on their back feels incredibly refreshing. If this sounds like you, then your lower back pain may come about owing to accumulated pressure on your spine.
Sleeping on your back, therefore, feels good because it helps distribute your body weight evenly. Placing a pillow or a soft towel under your knees will help maintain the natural curve of your spine even when sleeping flat on your mattress.
If, after using all these sleeping positions, you realize that your back pain has grown worse, it may be time to consult with your doctor. Chances are that you have an underlying condition that may be causing you lower back pain.
But if used correctly, the sleeping positions highlighted above can yield instant gratification and relief on your back. Maintain the same sleeping position over several weeks, and soon, lower back pain will be a thing of the past for you.