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Healthiest Sleeping Positions For Back and Neck Pain

Published February 9, 2023
Healthy Holiday Sleeping During The Coronavirus Pandemic

Everyone at some time in their life has experienced back and neck pain. Usually, a good night's rest can help heal or alleviate your pain, but it can be challenging to sleep with back and neck pain. So now, you're in a vicious cycle, trying to sleep so you can heal but in too much pain to sleep.

Making a few adjustments to your sleeping position can help you manage the pain and prevent it from keeping you up in the night. So what sleeping positions are the healthiest for back and neck pain? 

While it's best to try and sleep in the recommended sleeping positions, it can be difficult to break the habit if you've already become familiar with a particular position. So if a position is not comfortable, it may not be suitable for you. Instead, sleep in the most comfortable position for you, but allow for some modifications for good posture. 

Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Sleeping on your back is considered the best for back pain. This is because you can distribute your weight evenly along the entire spine. Placing a pillow under your knees will also help with maintaining the natural curvature of the spine. 

If you are a side sleeper, place a pillow between the knees. This helps maintain the alignment of the hips, pelvis and spine. Try to alternate sides, don't just sleep on one side; this will cause muscle imbalances and potentially lead to scoliosis. If you have a herniated disc, consider the fetal position. 

Lying on your stomach is the worst for back pain, but if this is the most comfortable position for you. Instead, place a thin pillow under your hips and stomach to keep your spine aligned.

Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

It is recommended that sleeping on your back or side is the best for neck pain. If you are a back sleeper, use a flatter pillow to cushion your head. If you are a side sleeper, use a taller pillow so your neck and head are aligned; this will keep your neck and spine straight.

If you sleep on your stomach, the problem is you have to turn your neck to keep your head on its side. This sleeping position is not recommended for neck pain. Try using pillows to support and block you from rolling onto your stomach. If you must sleep on your stomach, use a thin pillow or none at all to keep your spine straight. 

We spend one-third of our life sleeping, and if back or neck pain is disrupting your sleep, it can cause you to feel sluggish and not well-rested for you to get on with the day. Find a position that works for you, and remember always to support your neck and keep your spine aligned. Good night and sweet dreams!

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