How to avoid back pain while you sleep

The way in which you sleep can have a great effect on back pain.

The position that is most likely to cause back pain is sleeping on your stomach, because it compresses your lower back and twists your neck and head.

If you are a stomach sleeper, putting a pillow under your lower abdomen will help ease this pain, but it is recommended that you switch sleeping positions. One way to accomplish this is to wear a T-shirt to bed that has a front pocket. Place a tennis ball in the pocket, so that if you roll over on your stomach, the tennis ball lump will be uncomfortable enough to wake you up.

Here are some better sleeping positions to try:

On your side

Sleep on your left or right side with a pillow that keeps your neck straight. Keep your feet together and your knees bent slightly for comfort. This position offers the most support while sleeping, as your pelvis is supported and there is a minimal amount of stress placed on your body. For added comfort, place a pillow between your knees. 

There is a minor variation to this position, in which your bottom leg is kept straight. People with muscle tightness tend to favor this position.

On your back

Sleeping on your back can also be very supportive. However, mistakes may make back sleeping as detrimental as sleeping on your stomach.

While on your back, do not sleep with a pillow under your head. Most pillows will add too much strain to your neck. If that is too awkward or uncomfortable, get the thinnest pillow possible.

Where you really want to place the pillow is under your knees. This will help keep your legs and hips in the correct position.

You should also avoid sleeping with bent legs. This will only add to your hip and back pain. Keep your legs close together and point your toes at between a 90 and 45 degree angle.

If you suffer from chronic lower back aches and are looking for relief, schedule an appointment with a professional chiropractor right away.