Sleeping Positions That Hurt Your Back

This article was written by guest author Jennifer from

Sleeping Positions That Hurt Your Back

Back pain is something that can strike anyone, at any time. For some people, this is due to having a medical or physical problem that leads to back pain. For others however, lifestyle, sleep patterns, physical activity and even age can dictate when back pain will strike. From sitting at a desk in front of a computer all day, spending too much time on modern technology including Smartphones and iPads, those who lead lifestyles that do not include physical activity or are very sedentary and those who are older often experience back pain at higher levels that active, younger adults.


Here are some of the leading influences that can cause back pain to increase:

  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Stress
  • Age (increased pain for those between 35 and 60 years old)
  • Anxiety
  • Driving for long hours
  • Strenuous work criteria (lifting, pulling and pushing)


Back Pain and Healthcare

Back pain is a condition that has an impact on the healthcare industry and can have an effect not only on healthcare spending but also on work, school and time management. Let’s look at some of the effects back pain has on healthcare in the United States.

  • Nearly 300 million people call in sick to work due to back pain annually
  • Up to 20% of all patients have chronic back pain
  • Spending is estimated at more than $100 billion annually according to figures from the Journal of the American Osteopathic Association
  • Worldwide, back pain is the leading cause of disability


Sleep and Back Pain

While one of the most common things to do for back pain is to get plenty of rest, your sleep patterns including how you get in and out of bed as well as how you position yourself to sleep at night can have a major impact on how your back feels.


First, you need to make sure the mattress you sleep on is right for your back. You need a mattress that is comfortable but also supporting for your back. The right mattress can mean the difference between peaceful dreaming or tossing and turning all night out of discomfort, also known as the ‘back-buster’.


For a body with hips that are wider than the waist, a soft mattress is often best while a firm mattress is often best for bodies that are in a straighter line. The important thing is to make sure your mattress accommodates your body comfortably while being able to keep your back neutral.


It’s also a good idea to place pillows under your head and neck and not under your shoulders to allow the body to align right. Some people even benefit from placing a pillow under he knees o keep the body in a neutral position all night.  


Sleep Position Has a Major Effect on Back Pain

The way you lay in bed has a major effect on how your back may feel all day long. Remaining in a neutral position is advised. Here are some suggestions on sleep positions and those that can cause back pain.



  • Stomach Sleeping


Sleeping on your stomach may feel comfortable but in reality, it is one of the worst ways a person can sleep at night because it places your neck in a very unnatural state. For better sleeping and less pain, it is recommended to sleep on your back so your body weight will be evenly distributed and even your internal organs will be aligned correctly.



  • Side Sleeping


Many people sleep on their side, and while side sleeping is usually comfortable, it is also a position that you should consider altering to maintain body neutrality. Alternate sides rather than staying on one side all night and try using a pillow between your knees to help keep the body aligned better as you sleep.


Mattress Age

One more consideration for sleeping is to make sure your mattress is not too old. Older mattresses lose their quality over time and if you have chronic back pain, you may be surprised at how much a new mattress can help ease pain.


While a new mattress will not alleviate all pain, working with a good chiropractor and taking steps to do what you can on your own to help ease the pain through proper exercise and sleep quality will go hand in hand at healing the pain and getting you back on the road to a healthier and happier lifestyle.







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