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Best Sleeping Positions for Back and Neck Pain

Getting enough rest at night is crucial to the body’s natural healing ability. It allows you to recover from the day’s activities and help you tackle what you need to do the next day. However, it can be difficult to achieve a good night’s sleep if you’re experiencing pain, particularly in your back and neck.

Because of this, it’s essential to sleep in the correct position, not just to alleviate the pain but also to prevent them from happening again. The right sleeping positions will also prevent more painful conditions later on.

With that said, check out the best sleeping positions for back and neck pain in the article below.


Top Sleeping Positions for Back and Neck Pain

  1. On Your Back

This is generally considered the best sleeping position, not just for addressing back and neck pain but also for preventing the pain from reoccurring. Sleeping on your back means that your entire weight is evenly distributed throughout your body.

Because of this, you avoid putting too much of the burden on your spine, preventing unnecessary and unnatural curves. Just make sure that your head is only slightly elevated to avoid straining your neck further.

You can do this by using a small pillow that’s placed underneath your head and neck. Avoid placing it under your shoulders to preserve your spine’s natural alignment. Better yet, you can use a memory foam pillow or a cervical neck pillow to support your neck and head.

  1. On Your Side

If sleeping on your back isn’t possible because you tend to snore or suffer from sleep apnea, the next best position is sleeping on your side, especially with your legs stretched out.

Sleeping on your side is ideal because it also helps keep your head and spine aligned, preventing you from experiencing pain when you wake up. While it’s best to stretch your legs out, you can also help alleviate back pain by putting a pillow between your knees.

The pillow can keep your pelvis, hips, and spine even, improving their alignment over time. To avoid neck pain, make sure that your head and neck have proper support and that they’re only slightly elevated.

Additionally, don’t forget to switch sides every once in a while. Staying too long on one side can result in an imbalance in your muscles and, sometimes, even scoliosis.

  1. Fetal Position

For those suffering from a herniated disc, sleeping in the fetal position can be an excellent way to alleviate the pain. The fetal position entails tucking your knees towards your chest and curling your torso towards your knees.

Sleeping in the fetal position can help open the spaces between the spine, alleviating any pain you might feel from a herniated disc.

Similar to sleeping on your side, it’s best to keep your head only slightly elevated and always remember to switch sides to prevent spine misalignment and muscle imbalance.

  1. On Your Back with a Pillow Under Your Knees or Lower Back

If you’re experiencing back pain, sleeping on your back may prove to be challenging. To help alleviate the pain and make you feel more comfortable, you can opt to put a small pillow under your knees.

Putting a pillow under your knees can help with proper spine alignment, preventing the pain from worsening or reoccurring. Aside from this, you can also opt to put a small pillow or rolled-up towel under the small of your back.

Placing a small pillow under the small of your back can help preserve your spine’s natural curve and keep it neutral while you’re asleep. It also gives your spine additional support while keeping your weight evenly distributed throughout your body.

Like the other positions, make sure your head and neck have enough support and aren’t raised too high to avoid straining your neck.


Other Tips: Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach

If you’re prone to experiencing neck and back pain, it’s highly recommended you avoid sleeping on your stomach. This is because this sleeping position doesn’t just prevent proper spine alignment. It also puts too much pressure on your joints, resulting in pain in other areas of your body.

Additionally, people who sleep in this position tend to experience neck pain more often because they find it difficult to breathe with their faces against their pillows. Their heads are forced to the side so they can breathe, resulting in twisted neck and neck pain.


Final Thoughts

It can be challenging to get a good night’s rest when you’re experiencing pain in your neck and back. In turn, not getting enough sleep can result in further pain because your body failed to recover properly.

With the correct sleeping positions, you won’t just alleviate your neck and back pain, but you can also prevent them from reoccurring.

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