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The 3 best sleeping positions for back pain



  • What is the best way to sleep to prevent back pain?
  • What helps back sleepers with lower back pain?
  • What helps side sleepers with back pain?
  • How do stomach sleepers avoid back pain?
  • What generally helps when sleeping with back pain?

If you are lying in bed and your back, especially the lower back, hurts, sleep is usually out of the question. You toss and turn in bed, but finding a good, pain-free sleeping position is difficult. You can find out here how you can save yourself sleepless nights because of back pain in the future and how you can even relieve back pain while you sleep.

What is the best way to sleep to prevent back pain?

The good news is that you don’t have to completely change your sleeping position to avoid lower back pain. This would be very difficult for most people and would endanger their sleep. So if you’ve slept on your side all your life, you can continue to do so with our tips, the same applies to back and stomach sleepers.

Because pain in the lower back that is caused by lying in bed or with which you climb into bed in the evening can best be avoided or alleviated by cleverly placing pillows, says physiotherapist Daniel Giordano, co-founder of the New Yorker Bespoke Physical Health Treatment Centers.

The prerequisite, of course, is that you behave during the day in such a way that your back is not put under excessive strain. For example, your sitting position in front of your computer is optimally adjusted or, whenever you lift something heavy, you bend your knees instead of bending forward. And of course, back and abdominal exercises should not be missing from your fitness routine.

What helps back sleepers with lower back pain?

“Put a pillow under the back of your knees,” Giordano advises every back sleeper, “otherwise you won’t be able to prevent your lower back pain from increasing throughout the night.” Because if you lie flat on your back, you put pressure on your spine and overstretch it, with the result that the intervertebral discs come under pressure night after night. This causes pain and, in the long term, scoliosis can even develop. Scoliosis involves twisting of the vertebrae around the longitudinal axis of the spine, which can result in long-term, serious back problems.

It’s better to put a knee pillow under your knees to relieve the strain on your spine. Giordano: “With pillows under the knees, the space between the individual vertebrae expands, which takes the pressure off the intervertebral discs.”

What helps side sleepers with back pain?

If you sleep on your side, it is best to sleep with a pillow between your knees. “This helps your spine stay in optimal alignment throughout the night,” explains Giordano. The physiotherapist recommends this position to anyone struggling with a herniated disc or scoliosis, but also to prevent any back problems.

As a rule, a normal, well-filled pillow is sufficient. However, many side sleepers swear by side sleeper pillows that are longer than normal pillows and reach up to the upper body. They help prevent your chest from tipping forward during the night and twisting your spine, which can also lead to nasty lower back pain.

Side sleepers should know these different pillow models:

  • The side sleeper pillow from Dormouse is a classic side sleeper pillow with a length of 145 cm
  • The ergonomically shaped leg rest knee pillow supports the knees, legs and back of side sleepers
  • The extra-long, 7-shaped side sleeper pillow from Theraline/my7, for example

How do stomach sleepers avoid back pain?

If you sleep on your stomach and suffer from back pain, you should always place a pillow under your stomach and pelvis so that the pelvis is slightly raised. Because if you lie flat on the mattress without a pillow, you overextend your spine and increase existing lower back pain. It’s best to use a soft but well-filled pillow. Your pillow, on the other hand, should be very low; it’s best to sleep on a proper stomach sleeper pillow so that you don’t overextend your cervical spine.

What generally helps when sleeping with back pain?

These aspects will also help you get through the night without back pain and wake up fit in the morning:

1. If you have back pain, pay attention to your neck

“Sleep only with a pillow under your head,” advises Giordano. “Sometimes back pain worsens due to incorrect positioning of the head in bed.” If the neck bends too much while sleeping, the resulting pressure and pain can radiate down the spine and into the lower back. Side and back sleepers sleep best on a neck support pillow. You can read here how you can recognize a good one.

2. Choose a medium-strength mattress

Finding the optimal mattress for your needs is an art in itself. The orthopedist advises that if you have back pain, you should neither choose a mattress that is too soft, as it does not provide enough support for the spine, nor one that is too hard. It’s best to choose a medium model, or if in doubt, a slightly harder model, says Giordano.

3. Control your sleeping conditions

The better you sleep, the lower your risk of waking up with back pain. That’s why you should do everything you can to optimize your environment for a relaxing night’s sleep. This means, among other things, that your bedroom is cool (maximum 18 degrees) and dark, and your sleep is not interrupted by your loved one’s snoring. In this case, you should think about separate beds or bedrooms. This is how Sleeping Divorce works without the partnership suffering.

Back pain and your sleeping position are closely related. Invest in a good pillow and use it as orthopedist Giordano recommends – then you will greatly increase your chances of waking up without back pain in the future.


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