Your back hurts, so you want to lay flat on your back. Should you also sleep flat on your back? What is the best sleep position for back pain?

Consumer Reports came out with a new report, and sought advice from an orthopedic surgeon, on what types of sleeping positions are best for various pains and ailments. The answers may surprise you.

Back Pain: Lower Back Pain or General Back Pain

If you have back pain, you should be sleeping on your back or on your side. If you sleep on your side, draw your knees up and put a pillow between your legs lengthwise. But if you sleep on your back:

  • Keep your spine aligned – place a small pillow under your head
  • Put a small pillow or foam wedge under your knees – this will help your knees to keep the natural curve of your lower back

Neck Pain

Many people’s back pain is targeted in a certain area. The above tips apply for lumbar (lower back) pain and general back pain. If you experience cervical back pain, also known as neck pain, you should:

  • Sleep on your back or your side – not your stomach.
  • If you sleep on your side, use a rounded neck pillow, and a flat pillow under your head.
  • Do not use a fluffy pillow! This puts your spine out of alignment, which is the key to all of these sleep positions.
  • If you sleep on your back, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that’s higher under your neck than your head.
  • These differences in position seem small, but they are really important.

Joint Pain

If you have pain in your shoulder or your hip, the best advice is to sleep on the unaffected side. For knee pain, sleep on your back or side with a pillow behind your knees.

As you can see, it’s all about pillow placement and keeping your spine as naturally aligned as possible. Try out some of these tips and see if your pain is improved when you wake up.

What mattress you choose can also contribute to back pain – click here to learn more about mattresses, and what type of mattress is right for you. And of course you can always try some relaxing stretching before bed or when you wake up.

If you are suffering from back pain, contact us. Or call our Medical Concierge at 800-890-1964.