Your sleeping position affects the health of your spine and certain joints. Whether you sleep on your back, side, or stomach, and depending on how supportive your mattress and pillows are, you may get sufficient rest or increase your risk of developing chronic back aches. You should replace your pillows every 12 to 18 months and make sure to have a mattress with the level of firmness that is the most comfortable for you.
Other factors can result in back pain such as age, occupation, and other medical conditions, and if you already deal with back aches, a straining sleeping position can significantly worsen them.
Sleeping on Your Back
This position helps keep your spine neutral and lowers your risk of developing or aggravating back pain. Thanks to the proper alignment it provides, both your musculoskeletal structure and your internal organs can rest safely.
However, individuals may experience strain on their neck or lower back when sleeping in this position unless they add pillows to ensure the necessary weight distribution.
If you feel any discomfort while sleeping on your back, you can opt for:
- A head pillow to support your neck that should fit between your neck and your mattress for maximum effects.
- A pillow under your knees and/or a small pillow under the small of your back to keep your spine aligned
Sleeping on Your Side
Although you may minimize or prevent spine twisting by using a supporting mattress and small pillows, you may want to avoid sleeping in this position. If you do not use ergonomic solutions to maintain proper alignment in your spine, you can experience aches in your hips and pelvis. If you always sleep on the same side, this may also lead to chronic shoulder pain.
If you enjoy sleeping on your side and want to maintain proper alignment, you can use a small pillow under your waist and/or your knees. This helps reduce strain on your joints.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Medical professionals recommend that you avoid sleeping in this position as it creates or worsens back, neck, and shoulder pain. Sleeping on your stomach twists your spine and causes strain on both your bones and some of your internal organs.
If sleeping on your stomach is your favorite position, you can place a small pillow under your hips or lower abdomen to provide enough support to your pelvis.
Sleeping in the Fetal Position
This type of side sleeping involves bringing your knees up to your chest. Some people place an arm under their pillow to increase head support. The fetal position can improve the sleep quality and comfort levels of individuals who are pregnant, older, or experiencing back pain. However, they need to ensure that they maintain adequate alignment to avoid strain on their back and joints.
When sleeping in the fetal position, be mindful not to curl up too tightly as it can result in breathing interferences and aggravated back pain.
Why Consider Physical Therapy for Your Back Pain
If you suddenly develop back pain that does not go away on its own within a few days or have been experiencing chronic back pain for a while, you should speak with your primary care physician or a physical therapist. This can help you receive an accurate diagnosis of your medical issue and an appropriate treatment.
At ProFysio Physical Therapy, we focus on personalized care plans to get to the root of your issue and take into consideration any factor that can impact your treatment. We use a wide range of methods, including spinal rehabilitation and cupping therapy.
Are you considering physical therapy to improve your spinal health in Monmouth or Middlesex Counties? Call ProFysio Physical Therapy today at (732) 812-5200 or use our online form to schedule an appointment!