Best & Worst Sleep Postures for LOW BACK PAIN

Do you wake up with low back pain? There are many reasons for lower back pain, and in this blog we look like 4 key areas to make sure your back pain is not coming from poor sleep hygiene. As we explore the different factors around sleep postures and low back pain, you will find that many of these factors can be corrected.

Sleep is a time for our body to assimilate the days activities. Micronutrients from the food we eat are being absorbed and our body is repairing itself each and every day. If we are a child or pregnant our body is growing during sleep.. Our minds will rest after a full days activities and all this is going on while we sleep.

However, if we wake up in the night or wake up too early in the morning and can’t get back to sleep we may find out health will suffer. Pain is not fun and a back low pain can effect the quality of our sleep. If we are not sure where the low back pain is coming from, then a great starting point is looking at our sleep habits. We could be in bed for a quarter to a third of your day.

When we are ruling out our sleep habits as a cause of low back pain, we check 4 areas:

  1. What is the best sleep Posture?
  • Side posture
  • Back posture
  • Posture to Avoid     

2. Mattress considerations, what are they Mattress considerations, what are they? How long to keep your mattress and what type of mattress are you sleeping on?

3. Are you sleeping in your bed or on the couch?

4. How long to spend in bed?

1. What is the best sleep Posture?

Side Posture

Ideal side posture during sleep looks at a neutral spine while lying on your side. Keep ear in alignment with midpoint of shoulder and hip. Have hips and knees bent 45 degrees. To help prevent the top leg moving forward and causing a twist in the pelvis and low back then try sleeping with a soft pillow in between the knees.

Back Posture

Ideal posture is lying with nose in alignment with the sternum and then pubic bone. Avoid bending one leg out to the side as this may aggravate the pelvis and low back. When looking at the side posture while lying on the back, keep ear over shoulder. This means that the pillow needs to be low enough to do that. A high pillow will bring the head forward of the shoulder and create a pull in the spine.

Posture to Avoid

Do not lie on your stomach as this is the worst sleep posture for low back pain sufferers. This usually means that one leg is brought up and a twist in the pelvis and low back may result. This posture is detrimental to the neck joints places unnecessary pressure on breathing and digestion.

2. Mattress considerations, what are they?

How Long can you Keep a Mattress?

Mattress life span will depend on the quality of the mattress, how often the mattress has been slept on, how well the mattress has been taken care of and the size of the person or persons using the mattress.

A general rule of thumb is 7 years. Even a good mattress that is looked after will lose its support and that means less support for you. A saggy mattress can stress your low back and cause or aggravate low back issues.

How Good is your Mattress?

It is literally a mine field out there when looking for a mattress. When looking at a traditional spring bed, then a pocket strung bed is superior to a Bonnell spring mattress. The pocket sprung mattress distributes the weight more evenly, supports the individual better and doesn’t allow movement to be felt when partners move.

If you are looking for a mattress, do ask us as we work closely with Regal Sleep Solutions.

3. Are you sleeping in your bed or on the couch? Are you reading in bed?

Falling asleep on the couch can create issues with the low back and other areas of your spine. Especially if this occurs on a regular basis. Best to get to bed as you start to feel sleepy.

Reading or watching shows on an iPad for prolonged periods of time will aggravate a low back and possible cause a problem too. Sitting up with legs out in front of you causes a loss of lower back curve and this will strain the low back as it is not in an ideal neutral posture.

4. How long to spend in bed?

If you are spending too long in bed, more than 8 hours, then this can cause tension in your back. Your body wants to get up and start moving, it needs movement in the joints and spending too long in bed can make your low back stiff and sore. Once awake, it is best to start the day and avoid the possibility of falling back to sleep.

What to do if none of these suggestions help?

If you find that you have addressed all of the above areas and your low back is still sore and stiff, then getting a spinal assessment by a chiropractor, osteopath or physiotherapist would be advisable. You could also try some stretches, CLICK HERE     Or for some strengthening exercises, CLICK HERE. 

Lisa and Britt, chiropractors

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