Sleep in the Right Position to Make Your Bad Back Feel Better for Five Back Conditions

By Chad Taylor on November 20, 2015

Reporting for Spine Health, Dr. Staehler recommends not just what kind of mattress, but what sleeping positon may help specific back problems.

Here are his 5 Conditions and How to Reduce Pain by How You Sleep.

  1. Osteoarthritis of the Facet Joints. The facet joints consist of two bony surfaces with cartilage between them and a fluid-producing capsule around them and are located in the back of the spine. Sleeping in a fetal position – on your side with knees pulled up – helps to open up the facet joints and may relieve pain-causing pressure. An adjustable bed with the head and knees elevated will also reduce the pressure on facet joints.
  2. Degenerative Disc Disease. Degenerative disc disease is the most common cause of low back and neck pain. The name is a bit of a misnomer as it implies it will continue to worsen which is not true. So, how do you get a better night’s rest? Those with degenerative disc disease may prefer to sleep on their stomach to relieve pressure on the disc space. Putting a flat pillow under the stomach and hips may give additional relief. Choose a mattress that is relatively firm.
  3. Spinal Stenosis. This is the narrowing of the bone channel which contains your spinal nerves and the spinal cord. Again, that fetal position may be the sleep position that relieves pain as it lessens the pressure on the nerve root. Again, consider an adjustable bed that lets you raise your knees and head.
  4. Bursitis. Great trochanteric bursitis – or inflammation of the bursa over the hips – will be likely to experience more pain on a firm mattress. A new mattress with thick padding on the top may help to relieve the pain for a better night’s rest.
  5. Hip Pain. Grab the pillow! If you suffer from hip pain, putting a pillow between your knees will help decrease stress on the hip and that may mean less pain.

In general, placing a pillow under your knees to elevate them slightly while sleeping on your back will help reduce many general forms of low back pain. If your back feels better when bending forward than standing, an adjustable bed that allows the head and knees to elevate will help. Just remember, make sure you have a good, supportive mattress – it will be much more comfortable than that recliner! So, tuck yourself in and try one of these sleep positions. Happy dreams!