For many of us, sleep makes up a large part of our day (or should I say night?). Therefore, the position we are in while we sleep can effect our posture and may even be contributing to our pain. In fact, I have had several clients in back pain improve, or eliminate, their pain simply by changing the way they were sleeping.
So today, I want to look at a few common areas that are often negatively effected by the way we sleep and how to change your sleeping position to alleviate these symptoms.
Low Back Pain
First, as I mentioned above, low back pain is a common discomfort with a poor sleeping position. Let me start by saying that sleeping on your stomach is often the worst position if you suffer from low back pain.
So how do you overcome this if you simply cannot sleep any other way? The answer is to strategically use pillows to improve your alignment. For example, if you have to sleep on your stomach, place a small pillow underneath your waist line. The reason this helps is because when you sleep on your stomach, your low back is typically stuck in an extended position or arched position.
By placing a pillow underneath your waist line you will help to flatten out this arch and provide relief to your low back.
Lying on your back is often a much better position for most people, but it can still cause problems for some. If you are one of these people with pain lying on your back try placing a small pillow underneath your knees. Again, this will help to flatten out any arch you have in your low back.
Lastly, if you are a side sleeper a pillow between the knees can often provide relief. Sleeping on the side seems to be the least provocative for those with low back pain, but it still can be problematic for some.
This is often a simple fix of adjusting the height of the pillow. As you can see from the pictures below, the height of the pillow can put us in a pretty bad neck position.
You will have to do some experimenting to determine what feels most comfortable to you, but investing in a good pillow may save you from neck pain.
The shoulder is another area that tends to get put into poor positions while we sleep. The position that seems to cause the most problems is lying on your side with your arm pinned underneath you. This position causes our shoulder to tip forward and can cause irritation and damage to the area.
So if you are one of these people that likes to sleep on your side, try placing your hand underneath your head (see first picture above). This will help get your arm out from underneath you and will keep your shoulder from tipping forward.
Another position that can cause shoulder pain is sleeping with the arm(s) extended overhead. Some people lack the mobility, or ability, to get their arms overhead so lying with their arms in this position can lead to pain and irritation. A simple fix is to try and keep the arms below shoulder height.
That is all for today. If you have pain while sleeping or when first waking up try to be more cognizant of the position you are waking up in and try out these simple tweaks to your sleeping posture. Let us know how it works for you.
Have a good week!