Sleeping posture matters! Follow these do’s and don’ts to relieve back, neck pain
By NCVC Staff | Published on Sep 26, 2023
How often do you wake up with nagging neck or back pain? Perhaps it even disturbs your sleep throughout the night. Ever wondered what could be causing this pain? Well, it turns out that one of the primary culprits is your sleeping position!
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That’s right! Most of us pay little attention to how we sleep. We simply crawl into bed and find a comfortable position. However, whether you sleep on your side, back, or stomach, your chosen position can greatly impact your health. And it’s not just about the pain – your sleeping posture can also contribute to snoring, acid reflux, heartburn, sleep apnea, and even wrinkles!
Certain sleeping positions exert extra pressure on your neck, shoulders, hips, and lower back, leading to discomfort and pain in those areas.
According to Dr. Ashwin Borkar, a Consultant Neurosurgeon at Wockhardt Hospital, Mira Road, Mumbai, “Your sleeping posture is closely associated with back and neck pain. Some sleep positions can worsen the pain, while others may help alleviate it.”
Let’s explore which sleeping positions to avoid if you’re suffering from back and neck pain, as well as the ones that can bring relief.
Sleeping Positions that Aggravate Back and Neck Pain:
1. Sleeping on the Stomach
If you have a habit of lying on your stomach, it’s time to break it. This position can put a strain on your back and neck. Dr. Borkar advises, “It can increase back pain and twist the neck. However, if you prefer sleeping on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your lower abdomen or pelvis to mitigate back pain.”
2. Fetal Position
The fetal position, which involves sleeping on your side with your knees curled up towards your chest, is popular among side sleepers. However, those with back and neck pain should steer clear of this position. Sleeping in the fetal position can force your back and neck into a curved position, leading to muscle tension during sleep.
If you still find comfort in this position, try folding your hand under the pillow to support your head.
3. Resting Your Arm Under Your Head
While it may seem cozy to sprawl out in bed with your arm under your head, it’s not the best way to rest. This can exert pressure on the nerves in your arm, causing numbness and tingling sensations. Additionally, sleeping with your bottom arm under your pillow or stretching out your top leg can result in shoulder and neck pain.
Sleeping Positions that Relieve Back and Neck Pain:
1. Sleeping on Your Back
“If you’re looking to manage back and neck pain, sleeping on your back is your best bet,” advises Dr. Borkar. This position evenly distributes the weight of your spine, making it ideal for spinal health. It reduces pressure on the discs and helps prevent pain in the neck and back.
Moreover, sleeping on your back can alleviate acid reflux, maintain breast perkiness, and minimize facial wrinkles. Don’t forget to place pillows under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your spine.
2. Sleeping Upright
Sleeping upright or in a reclined position can be both healthy and comfortable, as long as you can get sufficient rest. Dr. Borkar suggests, “Sleeping upright or in a recliner can help alleviate back and neck pain.” Many individuals find relief from both neck and back pain by sleeping upright or in a reclining position. Pregnant women often opt for this position to ease back pain.
3. Sleeping on One Side
Sleeping on your side with slightly bent legs, outstretched arms, and a slightly tilted head can be beneficial in tackling back pain. Dr. Borkar recommends using a thick pillow to support the head while maintaining the natural curve of the neck.
Moreover, this sleeping posture can also help prevent snoring. Try switching sides every few hours to avoid back and neck aches.
Always Choose a Good Mattress to Avoid Back and Neck Pain
To support your spine, it’s essential to invest in a comfortable mattress and pillow. Both should cater to your specific needs, offering the right balance of firmness and softness.
Tips for Addressing Sleep Issues:
- Stay active and exercise regularly to improve your sleep quality.
- Limit your caffeine and alcohol consumption, especially before bedtime.
- Aim to get plenty of restful sleep.
- Avoid screen time a couple of hours before going to sleep, and create a dark, cool, and quiet sleeping environment.
- Consider relaxation techniques, such as meditation and a soothing shower, to enhance the quality of your sleep.
So, ladies, by following the right sleeping positions, you can bid farewell to your back and neck pain. Sleep well, and wake up feeling refreshed and pain-free!