What Back Pain While Sleeping Means… And How To Fix It

Sleep positions are a hot topic. Whether you are a back sleeper, a side sleeper, or one of those people that sleeps on your stomach, you have probably gotten passionate, unsolicited advice on how to optimize the way in which you sleep. But if you are one of those people that sleeps on your back and you also tend to experience lower back pain from sleeping, one easy trick might help you fix the problem.

Physical therapists Brad Heinek, recently stated on CNN that many people who fall asleep while lying flat on their backs usually have lower back pain when they wake up in the morning, and they think they know why this is. “When you are sleeping your spine should be relaxed in a neutral position,” said Schrupp, which means that it should not be twisted, extended, or rounded when you are sleeping. So, you want your back to be as flat as possible when you are sleeping.

You would think sleeping while lying flat on your back would mean that you have a neutral spine, but it is not true for all types of bodies. The height of your butt might create a gap between your mattress and your lower back. This could lead the five lowest vertebra in the spine to strain as it sinks down in the mattress. As a result, you might wind up in pain.

The good news is it’s really easy to close this gap and prevent the typical “my aching back!” monologue in the morning “You are going to want to fill that gap at bedtime,” Schrupp says, in order to remove that pressure from your lower back. “What we use is a rolled sheet,” he explains, wrapping a loosely rolled up sheet around Heinek’s waist to show how this works, adding that a rolled-up towel will also work. 

This advice is not just relevant to people who sleep on their backs, either. Even if you sleep on your side, you can still benefit from this type of support, Schrupp adds, since there could be a small gap between the mattress and the side of your stomach as well. If you’re experiencing back pain, there are a number of possible causes. Since Heinek and Schrupp’s fix won’t apply to all back-pain catalysts, it is best to get the treatment of a medical professional if you are in pain in order to choose the best course of action for you.

Author: Scott Dowdy

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