Best Sleep Positions for Back, Neck and Shoulder Pain

Best Sleep Positions

Anyone who suffers from severe neck, back or shoulder pain will tell you just how disruptive the pain can be when it comes to sleep time. Not only does the pain seem worse at night, it can keep you awake for the better part of the night. And if you have to wake up early and go to work, pain can affect your productivity and your life in many other ways.

Although back, neck and shoulder pain may make you dread sleep time, it is still possible to get a restorative snooze. There are many strategies or remedies that you can try, but as you are looking for a more permanent solution, you should start by finding the right sleep position. How you sleep determines whether you feel the pain or not, and in many instances, it will be the difference between getting sleep and not getting any at all.

Here are the best sleep positions for these different types of pain.

1. Back pain

Before you start thinking of adopting a particular sleep position to deal with your back pain, it is always important to first determine the cause. There are several causes of back pain, and they include: spinal stenosis, osteoarthritis, degenerative disc disease and various other conditions. Once you determine the cause of the problem, then focus on adopting a sleep position that will not put a lot of pressure on your back.

To ease your back pain as you sleep, adopt one of the following sleep positions:

    • Side Sleeping: Side sleeping/lying is what many experts will recommend for individuals with back pain, as it not only completely takes the pressure off of your back, but also is also quite comfortable. Sleeping on your side ensures that the spine maintains proper alignment. To maintain this position, you will need to have one pillow between your knees and another under your waist.
    • Stomach Sleeping: Stomach, or prone lying, is another great way to take pressure off of your back. However, it is important that you have a pillow beneath your stomach to prevent your back from being forced to arch towards the stomach as a result of gravity. All this being said, this might not be the best sleep position for people who suffer from lower back pain.
    • Supine Position: The supine position is good for a person who still wants to sleep on his or her back. It entails resting on your back, but with your knees bent slightly upwards. You can place a small pillow just below the knees to help maintain the position.

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2. Neck Pain

Unusual neck positions while sleeping are the main cause of neck pain, and can result in conditions like pinched nerves, arthritis, and muscle strain. In most cases the pain will go away after a few days, but it is still important to adopt a good sleep position. The following are some of the best sleep positions to combat neck pain:

  • Back Sleeping: Sleeping on your back will always be the best position if you have neck pain, as is a more natural posture. However, this is only true if you do not also have back pain. You can also enhance the effectiveness of this sleep position by placing a rolled up towel under your neck.
  • Side Sleeping: Side sleeping is what many doctors will recommend if you are suffering from neck pain. That being said, you should not just sleep on your side as you would typically do in any other instance. Instead, you will need to provide extra support for your neck by placing a pillow between your knees. Also avoid raising your arms under or over your head to ensure you do not put too much pressure on your shoulders and neck.

3. Shoulder Pain                

Finding a good sleeping position when you have shoulder pain is often challenging because every twist and turn feels painful. The key is to make sure that you do not worsen the problem by leaning all your weight on your shoulders while sleeping. The key to easing the pain is to ensure that your spine remains in a neutral position.

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