What’s Your (Sleeping) Position?

Do you routinely wake up in the morning with a back ache? If your answer is yes, there is a fairly simple fix that can do away with the pain: Change your sleep position.

Second only to sleeping on a worn out mattress, the position in which you sleep has a big impact on your body.  Sleep position is one of the (if not the) most underappreciated factor in spinal misalignment and resulting pain.

Here are some tips to help you help your body when sleeping:

  • Do not sleep on your stomach. Sleeping facedown can cause strain in your lower back.
  • If you routinely sleep on your back, put a large pillow under your knees. This will help lessen pressure on the sciatic nerve in your lower back. Don’t use a pillow for your head. Instead, put a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your neck. If this is uncomfortable or painful, try sleeping without a pillow. 
  • The best sleep position is on your side with legs drawn up in a “loose” fetal position. To take the most stress off your back, put a pillow between your knees; you can use one of those long “body pillows” if that works well.

If you are sleeping in a position that could be aggravating back pain, it is important to “retrain” your brain to change position. Make the wrong position uncomfortable or “bank” yourself in the right position before going to sleep. It won’t take long for your brain to reprogram itself.

We sell an orthopedic head pillow to help our clients achieve the best sleep position. If you would like to get information about this pillow and its use, call or come by. We’ll be happy to talk to you about sleep position and how to use the orthopedic pillow for best results.

(By the way, if this is the first time you have heard about the effects of sleep position on your back health, don’t be surprised. The other day, a patient told us, “I’ve had multiple MDs and half dozen chiropractors over the years, and none of them discussed sleep position with me!”)

Dr. O

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