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How to Sleep With Back Pain Chiropractor's Guide(2024)

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Best Sleeping Position for Back Pain | Sleep Spine Alignment & Sleeping Positions

Types of Lower Back Pain

Regarding lower back pain, there are two main categories: acute and chronic.

Acute lower back pain is short-term, typically lasting for a few days or weeks. This pain is often connected to an identifiable injury or event, such as overstretching, sudden movements, weak muscles, or sprains. Though the initial acute phase may cause some discomfort, this lower back pain usually subsides relatively quickly and has no long-lasting effects on mobility.

In contrast, chronic lower back pain lasts for three months or more. Often occurring without a clear initial trigger, this lower back pain can be ongoing and persistent. In many cases, people with chronic lower back pain also experience significant inflammation that limits their movement and ability to engage in everyday activities. However, combining physical therapy techniques and medication can often help manage chronic low back pain symptoms and improve quality of life.

Many studies have shown that in many cases, up to 20% of cases of acute low back pain become chronic over time. Thus, if you are experiencing any discomfort in your lower back region, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately to ensure that the condition does not persist.

Is Your Sleep Position Causing Back Pain?

There is a strong relationship between sleeping position and back pain. Sleeping in poor posture can not only cause temporary pain and stiffness, but it can also lead to back issues that last well beyond a single night. This is because resting improperly puts added stress on the lumbar spine, leading to inflammation, muscle strain, pressure on sensitive joints and discs, and other structural problems.

Stomach Sleeping

One common culprit behind poor sleep posture is sleeping on your stomach. These sleeping positions strain the lower back by twisting the spine or putting pressure on the hips and shoulders. Other factors like mattress firmness, body size, and specific medical conditions may contribute to an individual’s experience with sleep-related back pain.

It is essential to develop proper sleep habits to avoid this potentially debilitating condition. This means selecting a comfortable mattress that promotes good spine alignment and ensuring that your pillow offers adequate support for your head and neck.


So if you are experiencing back pain, it may be helpful to experiment with different sleep positions to find one that minimises pressure on your spine. For example, some people find relief by sleeping on their side with their knees pulled up towards their chest, while others prefer a more flat position with their legs straight out. Additionally, using pillows or other supportive devices can help to keep your body aligned while you sleep. Ultimately, the key is to figure out what works best for you and maintain good sleeping habits to prevent further pain and discomfort.

Best Sleeping Positions for Each Back Pain Type

Chronic back pain can be debilitating and frustrating. Finding relief can be challenging, whether a lousy mattress causes your back pain, improper sleeping position, or something else. Here are the best sleeping positions for each type of back pain to help you find some relief.

Sleeping Positions for Upper Back Pain

When treating upper back pain, many experts recommend a particular sleeping position that can help alleviate the symptoms and promote healing. This position is flat on your back, with one pillow underneath your head or neck and another underneath your knees. While this may not be the most comfortable way to sleep, it is generally considered the best position for aligning the spine and relieving pressure on the upper back. Additionally, this position allows the body to rest entirely without unnecessary strain on any part of the upper back or spine. So if you are looking for ways to reduce upper back pain and promote faster healing, consider changing your sleeping habits by trying out this supportive and restful sleeping position.

Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain

If you are suffering from lower back pain, there are a few essential factors to consider when choosing a sleeping position. Both side-sleeping and back-sleeping are effective for managing this type of pain, but choosing the correct part for your individual needs is essential.

When sleeping on your side, placing a pillow between your knees helps to keep your hips aligned and reduces pressure on your lower back. Additionally, a good mattress that supports your upper and lower body can help reduce stress on the spine.

If you experience hip pain on only one side of your body, it is best to sleep on the other side so as not to exacerbate the issue.

Best Sleeping Position for Middle Back Pain

When dealing with mid-back pain, you’ll need all the support you can get. The best sleeping position for this pain is on your side, with as many pillows as possible to keep your spine in alignment. You might even want to try a pregnancy pillow, which can be wrapped around your body for added support. In addition to pillows, you may also want to invest in a quality mattress that will provide ample support for your back. Taking these measures should help you find some relief from your pain so that you can get a good night’s sleep.

Best Mattress for Back Pain

When it comes to finding the best mattress for alleviating back pain, there are many different factors to consider. Some people prefer a firmer mattress that provides firm support, while others prefer a softer mattress with more cushioning. However, choosing a bed with high-quality materials, such as latex, is essential for providing optimum comfort and pressure relief.

Studies have shown that latex mattresses can help reduce peak pressures at points of contact during sleep compared to other mattresses. These lower pressures could lead to improved sleep quality and minor discomfort for those suffering from back pain. With its supportive yet soft properties, a latex mattress is an ideal choice for anyone seeking relief from chronic back pain. So if you’re looking for the best bed for your back health, look no further than a comfortable and supportive latex mattress!

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How Do Sleeping Positions & Spine Alignment Affect Lower Back Problems and Pain?

Lower back pain can be caused by various factors, including sleeping position and mattress quality. Stomach sleeping can strain the lower back and hips as the body is forced into extension.

Meanwhile, side or back sleeping on a mattress that is too firm or not supportive enough can cause the spine to fall out of alignment, resulting in lower back pain.

To avoid these issues, sleeping on your side or back on a mattress that provides adequate support is recommended. This will help to keep the spine properly aligned and alleviate stress on the lower back. With the proper precautions, you can help minimise your risk of experiencing lower back pain.

How to Sleep Better With Lower Back Pain

Getting a good night’s sleep can be challenging if you are living with lower back pain. Not only does this condition make it difficult to fall asleep, but it often causes you to wake up in the middle of the night and stay awake for hours. However, there are several things that you can do to sleep better with lower back pain.

One of the most important things is to find a comfortable sleeping position that keeps your spine aligned. The best way to do this is by lying on your side with a slight bend in your knees, as someone would be in a fetal position. Keep your knees balanced, support your body, and relieve pressure on your lower back. Some people also find placing a small pillow between their knees helpful for extra support and comfort.

Other tips for improving sleep quality include reducing stress levels through exercise or meditation, gently stretching before bedtime, and avoiding large meals late at night. By taking these simple steps, you can not only help deal with acute lower back pain but also improve the quality of your sleep so that you feel refreshed each morning.

When Should You See a Doctor About Lower Back Pain

If you are experiencing lower back pain lasting more than three months, it is essential to seek medical attention immediately. This chronic lower back pain can result from various underlying conditions, including damaged discs, arthritis, or pinched nerves. In addition to causing severe discomfort and restricting your range of motion, chronic inflammation in the lower back can make it difficult for you to perform everyday tasks and care for yourself independently.

You should contact your GP immediately if you have back pain and:

  • numbness or tingling around your genitals or buttocks
  • difficulty peeing
  • loss of bladder or bowel control – peeing or pooing yourself
  • chest pain
  • a high temperature
  • unintentional weight loss
  • a swelling or a deformity in your back
  • it does not improve after resting or is worse at night
  • it started after a severe accident, such as a car accident
  • the pain is so bad you’re having problems sleeping
  • pain is made worse when sneezing, coughing or pooing
  • the pain is coming from the top of your back, between your shoulders, rather than your lower back

These problems could signify something more serious and need to be checked urgently.

Therefore, you must seek help from a medical professional as soon as possible. With proper diagnosis and treatment, it is often possible to manage chronic lower back pain effectively and return to a state of wellness and good health. Whether through lifestyle changes, physical therapy, medication, or other approaches, there are many ways to treat this condition and find relief from your symptoms. So if you are dealing with pain in your lower back, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor today about getting the proper care and treatment plan.

How Should I Sleep to Relieve Back Pain?

While the answer to this question might be slightly different depending on the individual and the severity of their back pain, generally speaking, you should aim to sleep in a position that keeps your spine aligned and helps to promote muscle relaxation.

The first thing to consider is your sleeping surface. Ideally, it should be firm and supportive, with a mattress that conforms to the shape of your body while still providing adequate back support. This can help reduce strain on your spine and alleviate aches and pains in your back muscles.

The ideal position to sleep in to relieve back pain is on your side with a pillow between your legs. This allows your spine to stay aligned and takes the pressure off your lower back. It is important that the pillow is not too thick or too thin, but just enough to keep your spine aligned. If you are a stomach sleeper, it is best to transition to sleeping on your side or back.

Having your head at a natural angle will help keep your body in alignment while allowing your muscles to relax more fully.

Ultimately, however, if you are struggling with chronic back pain or have questions about how to treat it, it’s always best to consult a doctor or specialist who can help recommend the best strategy tailored specifically for you.

What Sleeping Positions Cause Back Pain?

Your Sleeping position is essential for overall health and well-being. However, certain sleeping positions are especially harmful to the back and can lead to increased back pain.

Experts say one of the worst sleep positions is sleeping on your stomach.

This position strains the muscles and joints of the spine, compressing the curve of your spine and causing pain and discomfort. Additionally, sleeping on your stomach may lead to problems with neck alignment, resulting in discomfort and tightness in the upper back.

Other sleep positions to avoid include lying flat on your back or side for an extended period. These can also place additional stress on crucial areas of the spine and increase the risk of chronic pain over time.

To help protect your back while you sleep, consider using a supportive mattress and pillow that offer adequate support while allowing freedom of movement throughout the night. By taking care to sleep in a position that reduces stress on your spine, you can help prevent serious issues with back pain down the road.

Orthopedic MattressDoctor's Recommendation

Chiropractor Designed

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7-10 Shipping across Ireland 

Product DetailsResearch-based Design

Recommended ForBack Discomfort

Back Discomfort

Perfect for anyone experiencing back discomfort, providing the much-needed comfort and support.


Pressure Points

Designed to avoid pressure points, this mattress ensures a comfort, reducing any undue stress on your body.


Incredible Comfort

For people who spend a significant amount of time sleeping, this mattress promotes healthier & comfortable rest.

Order Online

Video Guide

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Dr Lawrence Woods DC

Dr Lawrence Woods DC


My goal is to create the highest quality ergonomic office chairs and accessories for unmatched comfort.

With 30 years of spinal healthcare experience in Ireland as a chiropractor, I learned the value of high-quality sitting for living a happy and healthy life.

I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West and I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified.


About Me

Dr Lawrence Woods

My name Dr Lawrence Woods DC and I have been designing mattresses, pillows, chairs and seat cushions for over 20 years. As a chiropractor, my goal has always focused on improving the health of my patients by optimizing how they sleep and sit. My designs have been nominated for numerous awards and I continue to be at the forefront of this industry, helping people get the best night’s sleep possible. I have a Chiropractic Degree from Life Chiropractic College West, I am NBCE Physiotherapy certified and an OSHAcadenmy certified ergonomist.


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