sleeping with low back pain

sleeping with low back painWhen you suffer from back pain not only does that pain impact your day, but it can also lead to a rough night by causing disruption to your sleep. Having poor bed posture can create or worsen low back pain. Here are five tips for finding a comfortable sleeping position to reduce back pain.

  1. Sleep on your side. It’s best to sleep on your side in the fetal position but not overly curled up. Place a pillow between your knees for better support.
  2. If you feel pain when you’re in a standing position that is alleviated by leaning forwards, try sleeping in a reclined position. If you have an adjustable bed, sleep in the anti-gravity or zero-gravity position. This position simulates weightlessness and puts less pressure on your body. It is a similar position to sleeping in a reclining chair. You can also try using a large wedge cushion to put under your knees.
  3. Be certain you are sleeping on a good mattress. Some simple rules of thumb to follow when it comes to mattresses are:
    – It should not sag.
    – Medium firm is best.
    – There should be no unusual spine curvature when you lie on your mattress. Your spine alignment, whether you are lying on your back or side, should be similar to your standing spine alignment.
    – If you sleep with a partner consider a larger or king-sized mattress so you have more room to find a comfortable position without disrupting your partner’s sleep.
  4. Listen to soothing audio such as classical music or relaxation music that is on a timer. It helps to reduce anxiety and can help prevent you from focusing on your pain.
  5. Use a supportive neck pillow that keeps your neck in line with your back and parallel to the mattress.


David J. BenEliyahu, DC, DAAPM, DABCSP is the Administrative Director of the Back & Neck Pain Center at Mather Hospital.