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  • Writer's pictureNeil Melanson

Sleep Positions to Reduce Back Pain

By making simple changes in your sleeping position, you can take strain off your back and improve the quality of your rest period.

Sleeping on Your Side

If you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and put a pillow between your legs. Use a full-length body pillow if you prefer. This position may be helpful if you have osteoarthritis in the spine, spinal stenosis — a narrowing in the spine — or hip pain.

Sleeping on Your Back

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. You might try a foam roller or small, rolled towel under the small of your back for additional support. Support your neck with a pillow. This position may be helpful if you have low back pain.

Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your abdomen can be hard on your back. If you cannot sleep any other way, reduce the strain on your back by placing a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen. Use a pillow under your head only if it doesn't place too much strain on your back, otherwise try sleeping without a pillow under your head. This position may be helpful if you have degenerative disease or a herniated disk in the central portion of your spine.

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