Even when you’re at rest, added pressure on joints and muscles supporting your spine can affect parts of your back. Therefore, it’s not surprising that one out of three sleepers regularly wake up with back or neck pain. Those uncomfortable morning wake-up calls can often be avoided by rethinking your sleep style. Consider the following tips from leading Los Angeles spine surgery center, The Spine Institute.
Avoid Sleeping on Your Stomach
By far, the worst sleep style for your back is on your stomach. When you’re in this position, it’s nearly impossible for your spine to remain in a neutral position thanks to gravity. Stomach sleeping can also irritate nerves and aggravate joint inflammation.
Stay Away from the Fetal Position
The fetal position should also be avoided since it places your spine into a curve. The result is a lot of added stress on your backbone and adjacent joints and muscles. If you really can’t avoid this position, try to minimize curling and choose a plump pillow to help with head-spine alignment.
Strive for a Neutral Sleeping Positions
A neutral sleeping position isn’t entirely flat. Ideally, you want to sleep in a way that takes pressures off your spine while also allowing some degree of support. Sleeping on your back or side tends to be best for your back.
Prevent Muscle Stiffness by Changing Positions
While excessive tossing and turning isn’t necessarily good for your back, most natural sleep movements are beneficial. Even making a semi-conscious effort to turn to your side or ease onto your back can help minimize back pain.
Choose the Right Sleep ‘Accessories’
Boost your bedtime ergonomics by placing a pillow between your knees to help minimize alignment issues when sleeping on your side. If you can’t break the stomach sleeping habit, opt for a flatter pillow. Sleeping on the right mattress is important regardless of your preferred position, with medium-firm being the standard recommendation. Most of the aches and pains associated with your sleep style will go away after you start your day or turn to home remedies like a heating pad or ice pack. For back pain that lingers or becomes progressively worse, see what your doctor has to say. If back pain lingers, it may be time to speak with a board-certified spine surgeon in Los Angeles about both conservative and surgical treatment options. Reach out today and schedule an in-person consultation by calling (310) 828-7757.