Best Sleeping Positions To Eliminate Back Pain

May 19, 2020 7:00:00 AM / by Dr. Todd Sinett

As discussed in my previous posts, structural, emotional, and digestive/nutritional causes can lead to back pain.  Getting to the root cause of your back pain is critical to eliminating it. Have you ever considered that your sleeping position may be contributing to that pain in your back or neck?   Certain sleep positions can place unnecessary pressure on the neck, hips, and back, which results in not only stiffness but also back pain. To alleviate the pain and stay limber, your morning routine should include regular stretches, including the Backbridge Extension, and you should utilize proper sleep position.


Sleeping Tips To Eliminate Back Pain

Sleep position-induced back pain is typically felt in the morning upon moving from lying down to a standing position. You can eliminate morning stiffness and back pain using the following tips: 


Purchase A Great Mattress When The Time Is Right

One study conducted by Oklahoma State University researchers and reported in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine revealed that people who suffered from persistent back pain found immediate and significant relief by switching to a new mattress.  Also, the study found that people who slept on mattresses that were at least 5 years old were significantly more likely to suffer from back pain and stiffness.

Listed below is an easy-to-remember “ABC” to help you decide if you need a new mattress:

  1. AGE - Has your mattress had more than 8 years of nightly use?
  2. BEAUTY -  Does your mattress sag, have stains, soil, or tears?
  3. COMFORT – When you lay down, does your mattress feel good, or is it hollowing out and sagging in places?



Patients often ask, “What is a proper sleeping position...side, back, or stomach?”  If you are able to fall asleep and are comfortable, that is a great start. Prescribing a sleep position that would only make you uncomfortable and prevent natural habits could be counterproductive.  However, if you are suffering from back pain, the following are a few ideal sleeping positions: 


Sleep On Your Back 

When you sleep on your back, your weight is evenly distributed and spread across the widest area of your body, which puts less strain on your pressure points. 

If you sleep on your back, place a pillow under your knees to help maintain the normal curve of your lower back. The pillow underneath your knees keeps your spine neutral and maintains that curve in your lower back.  

sleeping on back

If You Are Side Sleeper, Alternate Sides Regularly

Some studies suggest that habitually sleeping on one side may contribute to muscle imbalance and subsequent back pain.  If you are a side sleeper, alternate sides on a regular basis. 


Side Sleepers, Use A Pillow 

Draw your legs up slightly toward your chest, and to keep hips, pelvis, and spine aligned, place a pillow between your knees.  Your right or left shoulder should make contact with the mattress, along with the rest of that side of your body.  If there’s space between your waist and the mattress, you could use another pillow or towel in that area for additional support.

sleeping on side

Sleep With One Pillow Behind Your Head

Using multiple pillows for your head lifts your neck to a stressful angle and prevents the area from relaxing.  One pillow is the best option to prevent back and neck pain. 

Bad Sleeping Position

Choose The Best Pillow

When sleeping, ideally, you want your head to be lower than your neck so that the head and neck can completely relax.  Some PosturePedic pillows have dips in the center to allow the neck to be held-up in high support. Unfortunately, with these pillows, your neck and head don’t always stay in the correct position as you move around at night.  My personal favorite solution is a water pillow. Water pillows are dynamic, so no matter how much you move the supportive aspects of the pillow adjust right with you! My favorite brand is available at Chiroflow.


Sleep Tight And Stretch To Start Your Day Right 

Sleep is a time of healing and very important.  The tips above should help you stay comfortable, wake-up refreshed, and reduce any sleep-induced back pain and stiffness.  To achieve more back pain relief at home, I recommend that your morning routine include stretches using the Backbridge.  Using it should be as routine as brushing your teeth, and example stretches can be found in The Ultimate Backbridge Stretch Book.   The combination of better sleep and a regular stretching routine will go a long way in improving flexibility, perfecting your posture, and eliminating back pain.

Tags: Causes of Back Pain, Exercise and Tips

Dr. Todd Sinett

Written by Dr. Todd Sinett

Dr. Todd Sinett is a well-known New York City-based Chiropractor and Applied Kinesiologist, the Backbridge inventor, and author. His unique, integrative approach has helped thousands of patients lead healthier, pain-free lives.