Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

What are the best sleeping positions for back pain? Different people prefer different sleeping position. In this article, we will discuss the perfect sleeping position for upper, lower and middle back pain. Read the full article to learn more.

Back pain is a common problem for many of us. Lower back pain is named as the leading cause of disability across the globe by The Global Burden of Disease study. The interesting fact about back pain is that it is not caused by any serious condition. Instead, it is caused by bad posture, inappropriate lifestyle habits, and bad sleeping position.

Talking about sleeping position, the way a bad sleeping position can cause you back pain, the same way a good sleeping position can give you relief from back pain. It is different for different individuals. Different people find different position helpful to get relief from back pain. We will have to try different sleeping position to see which one help us to get rid of back pain.

There can be back pain in different back parts of our body. It can be lower, middle or upper back pain. Among all these back pains most people suffer from lower back pain.

Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain (Lower, Upper, Middle, and Neck)

  • Lower Back Pain
  • Middle Back Pain
  • Upper Back Pain
  • Neck Pain

Lower Back Pain

Lower back pain is a common problem that we face at some part of our life. It can affect you at any age, but the occurrence is more common for the people aged between 35 and 55 years. Doctors say that back pain is associated with the way our bones, muscles, and ligaments in our backs work and get attached to one another.

6 Perfect sleeping positions for lower back pain

There are many sleeping positions that you can try to alleviate your back pain during sleeping. The positions are described below:

1. Sleep on your side

You can try sleeping on your side if you are uncomfortable sleeping on your back. Turn to one side. Keep your waist and thigs connected to the mattress. Place a pillow between your knees. If you feel there is any gap between your waist and the mattress, use a thin pillow to cover the gap. This pillow will align your hips, pelvis, and spine better. Avoid sleeping on the same side every night.

2. Sleep in a fetal position

Sleep on your side curled in a fetal position. Curve your back and bring your torso towards your knees. This position is very comfortable if you have a herniated disk. Change the sides from time to time so that there no imbalance.

3. Sleep on your back placing a pillow under your knees

Lay on your back and keep a pillow under your knees. Add a rolled-up towel at the base of your back where it curves. This will help relieve pressure on your lower back giving a good support.

4. Sleep in a reclined position

If you have Isthmic spondylolisthesis, you would be very comfortable to lie on your back in a reclined position. Buy an adjustable bed if you want to sleep in that position. You will get the best alignment and support.

5. Sleep in a log position

Lay on your back with a pillow under your head resting your arms straight on both sides. Turn to one side keeping your arms and back straight. Place a thin pillow between your knees to ease the pressure on your hips. Keeping your back straight keeps your spine aligned. This is a very good position for the people who are suffering from lower back pain.

6. Sleep in a starfish position keeping a pillow under your knee

Lay on your back. Spread your legs apart. Bent up your arms on either side of your head. Put a pillow under your knees. Sleep on a firm mattress. This will provide support for your spine and will help you to avoid back pain.

How To Sleep With Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy

During pregnancy, there are a lot of hormonal imbalances. To prepare yourself to deliver the child, your body produces a hormone relaxin that helps to relax the ligaments in the pelvic area and loosens the joints so that the baby would be easily delivered. However, this same hormone can lead to loosening of ligaments that support the spine and thus cause instability and pain.

Best sleeping position for lower back pain during pregnancy

During pregnancy, it may seem difficult to sleep in your usual position. It may be due to various reasons. The reasons include:

  • Increased size of the abdomen
  • Back pain
  • Heartburn
  • Shortness of breath
  • Insomnia

If you find discomfort in your usual sleeping position, try SOS position. SOS position means sleep on side position. Also, sleeping on the left side will ensure the adequate amount of blood and nutrients supply to your baby. Turn your left side and keep your knee bent. Place a pillow between your knees.

To alleviate back pain, place a thin pillow in the gap between your waist and mattress. It will provide a good support. According to the statistics presented by the American Pregnancy Association, between 50 and 70 percent of pregnant women experience moderate to severe back pain during their pregnancy period. It is not a sign to worry about. Medications are hardly prescribed to relieve pregnancy period back pain. Health practitioners can give you myriad remedies that can help you to get rid of the back pain. Here are some remedies that you can try to lessen your back pain.


Middle Back Pain

There can be several underlying causes for the ache in the thoracic region of your back. Usually, it is not a result of a serious spinal issue. It is usually associated with weak or poor posture. It can also be the result of any injury that includes herniated discs, sprains, or more serious fractures. If you are experiencing middle back pain, it is very likely that your thoracic spine is traumatized. Osteoarthritis and degenerative disc disease are also known to cause middle back pain. middle back pain can also act as a symptom of gallbladder disease and even heart attack.

What are the best sleeping positions for middle back pain?

There are two sleeping positions for middle back pain. If you are planning to sleep on your back, get a contoured memory foam pillow. If you are palling to sleep on your side place a pillow under your upper arm and a contoured cervical pillow under your neck to keep your head and spine aligned.


Upper Back Pain

Upper back pain is positional. It will either get better at improving posture or else it will get worse with bad postures. Postures in not only important when you are sitting or standing. It is also important in which posture you sleep since you spend one-third of your life sleeping. Back pain can also begin after any accident or injury. It can also be due to overactivity or without any apparent reason. So, if you are already experiencing back pain, it is very important to follow a proper sleeping position. Also, if you don’t sleep in a proper position you may start to experience back pain.

Good sleeping position for upper back pain

To minimize upper back pain, you need to choose a posture pillow specially designed for cervical support. Lay flat on the bed and turn to your side. Bent your knee and keep a pillow between your knees. It will help you to keep your body aligned.


Neck Pain

All of us have suffered or will suffer from neck pain at some point in our life. We often woke up neck pain. Neck pain usually arises from the soft tissues in and around the cervical spine. Like always prevention is better than cure. It is true that age-related neck pain, are not under your control. But you can definitely take steps to minimize the chances of getting neck pain later in your life.

What are the best sleeping positions for neck pain?

There are two sleeping positions that you can choose to avoid neck pain. That is either you sleep on your back or else you sleep on your side. When you are sleeping on your back, consider using a feather pillow to support the natural curve of your neck. Use a flatter pillow to cushion your head. Avoid using a too high pillow. When sleeping on your side, keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than your head.

Tips For Getting Better Sleep

Whatever pain you may have, you can still have peaceful sleep at night. If not to the fullest you can at least improve your sleep. here we are giving you some simple tips that will help you to get better sleep at night.

1. Use a firm mattress

Always use a firm mattress if you are suffering from back pain. Check how long have you been using your mattress. If it is more than 10 years old, it is the time to throw it away. Invest in buying good quality mattress since you spend one-third of your day there. Remember soft mattress doesn’t mean a good one. A firm mattress would be a good choice for you if you experience back pain.

2. Spend less time in bed

You should not exceed spending more than 8 hours lying in bed. Even if you feel severe pain, you should limit the amount of time you spend lying in bed. If you see your condition worsening, you should decrease the time to less than eight hours.

3. Buy sleeping aids

Spend on buying sleeping aids like bed towels that you can use under your waist while sleeping. Buy feather pillows that you will help to give you relief from neck pain.

4. Avoid using electrical devices

Avoid using electrical devices like smartphone or laptops at least 30 minutes before heading to bed. There is an internal clock in our body. The light that we are exposed to tells the inner clock when the daytime is and when is the time to sleep. Light emitted from electrical devices can confuse our inner clock and may keep us awake till late at night. Also, the blue light that is emitted from such devices reduces the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin is responsible for making us fall asleep.

5. Listen to relaxing music

Listening to relaxing music before bedtime is a great way to relax our body. You can also do regular mediation. This will help to relax your body reducing your stress level.

6. Choosing the right pillow

Choosing the pillow depends on your sleeping position. If you sleep on your back, your pillow should completely fill the space between your neck and the mattress. On the other hand, if you sleep on your side, go for a thicker pillow to keep your head aligned with the rest of your body.

Avoid Some Sleeping Positions

There are many sleeping positions that are causing our body to ache. These positions put pressure on your neck, back, shoulders and heels which lead to pain. The worst position that causes back pain is sleeping on your stomach. It flattens the natural curve of your spine, putting additional strain on your back muscles. Sleeping on your stomach means you keep your neck rotated the entire night. This can result in neck pain or back pain between your shoulders. But if you are comfortable sleeping on your stomach you can follow that sleeping position. If you feel you are not feeling any sort of body ache you can continue to sleep in that position. Also, it is better not to sleep in the same position the entire night. However, it is all about finding your own comfort.

During pregnancy avoid sleeping on your back. This can cause backaches, shortness of breathing, dysfunction in the digestive system, hemorrhoids, low blood pressure and a decreased blood circulation.


We suffer from back pain time to time. Correcting our sleeping position can help us to get rid of back pain. Try the sleeping position that we have suggested for different kind of back pains. There are specified sleeping positions for each kind of back pain. See which one suits you.