Sleeping postures for neck and back pain

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book

~ Irish proverb

One of our favourite topics here at Sydney SportsMed & Ergoworks is posture. This month we’ll discuss sleeping postures for neck and back pain.

Posture at your work is important as you are spending a large component of your day there, but you spend a simliar amount of time in bed! So sleeping properly is just as important.

An average adult requires 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Its vital for the body and brain to reach REM stage sleep to recharge and recover and this is even more important for those with chronic neck or back pain.

You’ve no doubt heard of special mattresses and designer pillows designed for back and neck pain.
Here’s a few quick inexpensive tips that you can try tonight to help get a better posture as you sleep.

Back Sleeping:

  • Put a small pillow under your knees. This helps maintain a more neutral spine posture.
  • You can also place a small rolled up towel into the curve of your lower back.
  • Ensure the pillow fits into the hollow of the curve of your neck. You should not be tilted too far forward by multiple pillows or tilted too far back by a flat pillow.

Side Sleeping:

  • Put a small pillow between your knees. This helps reduce lower back and hip pain.
  • Ensure the pillow height is enough to span between the point of your shoulder and the side of your neck. This reduces load on the muscles of the neck and shoulder.

Front Sleeping:

  • Try not to! Whilst comfortable in the short term, long term, it can lead to stiffness and pain in the neck.
  • If this is the only way you can sleep, make sure your pillow is flat. This way your neck isnt pushed too far up.

If you are having difficulties with neck or back pain, please contact us! Our physiotherapists at Sydney SportsMed & Ergoworks can help you with evidence based treatment, exercises and advice on the best way to sleep for your back or neck problem.

Sweet dreams!

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