Having good posture is a simple yet effective way to keep the back and spine healthy. Proper posture doesn’t apply just to sitting and standing. The muscles and ligaments of your back relax and heal themselves while you sleep, which is why it is critical to protect your back by practicing good posture when resting.
Although you might find yourself in a comfortable position, there are some sleeping positions that can cause a lot of damage to your spine and the surrounding muscles over time. Different sleeping positions can lead to:
- Back and neck pain
- Sleep apnea and snoring
- Heartburn and acid reflux
Which sleeping position is best for a healthy spine?
When we sleep, we lose consciousness, and the body works to repair muscle, organs and other cells so that when we wake up, we feel refreshed. However, when it comes to keeping your neck and spine aligned while sleeping, your body will need some help from you. Here are the best sleeping positions for a healthy spine.
On your back
While some people find this position uncomfortable, sleeping on your back may be the best position to maintain spine alignment. Sleeping on your back evenly distributes weight throughout the body and helps avoid unnatural curves in the spine while you are asleep.
When sleeping on your back, try elevating your knees with a pillow to reduce pressure on your lower back. This will also help you maintain the natural curve of your spine.
On your side
If lying on your back feels uncomfortable, try shifting to your side to take the weight of your body off your spine. Sleeping on your side is the second best position to support the natural curvature of your spine and is a great alternative to sleeping on your back.
Try placing a firm, flat pillow between your knees when you sleep on your side. The support from the pillow will align your lower spine with your hips, which will prevent the top leg from creating pressure on the lower back and pelvis.
Avoid sleeping on your stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is a position you should avoid as it doesn’t support spine alignment and puts pressure on your joints. Since you are unable to breathe while lying flat on your stomach, you are forced to twist your neck, which adds even more stress to the body.
If you find yourself resting on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your hips to relieve some of the pressure off your back. This can help reduce the strain on your back by supporting the natural curvature of your spine as much as possible.
Your sleeping position is key to maintaining a healthy spine and preventing back pain and dysfunction. If your back pain is not relieved or improved after the suggested postural changes, you should seek medical attention.
For a comprehensive evaluation from the physicians at Brain2Spine Institute, call (727) 828-8400 or schedule an appointment here.