While sleeping may seem like one of the unlikeliest times for a back injury to occur, you may be surprised to find out just how many back problems can emerge as the result of sleeping in an awkward position. This is because your spine can be curved unnaturally while sleeping, causing stress and strain on both the spinal cord and its supportive muscles. Luckily, there are a few small adjustments you can make to your sleeping habits to protect your back.First, choose pillows that are relatively flat rather than those that are rounded or over-stuffed. Rounded pillow cause your neck to lie at an unnatural, tilted angle which can cause neck and shoulder pain to occur; flat pillows allow your neck to keep a more natural straight alignment. You may also consider rolling up a soft towel to place under your neck to provide extra support for your neck as your head rests upon the pillow.
When sleeping on your back, position the pillow so that it is underneath both your head and your shoulders. You can then insert the rolled up towel under your neck for support. Place one or two pillows underneath your knees to elevate your legs. This allows your pelvis to rest at a straightened angle and eliminates curvature and strain of the lower-spine.
When sleeping on your side, place a pillow in front of you along your chest and rest your top arm on the pillow. This will prevent you from rounding your shoulders while sleeping and can help eliminate stress on your mid- and upper-back. While on your side, also place a flat pillow between your knees, which will keep your legs aligned with your hip joints while sleeping.
Sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for the back, placing stress and overt curvature on all parts of the neck and spine, damaging the muscles in your back. Avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as possible in order to protect your spine.
Lastly, you may consider purchasing an orthopedic bed designed for back support and health. Beds like this are designed to eliminate stress on the neck and spine, which is pretty important considering the number of hours the average person spends sleeping. Whatever you do, remember to listen to your body. If you’re feeling pain and soreness in the morning, a bad mattress or sleep position may be to blame. Talk with your chiropractor to narrow down the possibilities and develop a treatment and prevention program that can help you ensure that a long night’s sleep is a good night’s sleep for both you and your spine.