As stated in previous articles, you should use proper body mechanics and good posture to reduce the risk of injury to your back while performing any activity, including sleeping. Also, if you already have back pain, good body mechanics and posture may help minimize your pain and help to prevent further injury. Here are some tips for back pain management and prevention during sleep.
If you tend to sleep on your back:
- Try using a regular or a cervical pillow under your head; use a pillow thick enough to maintain the alignment of your spine. Your head and neck should be in a line with your spine and not bent to one side or the other because your pillow is too thin or too thick.
- Use a knee pillow under your knees to maintain proper alignment of your spine. However, if you have arthritis, do not place a pillow under your knees when sleeping.
If you prefer to sleep on your side:
- You may use a pillow under your head thick enough to maintain the alignment of your spine, and if needed, a pillow between your arms and one between your knees for support.
- Your knees should be drawn up slightly to place the spine in neutral position. A body pillow can serve the same purpose.
- Sleep or rest on your back. Sleeping and resting on your stomach is not recommended, because this position increases the arch of your back, shortening your muscles, and creating spasm and pain.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.