Back and neck pains are a common occurrence in today’s world and most of us live with these pains every single day. But have you ever wondered where is this spinal pain coming from? It could be the obvious reason of slouching in your chair during those long work meetings or straining your neck to look the screen (known as forward head posture) at your desk while sending those work related emails or bending over to pick up your kids toys at home. But have you ever considered that your sleeping posture could be the cause of your neck and back pain? In this blog we will look at the one sleeping posture that you should avoid if you suffer from neck and back pain or of you want to prevent it in the future. We will also discuss why you should avoid this posture and two tips to change your sleeping position.
Many people sleep on their sides or on their back or alternate between these two sleeping positions. But there are some people who like to sleep on their tummy or stomach. This is the sleeping posture that needs to be avoided to if you suffer from neck and back pain or want to prevent it. When we sleep all our joints and muscles should be in a neutral position to prevent any stresses from building up on them during the night so we can wake up refreshed and pain free. When you sleep on your stomach the curve in your lower back or your lumbar lordosis is exaggerated to its maximum capacity. So the curve sits at a maximum angle and there is maximum stress on the muscles, ligaments and joints in the lumbar spine. This can aggravate your existing back pain or could be the cause of your first back pain. Another important point to note is that you need to turn your neck to one side or the other when sleeping on the stomach. This causes a lot of tension on one side of the neck while creating compression on the other side of the neck. This can lead to neck pain in the long run or an increase in your existing neck pain. These are the reasons why you want to avoid speaking on your stomach.
Now lets discuss two tips to change your sleeping position. Firstly try to sleep in a quarter turned position, between side lying and sleeping on your stomach and gradually when you are ready, transition to sleeping on your side or back.
For the second tip, try this hack to avoid turning on to your stomach in your sleep. Keep a stack of pillows in front of your body so that if you roll over in your sleep you end up next to the stack of pillows and you won't be able to completely turn onto your stomach area.
I do understand that it is a case of ‘easier said than done’ as it is not easy to change your sleeping posture. However any new habit takes at least six weeks to form. If you start off in side lying or on your back but you turn over to your tummy in the night, go easy on yourself and try it again the next night. It might be a good idea to try this change in sleeping posture at nap time and then moving on to night time sleep.
If you sleep on your side or back, here is a video with 3 simple tips on how to sleep when you have back and neck pain:
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