Do you go to bed relatively free from back pain but you wake up in the mornings feeling stiffness in your back and as the day goes by the stiffness gets better with or without residual back pain? If so, you are not alone. Quite a few people complaint of stiffness that interferes with their daily activities, especially in the mornings. But have you ever wondered what can be the cause of this stiffness if you went to bed pain free and you didn’t do any activity in the night except for sleeping? Could it be your sleeping posture that is the cause of this stiffness?
In this blog we will discuss the cause of this morning stiffness in relation to your sleeping posture followed by two simple tips that you can implement starting today, to manage your back pain and stiffness.
Every one of us has got a different style of sleeping that could range from side sleeping to back sleeping to tummy sleeping or a combination of these.
If you are a side sleeper a tip for you is to keep a pillow in between your legs when sleeping. This helps to keep your hip joints and pelvis in a neutral position, thus minimising the strain on your lumbar spine and lower to mid back area. When we stand in a good posture our thigh bones are parallel to each other. The same should apply to our sleeping posture as well. To determine the thickness of your pillow lie on your back with the pillow between your knees and see the angle at which your thighs are sitting. If they are parallel to each other this is the correct thickness of pillow for you. If the thigh bones are slanting towards each other increase the pillow thickness. However if the thigh bones are facing outwards reduce thickness of the pillow. Once you find out the correct thickness of the pillow, lie on your side with that pillow and see how you go in terms of your back pain and morning back stiffness.
If you are someone who sleeps on their back keep a couple of pillows or a thick bolster under your knees so that they are slightly bent. This will help to flatten your lumbar curve (the curve in your lower back). When you sleep with your legs straightened out your lower back is not fully touching the bed because of the natural curve that is present in the lumbar spine. Keeping your knees slightly bent will allow the spine to be fully supported and the muscles and ligaments to be relaxed during your sleep. Try this out with different pillow thickness and observe the correct height of pillows that makes a difference to your back pain and stiffness when you wake up in the mornings.
Before we get finish off this blog let me just give you a head up if you have been sleeping on your stomach. This can lead to potential neck and back pain or aggravate your existing pain. You can find more details in this video:
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