If you are someone who deals with any sort of chronic physical pain on a daily basis, then you understand how exhausting each day can be while you try to navigate through the world and treat your pain at the same time. It certainly wouldn’t be surprising if one of the reasons you look forward to going to bed is because you won’t have to feel the pain as much, if at all, during your slumber. However, you also know and have probably experienced waking up in the middle of the night from a sudden jolt of pain as a result of sleeping in a wrong position. Alternatively, you may be waking up every morning with more soreness than the night before; this can also be attributed to a sleeping position that only further stresses your pain-related condition.
Fortunately, I recently came across a very helpful post by She Knows that explains in great detail the best and worst positions to sleep in based on a person’s specific pain-related health issue. Here is what I ended up taking away from the post.
If you have chronic neck pain, the absolute worst position you can sleep in is on your stomach. This is because the pillow often tenses your neck muscles in an unnatural position, leading to cramping and stiffness the next day. Instead, try sleeping on your side or your back. The goal for you is to adequately maintain the natural curve of your neck, especially when you will be in one position for a long period of time. You can place a rolled up towel directly underneath the neck for added support.
However, if you are experiencing chronic shoulder pain, the worst thing you can do is sleep on your side, so try to sleep on your back instead. Support both shoulders equally with equal amounts of the pillow, and avoid placing direct pressure on the shoulder that experiences the most pain.
As for low back pain, you may benefit from mixing things up a little bit. Try sleeping on your back, and place a pillow underneath both of your knees. This will prevent the back from arching too much while you snooze. You may want to try sleeping without a pillow for your head as well, to keep your body level and flat. Avoid sleeping on your stomach if you experience chronic back pain, since this will only cause tensions and stiffness in the area.
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