Best Sleeping Position for Back Pain


Like most sufferers, finding the best sleeping position for back pain is difficult. But with a few simple tips from our qualified Chiropractor, you’ll be able to make small steps in improving your back pain and sleeping better.

best sleeping position for back pain

Back pain is incredibly common. It is estimated that four out of every five adults (80%) will experience back pain at some stage in their life.

Although identifying the best way to sleep, actually changing the position you sleep in is a very difficult thing to do. Naturally your body will have a preferred sleeping position but learning which is the best sleeping position for back pain will have much better long term effects.

The most important thing to remember about sleeping is that you can actually arrange your bed, mattress and pillows to offer you the most comfortable sleeping position.

Sleeping on your back is one of the most comfortable ways to sleep whilst suffering from back pain. But to support the back even more place a pillow under the knees as it relaxes the back and muscles around your spine.

This can be the best sleeping position for back pain because;

  • Your spine is lengthened
  • Your muscles and lengthened and relaxed
  • Your shoulders are relaxed
  • Your rib cage is free to expand

This position is often a good way to get to sleep however if you suffer from chronic back pain, this will pose problems as you try to roll over on to your side.

Sleeping on your side is the best way to remain mobile in bed. It also helps if you need to get in and out of bed frequently.

best sleeping position for back pain

As you can see from the illustration, this is where your pillows and mattress can play a huge role in adopting the best sleeping position for a bad back.

A pillow between the knees will prevent the spine and pelvis from twisting. If you start on your back then you can use the same pillow between your legs once you move onto your side.

Working together, your mattress and pillows allow your spine to stay aligned. Most people opt to buy a firm mattress because they think it’s best for a bad back, this isn’t necessarily the case.

The fact is everyone’s different and some mattress and pillow conditions are better for others.

Watch Gillian below explaining what you should look for in a mattress. The video will start at 42 seconds which is the part about the right type of mattress.

If you are naturally a side sleeper, the illustration below shows that your body weight and shoulder width combined with mattress comfort level actually play a big role in aligning your spine.

  • Heavy stature = bigger curve in the mattress
  • Wider shoulders = bigger curve in the neck

how to sleep with a bad back

If you are heavier set, a firmer mattress will suit you better. Heavier people tend to have wider shoulders so a higher pillow will also support this. A mattress won’t support a 16 stone person the same as a 10 stone person.

The most important rule is to speak to someone who knows what they are talking about. If you can’t make it it to our showroom then you can call Victoria our bed specialist and ask for her advice. Like all our staff, Victoria is a Sleep Council Sales Academy Accredited Advisor.


Key Takeaways

  • Side sleeping or on your back is the best sleeping position for back pain.
  • The right combination of mattress and pillows are the best way to get comfortable.
  • Seeing a Back Care specialist or Chiropractor is the most important thing.
  • Make sure you take time to find the best mattress for a bad back.

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