Expert Reveals the Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Expert reveals the best sleeping positions for back pain

  • New study reveals the most commonly searched-for questions worldwide about neck and back pain.
  • Based on the findings, experts provide answers to the most commonly searched questions, from how to relieve neck pain to what causes lower back pain. 
  • The question ‘how to sleep with lower back pain?’ sparks 10,000 monthly global searches worldwide.

Story credit:   

The study, conducted by award-winning orthopedic surgeon, NJ Spine & Orthopedic, analyzed the search volume for various queries relating to back and neck pain to determine the most searched-for questions from across the globe. The data looked at the search terms within the past 12 months, using SEO tool Ahrefs. 

Following the search data findings, the experts at NJ Spine & Orthopedic have provided answers to the Internet’s most common questions, including how to sleep with lower back pain. Back pain has become more widespread in recent years, with 540 million people worldwide suffering from back pain at any given time. This is also highlighted by the gradual increase in searches for ‘back pain’ over the last 20 years worldwide, as shown by Google Trends. 


How to sleep with lower back pain? – 10,000 monthly global searches 

For those suffering with lower back pain, quality of sleep is crucial. Opting for the correct sleeping position can make a considerable difference in relieving pain, enabling you to enjoy a peaceful night’s rest. 

Ultimately, sleeping on your side, especially with a pillow between your knees, is the best option for those dealing with back pain as it is beneficial for aligning the hips and reducing pressure on the lower back, helping maintain the natural curvature of the spine. Alternatively, sleeping in the fetal position can be beneficial for those suffering with back pain. By curling up in a fetal position, there is typically less pressure on the discs between the vertebrae, potentially alleviating discomfort. 

Conversely, the sleeping position that tends to worsen back pain the most is sleeping on your stomach as this position can strain the natural curvature of the spine, putting additional pressure on the lower back. 

What causes lower back pain in females? – 27,000 monthly global searches 

Ultimately, lower back pain can stem from a range of conditions, affecting individuals regardless of sex. However, factors solely affecting women, such as menstrual cycles, pregnancy, menopause, or endometriosis, may play a role in contributing to lower back pain. Research suggests that women over 30 years old are the most at risk of developing chronic pain in the lower back. 

Premenstrual syndrome, often known as PMS, can be a frequent source of lower back discomfort in women. It’s believed that uterine contractions during PMS may extend to the lower back, while increased inflammation might contribute to back pain. 

Lower back pain can also be linked to menopause. Back pain can be associated with menopause due to decreased hormone production, leading to lower bone density. Research has linked lower estrogen levels post-menopause to increased lumbar disc degeneration and back pain, especially compared to men of similar age. Menopausal symptoms like hot flashes, night sweats, and mood changes can also disrupt sleep and therefore worsen existing back pain. 

Back pain is also common during pregnancy. This occurs as your center of gravity shifts, you gain weight, and your hormones relax your ligaments in preparation for giving birth. Typically, back pain surfaces between the fifth and seventh months of pregnancy, although it can begin earlier, especially impacting women with existing lower back issues. 

Endometriosis, found only in females, can also lead to lower back pain. It involves tissue similar to the uterine lining growing outside the uterus, causing symptoms like painful menstrual cycles, severe abdominal pain, and chronic lower back pain. 

How to relieve lower back pain? – 18,000 monthly global searches 

Effective relief for lower back pain includes targeted exercises, proper posture, and mindful movement throughout the day. 

Poor posture is the leading cause of lower back pain, so making a conscious effort to maintain better posture can help relieve lower back pain long-term. Good posture distributes the weight of your body more evenly, reducing strain on your muscles and joints, so by practicing proper posture, you can align your spine correctly, support its natural curves, and alleviate pressure on your back muscles. 

A 2019 study suggested that certain types of low-impact exercise can improve both posture and lower back pain long-term, including yoga, Tai chi, pilates, swimming and aerobic exercise. 

However, for more quicker results to relieve lower back pain, consider: 

  • Use heating pads or ice packs for 15-20 minutes at a time to alleviate pain and reduce inflammation.  
  • Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing or meditation can help relax tense muscles and reduce stress, which may contribute to lower back pain. 
  • Invest in ergonomic supports such as lumbar cushions or pillows to provide additional support for your lower back while sitting or sleeping. 
  • Wearing supportive shoes with cushioned insoles to provide support for your feet and lower back. 

What causes lower back pain? – 14,000 monthly global searches 

Lower back pain can be caused by a number of factors, including muscle or ligament strains, bulging or ruptured disks, arthritis, osteoporosis, or sciatica. Injuries, sprains or strains to soft tissues are typically the primary culprits behind lower back pain. 

A sprain happens when a ligament is overstretched or torn, while a strain occurs when a tendon or muscle undergoes the same stress. These injuries can arise from overuse, sports activities, twisting awkwardly, or lifting heavy objects improperly. Symptoms may include swelling, tenderness, and muscle spasms. 

How to relieve neck pain? – 11,000 monthly global searches 

For mild to moderate neck pain, it is usually possible to treat symptoms at home with solutions like over-the-counter pain relievers, applying heat or ice, or stretching the neck. 

Alternatively, one simple hack to relieve neck pain fast is to sleep on the opposite side than you usually do. If you have neck pain that only affects one side of the neck, sleeping on the opposite side can relieve the pressure that may be causing the pain. 

Another unconventional way to relieve neck pain is to quit smoking. Smoking can contribute to the deterioration of cervical discs, hinder proper healing and prolong recovery from neck injuries. Therefore, quitting smoking can be beneficial for reducing neck pain and promoting overall spinal health. 

If you experience severe neck pain lasting for weeks or months, so much that it limits your head movement, consider seeing a doctor who can recommend muscle relaxants or physical therapy. 

How to get rid of neck pain? – 7,500 monthly global searches 

On average, Americans spend 5 hours and 25 minutes on their phones daily. This, the daily usage of tablets and computer screens, and the recent growth in remote working has caused an outbreak in ‘tech neck, due to people often sat for long periods of time in unfavorable positions, often putting pressure on their neck. 

Consequently, searches for ‘tech neck’ have gradually increased in the United States to their highest on record, increasing 245% since 2004. Tech neck can lead to immediate pain, stiffness, and discomfort, but also cause more detrimental issues, such as headaches, lower back pain, and even herniated discs in more serious cases (slipped or bulging discs). 

In order to prevent tech neck and get rid of neck pain altogether, try incorporating some minor changes to your daily life, such as: 

  • Position your devices at eye level to reduce the need for tilting your head downward and bending your neck. 
  • Download a posture reminder app for regular notifications. 
  • Take frequent breaks from using electronic devices. Ensure you take breaks every half-hour to alleviate tension in your neck muscles. 
  • Ensure your screen is always 20-30 inches away from your eyes. 
  • Engage in daily neck stretches and exercises to help relieve tension. 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *