Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

This Physiotherapist guided video shows you the two best sleeping positions for lower back pain. 

These positions will support your spine and lower back tissues for comfort and healing while you sleep.

1. Side Lying Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain

Supported side lying is a helpful position for improving comfort while resting in bed. This position keeps your spine in a straight horizontal alignment when you’re lying down. It supports the joints and soft tissue of the spine and limits rotation of the trunk to minimize strain while resting.

Try to rest and sleep on a firm mattress to keep the spine well aligned. The lower back is placed under strain when it sinks into a soft mattress.

Position

  • Position your body with the sore side uppermost (try to avoid lying on your painful side if you can)
  • Place one pillow under your head
  • Position one pillow length ways between your legs to support your lower back and stop your spine rotating
  • Place a third pillow against your chest to stop your trunk from rotating by stabilizing your upper body.
Use this Position
 
  • During pregnancy
  • With SIJ (sacroiliac joint) problems
  • Lower back strain
  • Sway back
  • Coccyx pain
 

2. Supine Sleeping Position for Lower Back Pain

Sometimes lying on your back with legs straight (extended) on the mattress may increase lower back discomfort and strain. This is because the natural inward curve in the lower back is increased with the legs extended.

This modified sleeping position supports the natural curve in the lower back to reduce the pressure in the joints and soft tissues (including the discs).

Position

  • Lying on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the bed
  • Place one pillow under your head
  • Position one or two pillows under your knees so that they are slightly bent when resting. The most comfortable number of pillows will vary from one person to the next.
Use this Position
 
  • Lumbar disc bulge
  • Lower back strain
 

More Videos and Information

Hysterectomy Recovery Exercises for Avoiding Post-Operative Complications (eBook)

Hysterectomy Recovery Exercises Book 1with Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist
Michelle Kenway

Learn Physical Therapy exercises and techniques help you:

  • Move well with minimal discomfort
  • Exercise safely
  • Reduce your risk of major complications and common side effects of hysterectomy.

Includes exercises for lower back pain, constipation, gas pain, moving in and out of bed and safe return to activity after hysterectomy.

Learn More

 

We Welcome Your Comments

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Comments

  1. Are there guidelines for sleeping positions for men

  2. Love your videos and suggestions. Very helpful.

  3. Thank you Michelle for the video on pillow use for low back pain. I have hip pain every night and it disrupts my sleep. This video has been extremely useful.

  4. Thank you Michelle for the !
    I remembered the pillow placed between legs and upper chest area from years ago
    after I had 3 back surgeries (car accident). My neurosurgeon suggested a body pillow.
    But I forgot about the 2 pillow prop under the legs while sleeping on my back.

    Your videos are wonderful for me. Good reminders at my age (71) and I can always
    refer back to them for various exercises.

    Again, thank you and I watch you on YouTube for various exercises.

    • Author: Michelle Kenway Pelvic Floor Physiotherapist says

      I’m so glad this helps to remind you Carmen – anything for better quality sleep!