I have certainly had my struggles sleeping at night because of my chronic back pain. By trying these different sleeping positions back pain can be tolerable at night. If you are looking for some suggestions on different ways to sleep to help alleviate back pain, please continue reading.
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Hopefully, these tips can provide some guidance for you as you struggle to get a good night of sleep. I will explain some of the methods that have worked for me over the years in my quest to get a decent night of sleep while trying to forget about my back pain.
I have come to the conclusion of doing whatever feels best is the way to go. These are just some suggestions on positions that have worked for me.
My back pain issues started in 1999. I didn’t do anything, no traumatic event that happened where I doubled over in pain. Nothing popped, nothing pinched, just one day I had a funny feeling down my right leg. I have been through surgery and many other treatments. Given that, I have been through a lot of sleepless nights, so these are some of the sleeping positions that have provided me some relief over the years.
Fetal Position Works Wonders
The fetal position really helped when I had spinal stenosis in 2016. The chiropractor I was working with really wanted to get me off the couch and into the fetal position in my own bed. Once I was able to get into the fetal position, I was able to get some decent sleep while I was trying to recover from spinal stenosis.
Now, I am talking really in the fetal position. The most relief I had was with my knees in my chest and my chin tucked in toward my chest as well. So, I was really a grown man in the ultimate fetal position.
Sometimes now I find it really comfortable to sleep with my right leg over the end or side of the bed. The right side of my body is the side I have the problems on. If I rest the heel of my right leg just off the side of the bed, this is a really comfortable position for me to lay in.
Back in 2016 when I was dealing with a sprained SI joint and spinal stenosis, I was stuck trying to sleep in an upright position. I tried sleeping in bed with pillows propped up behind my back and pillows under my legs. This was okay until I would fall asleep and fall over.
So I started sleeping on the couch with my back propped up on the armrest and my legs bent. Basically, this position worked okay, until I was able to get into the fetal position in my bed.
Prop your legs up
Another thing that worked for me was to lay flat on my back with my legs propped up on pillows, with my knees bent. Since I wasn’t able to lay flat, this simulated me sitting in a chair. This worked well for me for a time as well. You can modify this and sometimes I do still sleep with pillows under my legs, right behind my knees. The height of the pillows is personal preference.
Body Pillow for a man?
Now, one of my favorite sleeping positions is on my side with a body pillow between my legs. I know, I know, a man with a body pillow, but at this point, I couldn’t care less. It’s a comfortable position for me to get some sleep. I am over it! If you are looking for a body pillow, click here.
Sleeping flat on my back also worked, at times when I wasn’t able to bend over due to the sciatic nerve pain. When I was fully upright and unable to bend over, like to put on shoes and socks. This time in my life sleeping flat on my back worked the best.
I also tried sleeping on my stomach with a pillow under my pelvis and abdomen area. Again when I was going through my recovery with stenosis, this method worked, as I was not able to flatten my back in bed. I walked around bent over at the waist, so basically this sleeping position was mimicking how I was getting around at the time.
Oddly enough, I was just thinking about this last night as I was laying down in bed and I don’t know why this works for me, but it does. I bend my right knee, again my right side is the side I have so many problems with. So I bend my right knee, then lay my right leg down on the bed to the side. Then I pull my right foot snug against my left inner thigh, by my left knee. So my right leg is laying flat and if you were to look from above it would like a backward letter “P”. I am not sure why this relieves some discomfort, but it really does.
Roll over when you get out of bed
Another thing, kind of a side note is when I get out of bed, I always roll over onto my right side, and push off the bed with my arms. I swing my feet over the edge of the bed and push off with my arms simultaneously. This really prevents straining my neck and my abdomen. I find this has really been beneficial for me, especially when I couldn’t stand up straight.
Everyone is different
Of course, comfortable sleeping positions will be different for everyone, you will need to find what works for you. These are some suggestions that have worked for me over the years, with all of the issues I have been through. It will depend on the severity of the pain, or discomfort as well as the injury. I have been injured to the point of not being able to bend over as well as the opposite, where I couldn’t stand upright. So, these sleeping positions will need to feel right for you. This link to Mayo Clinic has some additional instruction.
Please feel free to let me know if you have any other suggestions, or want to share sleeping positions that have worked for you when dealing with back pain. Please leave any questions or comments below and I will get back to you as soon as possible.