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Is My Sleeping Position Causing My Back and Neck Pain?

back and neck pain

When people experience back and neck pain, they often seek to make lifestyle changes that will help them understand and eliminate the source of this pain. Treatments can include lowering stress levels and improving posture, as well as receiving massage therapy for a variety of pains. However, what few people know is that one essential habit can drastically affect the condition of your neck and back: the position that you sleep in at night. Most of us have a particular position that we stick with, but not all positions are created equal. Take a look at how your sleeping position can affect you:

Stomach

People who sleep on their stomachs often do so in an attempt to eliminate snoring, which is experienced much more frequently by people who sleep on their backs. However, despite this benefit, sleeping on your stomach can actually lead to numerous problems, making it the worst sleep position for your neck and back. That’s because lying on your stomach for extended periods of time can affect the curve of your spine, causing it to curve inward towards the front of your body, which can lead to significant pain and posture problems later on. Furthermore, stomach sleeping can stress your muscles and joints, contributing to tingling, numbness, or pain.

Back 

Sleeping on your back is generally considered much better than sleeping on your stomach, simply because it helps preserve the natural curve of your spine by keeping your head, neck, and spine aligned. When sleeping on your back, you can try placing a pillow under your knees and below your head to help increase the beneficial effect of this position; your body should be on one plane, with your face parallel to the ceiling instead of tilted up or down. This will ultimately help reduce back and neck pain and improve your posture. However, the downside is that it can significantly increase snoring, which may cause a problem if you have a condition such as sleep apnea.

Side

Sleeping on your side helps you avoid many of the negative aspects of both back and stomach sleeping. For example, it helps minimize snoring while also taking the strain off of your spine by keeping it in a neutral position. However, as a downside, you may experience muscle tightness in your neck and shoulders. To combat this, place a pillow under your head and neck and between your knees to keep your head and the rest of your body neutral and aligned.

For some individuals, changing their sleeping patterns isn’t as easy as it sounds. This is especially true for those who tend to adjust their position while still sleeping. If you continue to experience back and neck pain regardless of the position that you sleep in, give Access to Health a call at (860) 889-1475 to schedule an evaluation.

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