By Kaity Hall, PT, DPT, ATC
Do you wake with low back stiffness and soreness in the morning? A number of causes could be contributing to this common issue including something as simple as sleeping position. Improving your sleeping position will support your spine’s natural curvatures. This creates a more neutral position and decreases strain to any areas that may be experiencing low level aggravation.
If sleeping flat on your back is painful or you feel your back arching or tensing away from the bed, you may have tightness or increased tone in your hip flexors (which attach to your low back and pelvis). This can cause strain to your low back when laying flat. Try putting a pillow or rolled up blanket under your knees to take some stress off of your hip flexors.
Side sleeping is often the most comfortable position for those with low back pain when ideal support is available. The goal in side sleeping is to position your hips stacked on top of each other with your top knee aligned with your top hip. This can be achieved by placing a pillow in between your legs. The size of the pillow will vary by person. It is important for the pillow to extend from the groin to the feet so as to prevent the hips from being in a rotated position. It can also be helpful to support the upper body by hugging a pillow to prevent upper back rotation.
Sleeping on your stomach, much like sleeping on your back, can put tight and tense hip flexors on stretch and contribute to low back discomfort. It also requires you to turn your head to one side which in turn causes some degree of rotation throughout the spine. If you must sleep on your stomach, try putting a pillow under your hips.
A note about pillows: there is no one size fits all pillow. The ideal pillow will support your neck and upper body in a neutral position.
If you feel as though you are in need of further assistance or have questions or concerns regarding your low back, call Kinetic Edge Physical Therapy at 866-588-0230 or request an appointment and begin your road to a healthier, happier, and hope-filled life!