The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Support

Posted October 25, 2019 by in Health + Fitness
The Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Support

    

Around 80% of American adults suffer from lower back pain at some point in their life. The pain can stem from a wide variety of causes, from injuries to conditions like Endometriosis. But regardless of the underlying cause, everyone feeling pain is seeking one thing — relief. 

When you suffer from back pain, sleeping can be nothing short of agony. Keep reading to learn about the five best positions for lower back support:

  1. Fetal Position

One of the best sleeping positions for combating back pain is the fetal position. The fetal position, like the name suggests, mirrors the shape that fetuses take in the womb.

You start by rolling over gently until you’re laying on your side. Then, while on your side, tuck your knees up towards your chest. You should try to keep your back as straight as possible while bending your knees. 

You’ll tuck a pillow under your head and neck for support. Try to switch sides throughout the night so that you don’t cause unwanted pain in your hips. 

  1. Side with Pillow Between Knees

If the fetal position doesn’t stop the pain, adding in a pillow may do the trick. 

For this position, you’ll also sleep on your side. But you’ll raise your leg to better align your spine by inserting a pillow between your knees. This helps to remove any unwanted pressure while you’re sleeping. 

You’ll want to make sure you have extra pillows for this position because you’ll still want one pillow supporting your neck and head. If you find that a normal pillow doesn’t offer enough support or isn’t big enough, consider investing in a body pillow. 

If you find that while in this position, your back tends to curve overnight, try hugging a pillow to your chest as well. This will help train your body to straighten, reducing the amount of tension put onto your spine. 

  1. Back with Pillow Under Knees

Sleeping on your back helps evenly distribute your weight across your body. This allows you to straighten your back and relieve any tension from certain pressure points. 

But sometimes, sleeping on your back still leaves you in pain. If this is the case, try putting a pillow underneath your knees while you’re sleeping on your back. 

If you find that a pillow under your knees is too uncomfortable, you can try rolling up a towel or a small blanket instead. This should lessen the height you raise your knees while still offering support to your spine. 

  1. Reclined Position

Sometimes, sleeping in a reclined position provides the best relief for back pain. To get a reclined position, ideally, you’ll use an adjustable bed. You’d adjust the portion of the bed that supports your head higher into the air until you’re almost in a sitting position. 

If you don’t have an adjustable bed, you can also try sleeping in a recliner chair for a few nights to see if this helps your back pain. 

  1. Stomach with Pillow Underneath

Some people just prefer sleeping on their stomach, and that’s okay. While sleeping on your stomach usually hurts your back more than helps, there are ways you can make this position work. 

If you insist on sleeping on your stomach, place a thin pillow underneath your abdomen and hips. This will raise your hips and help align your spine while on your stomach. 

Make sure that you are using a very thin pillow or no pillow at all under your head. The main thing to think about when reducing back pain while sleeping is keeping your whole body straight. 

Extra Tips to Reduce Back Pain

While your sleeping position can drastically decrease your pain, there are a few more steps you can take:

Invest in a Quality Mattress

If you’re sleeping on a very old mattress or one that’s wrong for your body type, you may not see relief regardless of your sleeping position. 

Experts say that you should replace your mattress every 7 to 10 years. So, if your mattress is older than 10 years old or you have no clue how old your mattress is, you’re probably due for an upgrade. 

When buying your mattress, you’ll want to first figure out which ones suit your body type. If your hips are wider then your waist, you’ll need a softer mattress. But, if your hips and waist line up on your body, a hard mattress is better. 

Try out a few different types at a mattress store to see which one best supports your spine.

Visit a Chiropractor 

If you’ve tried all these sleeping positions and have a quality mattress, consider visiting a chiropractor for back pain

An experienced chiropractor can pinpoint the underlying cause of your back pain. Once diagnosed, they can perform spinal manipulations and adjustments to help fix the problem.

This is a process that can take several appointments over a period of time. But, the end result may be an aligned spine with no more lower back pain. Once fixed, you should still use a good sleeping position to ensure you don’t cause the pain to return. 


Try any of these five sleeping positions to give your body the lower back support it needs for a good night’s sleep. Everyone’s body is different so you may need to test each position for a few nights until you find the one that’s right for you. If you’re still waking up with back pain, consider changing out your mattress and pillows. And remember that in serious cases, you may need to visit a chiropractor to see results. 

Looking for more ways to live your best, pain-free life? Bookmark the Health and Fitness section of this blog and check back often for fresh content.