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The Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

What are the best sleeping positions for back pain? As it turns out, there is no optimal sleeping position for everyone. But, there are some best practices you can follow to ensure you don’t put unnecessary pressure on your spine while asleep.

best sleeping positions for back pain - saratoga spine

Sleeping Positions

With any sleep position you want to ensure that you minimize the stress on your spine. Depending on how you like to sleep there are different ways of accomplishing this.

How to Sleep on your Back with Back Pain

When sleeping on your back, your spine tends to arch too much. This can put pressure on your spine.

To help minimize this, try placing a pillow under your knees. In addition, placing a rolled up towel under the curve of your spine can help support your spine.1

How to Sleep on your Side with Back Pain

Sleeping on your side is sometimes considered the best of all the sleeping positions as it minimizes strain on your spine.1 However, curling yourself up too much or hanging one leg over the other can result in spine misalignment.

When sleeping on your side place a pillow between your knees to maintain the best spine alignment.

How to Sleep on your Stomach with Back Pain

Sleeping on your stomach is probably the hardest position for your back.

In this position, placing a pillow under your abdomen and pelvis can help reduce the pressure on your spine. You may also find that sleeping without a pillow under your head is more comfortable for your back.2

best sleeping positions for back pain

Source: Wikimedia


Finding the Optimal Sleep Position

Not all of the above sleep positions may be comfortable for you. If you have difficulty sleeping in one position, try one of the others. Each person’s body and personal preferences are unique.

So, even though there is no best sleeping position, these best practices can help you ensure you aren’t putting unnecessary pressure on your spine while sleeping.


  1. Pain Physicians
  2. MayoClinic
*Please Note: Information on this site or any recommended sites should not be used as a diagnosis or a substitute for talking with your doctor. Always talk with your doctor about diagnosis and treatment information.
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