The best sleeping position for sciatica and neck pain

sleeping positions for back pain
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Sleeping or trying to sleep with sciatica, back pain or neck pain can be a sleep-depriving roundabout that we are all too familiar with. We need quality sleep to repair and restore, but if your back, neck, or both are painful, you can kiss goodnight to any shut-eye. 

Best sleeping positions for back pain and Neck Pain

Before you read further, if you suffer from occipital neuralgia, neck pain and tension headaches, please read this article about the only pillow we use before you leave, it could have a massive impact on your quality of sleep, and therefore life.

Here we go. That horrible, uncomfortable tossing and turning sleep when you’re in constant pain, prevents muscles from relaxing and hinders the healing that happens during the night.

During comfortable sleep, your heart and blood pressure begin to slow, and we release hormones that promote tissue growth and repair blood vessels, white blood cells increase, and the immune system is boosted. Lovely!

If sleeping well impacts the healing process for back pain and neck pain, how on earth do we do it? Here’s how to sleep when you’re suffering.

The Best Way to Sleep for a Sore Neck

Ideally, we want to sleep in positions that are proven to help, but that’s easier said than done; if you’re not used to sleeping in a ‘recommended’ position, it can feel really odd and just add to your pain which is the last thing we want when trying to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong.

So what is the best way to sleep for a sore neck? Fundamental to great sleep is support, alignment and trying to keep your body in a straight-ish line.

The best way to provide this is with a dedicated mattress that provides optimal support. We can’t stress this enough, your mattress matters and is the single most important investment you can make if you suffer from back pain.

The Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain

Sleeping on your back is considered the best sleeping position for lower back or neck pain because it spreads the weight along the length of the spine.  Elevating your knees can help to maintain the curve of the spine if your mattress is unsupportive.

If you sleep on your side, placing some support between your knees provides the space needed to maintain your hips, pelvis, and spine alignment.

You can, of course, try sleeping on alternate sides; you’ll know pretty quickly which side works for you. We can’t sleep on our right side as it increases Acid Reflux for us. The Curled-up fetal position may help those with herniated disc pain.

Lying on your stomach is the worst sleeping position for back pain and should be avoided at all costs.

However, if you really need to sleep in this position, place something supportive (like a pillow or folded blanket) underneath your hips and stomach to correct the spine’s alignment.

Sleeping Positions for Neck Pain

There are two best sleeping positions for neck pain, on your back or on your side. We use two dedicated pillows that can be swapped out according to how painful the neck is.

Our all-time favorite is the Therapeutica Pillow (picture below). Designed to deliver the perfect support for neck pain for both back and side sleepers, we’ve found this to be the best neck pillow for occipital neuralgia as it ‘cradles’ your neck.

It can feel quite magical when you’re in a lot of pain. We’ve been using the Therapeutica Pillow for over 7yrs, brilliant. It took a little time to get used to… but boy was it worth it!

the very best pillow for occipital neuralgia
A great pillow for a great night’s sleep.

Don’t sleep on your stomach with neck pain as you have to twist your neck unnaturally; this really ramps up pressure on the nerves. If you suffer from occipital neuralgia, you already know this; it makes us feel nauseous and dizzy too, very unpleasant.

Sleeping wrong can cause neck pain

Sleeping wrong can take an entirely pain-free neck and turn it into a source of enormous grief.

How many times have you woken up with neck pain? We’re guessing hundreds, or if like us, thousands (age depending, of course).

Sleeping at awkward angles, unexpected head or neck movements when sleeping may cause neck pain. 

Should you Sleep Upright with Neck Pain?

Sleeping in an upright position brings relief for many people with both back, neck pain, and acid reflux. Pregnant women can benefit from this position. Check out this post for information.

Investing in supportive sleep

If you’re suffering trying to sleep with chronic pain and have been using the same mattress and pillows year in year out, you’re caught in a very vicious circle, one that you likely know you must do something about.

If you’re waking up and asking yourself how to get rid of neck pain from sleeping wrong, then it’s time for a new pillow.

Is it time for a new mattress? Is your mattress old, unsupportive, and like sleeping in a giant wok? Imagine what that’s doing to your spine every single day of the year, every year of your life.

Stay safe, be groovy.

Also Check : How to use a tens unit for lower back pain

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