Best Sleeping Positions for Lower Back Pain

Sleeping positions for lower back pain

Lower back pain can be debilitating as the pain and discomfort can affect your regular daily activities. Not only can your lower back pain affect you during the day, but it can make getting a good night’s sleep difficult. Lower back pain affects many people, and research has shown that it is the leading cause of disability worldwide. We’ve put together a list of tips for sleeping positions for lower back pain.

If you experience lower back pain, the time you sleep can either be a respite from the day’s pain or exacerbate the problem. Finding ways to sleep comfortably so you can wake up with less pain versus more is important for you to have a productive day. Below you will find the best sleeping positions if you experience lower back pain. You will find positions for those who prefer sleeping on their sides, back, and stomach.

Side Sleeper—Pillow Method:

For those who like to sleep on their side, try putting a pillow between your knees. The side you sleep on should make full contact with the mattress. If there is a gap between your waist and the mattress, use a small pillow to fill the space. It’s important to switch sides each night as sleeping on the same side can cause muscle imbalance and, in some cases, spinal issues. Aligning your spine, hips, and pelvis can help maintain spinal alignment and possibly relieve some pain.

Side Sleeper—Fetal Position:

For those with lower back pain caused by a herniated disc, the fetal position can help you get a good night’s sleep. Laying on your side with your knees pulled towards your chest can help stretch your spine. Your spine has soft, cushiony discs between the vertebrae. A herniated disc occurs when one of those discs pushes out of the normal space in the spine. Curving your spine in the fetal position can open up space between the vertebra.

Back Sleeper—Pillow Method:

If you are someone who sleeps on your back, you can still do that and relieve lower back pain. Place a pillow under your knees, and if necessary, a small pillow under your lower back. Be sure to keep your spine relaxed and neutral. Sleeping on your back helps distribute your body weight evenly and can help with spinal alignment.

Stomach Sleeper—Pillow Method:

For those who like to sleep on their stomach, try putting a pillow under your pelvic area. This will help take any pressure off your back that would occur without it. You can also choose to sleep with a pillow under your neck, depending on how much support you need and how it will make your back feel. If you have issues with your discs, like degenerative disc disease, this position can relieve stress in your spine and create space between your discs.

Sleep Hygiene and Lower Back Pain

If you suffer from lower back pain, sleep hygiene is vital for getting enough quality sleep to get you ready for the next day. Below you will find some helpful sleep hygiene tips to incorporate in combination with your new sleep position.
Sleep Schedule: We all know it’s the right thing to do, but sometimes it’s difficult! Stay on a regular sleep schedule, if possible. Try not to go to sleep 30-60 minutes later than usual and also wake up with 30-60 minutes after you usually do. It can be tough, so perfection is not expected. However, a regular sleep schedule helps with your circadian rhythm, which can help you feel more rested in the morning.

Wind Down:

This is another tough one, but it’s essential to wind down at night. Whether you knit, read, or take a bath, find a relaxing hobby or activity to do before bedtime. Get ready for bed and start winding down an hour before you need to actually be in bed.


Invest in a solid pillow that supports your neck well. There are amazing memory foam and water pillows that are great for neck support.


Because you spend about one-third of your life in bed, investing in a solid mattress is key. While water beds and soft mattresses used to be all the rage, firm or medium mattresses are now what researchers suggest to use. Less firm mattresses can result in poor sleep. Your mattress should be replaced every eight years, so find something you can invest in.

If you have tried the suggested sleeping positions, worked on your sleep hygiene, and still have not gotten any relief from your lower back pain, it’s time to contact a spine specialist. A spine specialist can help diagnose and treat any issues that may be affecting you and causing your lower back pain.

OC Spine Specialists

The spine specialists in Orange County at OC Spine Centers believe in carefully customizing patient care and treatment based on your specific condition and individualized needs. If you are experiencing lower back pain, contact OC Spine Specialists for a consultation. They will be able to evaluate your medical history and physical condition to provide you with a successful treatment plan for your types of spine conditions. For relief from your lower back pain, contact the office for an appointment and get back to feeling yourself again.