How you sleep daily not only affects your posture, it also affects your chronic pain levels. If you are already experiencing chronic pain e.g. neck pain, shoulder pain, back pain etc. or you are trying to avoid them, it is important that you have good sleeping postures to help you deal with or avoid chronic pain.
If you are already experiencing chronic pain, adopting better sleep positions can help significantly lessen the amount of chronic pain you feel when you sleep. Some sleeping postures can worsen your chronic pain instead of helping to lessen it so you need to alter your sleeping position in line with wherever your chronic pain emanates from. To help with this, here is a list of different types of chronic pain and the best and worst sleep positions for them.
Best – If you’re constantly experiencing pain in your neck region, you should always sleep with a pillow under your head so as to help maintain the curve of your neck. Ensure you use a feather pillow or a rolled-up towel, as a hard pillow may cause discomfort.
Worst – Sleeping on your stomach can worsen your neck pain as it alters the natural curve of your spine and forces your neck to bend backwards at an unnatural angle.
Best – For shoulder pain, you should sleep on your back or modified side. Use a pillow to support the affected shoulder and avoid placing any weight on the affected area to minimize discomfort.
Worst – Sleeping on your side without any form of pillow support can worsen shoulder pain as it causes you to sleep on the affected shoulder, thus worsening the pain.
Low Back Pain
Best – For lower back pain, you should sleep on your back with pillows placed underneath your knees so as to minimize your back arching.
Worst – Sleeping on your stomach or on your back without any form of pillow support under your knee forces your spine to remain curved, thus worsening your pain.
Jaw Pain, Headaches and TMJ
Best – For Jaw pain, you should sleep with your arms at your side and use a TMJ-friendly pillow to support your head.
Worst – Sleeping on your back with your arms behind your head can be bad for your jaw pain as it puts your jaw in contact with the hard surface of your arms. Sleeping with your head on your arms can also worsen your headache as it constricts blood flow all over your brain. Sleeping on your back with your hands placed behind your head can also force your neck to bend unnaturally and worsen your headache.
Best – The best way to sleep if you have hip pain is on your side with a pillow placed between your knees so as to relieve the strain that may result in your hips due to your knees meeting each other while you’re asleep.
Worst – Sleeping on your back or stomach can worsen your hip pain as it offers no form of support for your hips as you sleep.