3 Sleep Positions That Will Fight Morning Pain and Stiffness

Are you woken up every day by morning pain and stiffness? While these symptoms may be annoying or uncomfortable, don’t fret. It’s likely nothing serious.

Typically, morning back pain is a result of low-grade inflammation, which gets worse with age and is noticeably worse at the start of the day. The most underestimated culprit of early morning pain and stiffness is strain due to awkward sleeping positions or using the wrong pillow, and the back is one of the most vulnerable areas for this this type of irritation.

If your pillow is too high or stiff, your neck will remain flexed overnight, which can lead to morning pain and stiffness. Here are the best sleeping positions to help you minimize morning pain and discomfort:

If you have early morning neck/back pain, try to sleep on your side or your back.


Back Sleepers

When sleeping on your back, use a rounded pillow under your neck to support its natural curve, and a flatter pillow to cushion your head. An easy way to achieve this is to tuck a neck roll into the bottom of a flat pillow. To maintain the natural “S” curve of your spine, use pillows to support your lower back and knees.

image of patient sleeping on back incorrectly example of patient sleeping on back correctly




Side Sleepers

When sleeping on your side, avoid using pillows that are too high or too low. Keep your spine straight by using a pillow that is higher under your neck than under your head. This is one of the healthiest sleeping positions for your back because it allows you to maintain the natural “S” shape of your spine. However, Gravity can pull your lower back down and using a pillow that is too high will put strain on your neck. To support the natural curvature of your spine, you may also want to consider using a pillow to support your lower back and knees.

example of patient sleeping on side incorrectly example of patient sleeping on side correctly




Stomach Sleepers

Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach. This position is tough on your spine because it arches your back and turns your neck to the side. It may be hard to control how you toss and turn throughout your sleep in the night, but it is worth trying to fall asleep in a healthy position, as this posture is notorious for causing lower back pain and muscle strain. If you absolutely cannot fall asleep in another position, try using a pillow under the hips/pelvic area to raise your lower back and support your lumbar curve.

 example of patient sleeping on stomach incorrectly example of patient sleeping on stomach correctly



If your symptoms continue to persist or worsen, you may want to consider consulting a physical therapist. You cam learn more about the conditions we treat here.



*As a reminder, always discuss any questions or concerns with your physician regarding your own health and dietary needs, as the information written should not replace any medical advice.