The Best Sleeping Positions for Alleviating Low Back Pain

by Oct 23, 2023Health and Wellness, Posture and Ergonomics


Sleep is a vital part of our daily routine, allowing our bodies to rest and rejuvenate. However, for individuals with low back pain, finding a comfortable sleeping position can be a daunting task. The right sleep position can make a significant difference in reducing pain and promoting healing. In this article, we will explore some of the best sleeping positions that can help alleviate low back pain and improve your overall sleep quality.

The Back-Lying Position

Sleeping on your back can be a suitable choice for those suffering from low back pain, especially when done correctly. To maximize comfort and reduce strain, follow these guidelines:

  1. Supportive Pillow: Use a medium-firm pillow to support your neck and maintain proper alignment with your spine. Avoid using a high pillow that elevates your head too much, as it can strain your neck and lower back.
  2. Knee Support: Place a pillow under your knees to maintain the natural curve of your spine and reduce pressure on the lower back. This position helps to alleviate tension and distribute weight evenly.
  3. Mattress Selection: Opt for a medium-firm mattress that provides adequate support to your back and spine. A quality mattress can play a crucial role in minimizing low back pain.

The Side-Lying Position

Side sleeping is another recommended position for individuals with low back pain. When sleeping on your side, follow these tips for maximum comfort:

  1. Proper Pillow Selection: Choose a pillow that keeps your head and neck in line with your spine, avoiding excessive bending or twisting. A pillow that fills the space between your ear and shoulder is ideal.
  2. Pillow Support: Place a pillow between your knees to align your hips and reduce stress on your lower back. This position helps maintain a neutral spine alignment, preventing unnecessary strain.
  3. Mattress Consideration: A medium-firm mattress with enough cushioning to support your body contours is optimal for side sleepers. It helps keep your spine in a neutral position, minimizing discomfort.

The Fetal Position

For some individuals with low back pain, the fetal position can provide relief by elongating the spine and reducing pressure on the discs. Here are some tips for sleeping in the fetal position:

  1. Knee-to-Chest Alignment: Lie on your side and gently draw your knees toward your chest. Avoid tucking your chin too close to your chest to prevent strain on your neck.
  2. Pillow Support: Place a pillow between your knees to maintain proper alignment and reduce stress on your hips and lower back.
  3. Mattress Selection: Choose a medium-firm mattress that offers sufficient support while allowing your body to sink slightly for added comfort.

Additional Tips for a Better Night’s Sleep

  • Regular Exercise: Engage in low-impact exercises or stretches prescribed by a qualified physiotherapist from Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy to strengthen your core and alleviate low back pain.
  • Proper Routine and Environment: Establish a consistent sleep routine, limit caffeine intake, create a comfortable sleep environment, and avoid electronic devices before bedtime.
  • Consult a Physiotherapist: If you experience persistent low back pain, consult a trusted healthcare professional, such as Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy, to receive personalized advice and treatment options tailored to your specific needs.


Finding the right sleeping position is crucial for individuals with low back pain to minimize discomfort and promote healing. Whether you choose the back-lying, side-lying, or the fetal position, proper alignment and support are key. Remember to invest in a quality mattress, select supportive pillows, and consult with experts like Westcoast SCI Physiotherapy for professional guidance. By prioritizing proper sleep posture and incorporating healthy sleep habits, you can enhance your sleep quality and experience a significant reduction in low back pain.

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