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Is Your Back Screaming for a New Sleep Position?

By Donna Kostiew

Many people tend to think of pain and injuries as isolated events: colliding with another athlete during the game is the source of your neck pain, working out too hard at the gym equals lower back pain, and those extra laps in the pool? Well of course they are to blame for your sore shoulder. But the pain in your body is often the result of constant stress placed on certain areas. One of the biggest contributors to pain is the position that you sleep in.

Most people think sleep is the time that their body recovers and heals itself, and for the most part, they are accurate. But if you are sleeping in a position that isn’t optimal, and without realizing it, you may be creating a situation that involves long-lasting pain.

One-third of Our Lives are Spent in Bed

That’s a lot of time if it is spent in a way that contributes to back and neck pain. Holding your arm underneath your pillow or hanging your leg over the side of the bed are some examples of poor sleeping positions that stress and strain your spine. So how should you sleep? Let’s look at some of the different positions people sleep in.

Stomach sleeping – This is one of the worst positions to sleep in and you need to do all that you can to try to break the habit. This position hyperextends your lower back and causes your neck to be rotated throughout the night. It also puts pressure on joints and muscles which can irritate your nerves.

Fetal Position sleeping – Sleeping in this position isn’t a great idea because it can aggravate an arthritic back and joints. Try to break this habit as well by straightening out a bit.

Side sleeping – Although nerve compression and muscle tightness in your shoulders and neck are two possible issues associated with side sleeping, this position typically helps to keep your spine in a relatively neutral position and is okay to use, especially if you have a good mattress.

Back sleeping - Sleeping on your back is one of the most beneficial sleep positions to use. You’re not forcing your back to curve unnaturally since it keeps your head, neck, and spine aligned.

Most neck and back pain is caused by poor sleeping habits. If you are waking up to pain in the morning, it may be time to consider how you are sleeping at night. I would encourage you to also see your chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic as well. Your chiropractor will help you with adjustments that target the cause of your pain and can offer many tips on sleep positions and how to get the rest you need. All you have to do is ask!

To learn more about your health, wellness, and fitness, see your local chiropractor at The Joint Chiropractic in Temecula, Calif.

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