The Painful Side of Sleeping on Your Stomach

The Painful Side of Sleeping on Your Stomach

Sleeping on your stomach is a position that often gets backlashed by therapists and the general public. However, if you’re a stomach sleeper and you wake up feeling well rested and without back or neck pain, then don’t hesitate to keep sleeping in this position. This post is mainly for those individuals that get lower back and neck pain from sleeping on their stomach.

Lower Back Pain

Discomfort and pain in your lower back are caused by laying on your stomach with your lower back in extension for prolonged periods. But, by placing a folded medium-sized pillow under your ribcage, you can put your pelvis in a neutral position (posterior pelvic tilt) and reduce the extension of your lower back (lumbar spine) as well as your discomfort and pain.

Neck Pain

Sleeping on your stomach also places one side of your neck in end-range/extreme rotation and causes loading and extra pressure on the joints in your neck (facet joints). By placing a folded medium-sized pillow under your chest (along the side your neck is turned towards), it stops your neck from turning towards end-range and reduces the load and extra pressure.

Try these supportive fixes for a week and see if they make a difference for you!

Making Your Own Cervical Pillow

Many of us, due to poor posture (anterior head carriage) have reversed the natural curve in our necks to some extent. This becomes a problem when we go to lay down and place our neck back in its normal curvature— often resulting in irritating the joints, muscles and tissues in our neck.

This is where a cervical pillow is helpful.

Cervical pillows are made to support the natural curve in your neck while sleeping. And before you go out and spend money on one, there is a trick you can try to see if a cervical pillow will work for you.

Start by grabbing your pillow and rolling up a medium-sized towel (along the long edge). Then, simply slide the towel into the open end of your pillowcase with your pillow already inside. The larger the pillow, the bigger the support. And just like that, you've made your cervical pillow. Try using it for a week or so and see if it makes a difference. If it does, then spending the money on an actual cervical supportive pillow might be beneficial.