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Why do I have back pain after sleeping on my stomach?

Sara Wilson, FNP
Nursing Specialist

In this video, Sara Wilson, NP, from West Valley Spine Center, explains how sleeping on your stomach can cause back pain. The strain and stress are caused by extending your spine further than normal.

Sleeping on your stomach can put some abnormal stress on your spine, and that can cause pain or some stiffness. Any time you experience some stiffness, try to gently stretch it out in the morning.

Dr. Gerald M. Silverman
Chiropractic Medicine Specialist

When there is no acute neck or back pain, you can sleep in almost any comfortable position. However, if you regularly go to sleep feeling fine and then wake up with pain or stiffness, you probably sleep on your stomach, and that habit has to be changed. When you are on your stomach, the lumbar spine is completely unsupported, and the neck is forced to turn to one side. This causes a prolonged strain on the spinal tendons and ligaments and leaves you feeling like you've just slept on a log instead of like a log. If you have a hard time breaking the stomach-sleeping habit, try lying on one side with the top leg slightly bent at the knee, and then place an extra-long, thick pillow under your chest. This will give you the same feeling as sleeping on your stomach, but most of the unsupported downward strain will now be taken away from the lower back. Some people have found that placing a small pillow under the top knee or between the knees also helps relieve lower back strain.

Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

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Your Miraculous Back: A Step-By-Step Guide to Relieving Neck & Back Pain

Many of us complain about our 'bad back,' but this book argues that our backs are, without exception, amazing examples of bioengineering, capable of dramatic feats of strength, flexibility, and...

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.