Back pain: Best sleeping positions to prevent a painful spine

Sleep is vital to maintaining good health, but not at the detriment of our backs, said the Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP).

Sleeping in awkward positions could put immense strain on the neck or back, resulting in pain when waking up.

Avoid sleeping on your stomach, the society advised. If it’s your default position, try sleeping without a pillow under your head, or put one under your lower abdomen, it added.

Back sleepers should put a pillow beneath their knees, to maintain the natural curvature of the lower back, it said.

The CSP’s spokesperson, and UPRIGHT GO expert, Sammy Margo, said: “Sleep is an important contributor to good health so it’s vital to get a good night’s rest.

“A mattress that’s more than eight years old will have deteriorated by 75 per cent and may cause you to have bad posture while you sleep, so if that’s the case I’d consider investing in a new one.

“If you sleep on your side, draw your legs up slightly toward your chest and place a pillow between your legs.

“Ensure that your neck is supported in the midline position.”

Back pain could be caused by everyday activities. We may not realise that some things are damaging our posture, including carrying a heavy handbag, or sitting in the car for too long, said Margo.

Another reason for bad back pain could be caused by slouching over a computer screen.

Leaning forward by just 30 degrees to get closer to the screen puts three to four times more pressure on the back, Margo added.

The body gets 30 per cent less oxygen when slouching, too.

It’s not always possible to identify what’s causing back pain, but altering your positioning could help to reduce pain.

In very rare cases, there may be something more serious or underlying that requires medical advice.

Contact a doctor if you find it difficult to pass urine, or have impaired sexual function, while also suffering from back pain.

Numbness or tingling in your genitals, loss of bladder control, or loss of power in the legs are also signs you should contact a GP, the CSP said.