Stomach sleeping is one habit that may be causing more harm than you realize. Many people who suffer from chronic neck and back pain don’t know the cause of their pain. It’s not uncommon to hear people blame stress, their job, or a number of other causes. However, many people don’t think about their sleeping position as a cause of their chronic pain.
People spend roughly one third of their lives sleeping. Many people prefer to sleep on their stomachs. However, this sleeping position can actually cause back and neck pain and injury. A Family Chiropractic Clinic helps many patients who suffer from chronic neck and back pain. We are very familiar with the injuries and conditions that often result from this sleeping habit. However, we can also help you get rid of your chronic pain and enjoy your life again.
Why is Stomach Sleeping Bad?
Stomach sleeping is bad for your spine mainly due to the position your body is in. When your head is turned to one side or the other the weight of your body puts pressure on your neck. This causes compression of muscles, ligaments, joints, tendons, nerves, and spinal discs. Over time, this can lead to a more rapid degeneration of your spinal discs and joints. Lifelong stomach sleeping actually results in some of the most severe cases of degenerative disc disease.
The majority of our body weight is in the middle of our body. This creates a problem when stomach sleeping because your spine is not maintaining a neutral position. The stress placed on your spine in this position also increases stress in other areas of your body. Spinal stress can also result in pain in other areas. This is primarily due to the nerve compression that occurs in this position. You may be experiencing headaches or pain, tingling, or numbness in other parts of your body. This is why many people don’t change their sleeping habits. They may not realize that arm pain or lower back pain is due to stomach sleeping.
Sleeping on your stomach also puts your spine out of alignment. The twisted position may not cause pain after a short stretch of stomach sleeping, but if the habit is ongoing then chronic neck problems may develop. These problems can include herniated or ruptured discs which can cause substantial pain and suffering.
Stomach Sleeping Tips
The best thing you can do is avoid sleeping on your stomach all together. It’s much safer on your spine if you sleep on your back instead. While sleeping on your back use one pillow to support your head and neck. You can also use a second optional pillow under your knees. If you aren’t comfortable on your back, or if you suffer from sleep apnea, then the next best sleeping position is on your side. Use a pillow that adequately supports your head and neck in a neutral position while on your side.
If you’re an avid stomach sleeper and can’t get a good night’s rest any other way then there are tips you can follow to limit the damage caused. It is best to use no pillow at all while stomach sleeping. This keeps your neck and spine in a slightly more neutral position. If you must use a pillow then choose one that is as flat as possible to minimize the angle of your head and neck. You can also take pressure off of your spine by placing a pillow under your pelvis. This creates a more natural position for your spine throughout the night.
When you wake up in the morning, stretch your body to help move your body back into alignment. Stretching will also help strengthen support muscles. Your stretching should be gentle. A few minutes of stretches as advised by your chiropractor will help your back remain strong.
Treating Problems Caused by Stomach Sleeping
If you already suffer from the chronic pain associated with stomach sleeping then there are things you can do to reduce pain. Speak with your chiropractor about your symptoms. They can help diagnose the cause of your chronic neck and back pain. Chiropractic adjustments can also help realign the spine.
Many chiropractors also work with a physical therapist. Your chiropractor or physical therapist may recommend exercises to help strengthen your back and surrounding muscles. Strengthening these key support muscle groups helps enable your spine to better support your body.
You don’t have to live with chronic back and neck pain. Your chiropractor wants to help reduce your pain and improve the health of your spine. Regular chiropractic appointments along with lifestyle changes can help you be rid of your chronic pain once and for all.