Lower back pain keeping you up at night?

Lower back pain is the most common musculoskeletal complaint with around 80% of adults experiencing it in their lifetime (National Institutes of Health, 2017). Unsurprisingly, this has shown to crossover to people’s working lives with lower back pain being the predominant cause of sick days taken in the UK (National Institutes of Health, 2017).

In addition to this, disruption to a person’s sleeping pattern is often reported in relation to the pain they experience. Pain can then be further exacerbated with awkward sleeping postures, if this was not the cause in the first place (Gill, 2018). Maintaining the natural curvature of the spine is the standard advice, however many people are not comfortable sleeping flat on their back, the suggested better way to maintain that curvature. Below are some options to try should this apply to you:

  1. Sleeping on either side with your knees slightly bent and a pillow between your legs
  2. Sleeping on your front with a pillow under your stomach
    *Note – try sleeping with your forehead propped up so you can be face down – this avoids the head being turned and causing that ‘crick’ in the neck
  3. Sleeping in a reclined position, whether a tailor made bed is used or the propping up of pillows
  4. Sleeping in the faetal position, ie. on your side with the knees brought up into the chest
  5. Sleeping on your back with a pillow under the knees

(Gill, 2018)

The above positions help to maintain the natural curvature of the spine and relieve pressure from structures that may become compressed through work stresses or poor posture throughout the day.


Gill, S. (2018). How should you sleep if you have lower back pain? [online]. Available from: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/320870.php [Accessed 11th April 2018].

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, National Institutes of Health (2017). Low Back Pain Fact Sheet. [online]. Available from: https://www.ninds.nih.gov/Disorders/Patient-Caregiver-Education/Fact-Sheets/Low-Back-Pain-Fact-Sheet [Accessed 11th April 2018].

Leave a comment