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Got Back Pain When Sleeping? Here’s How to Fix It (In Pictures)

Back massage

How To Fix Back Pain When Sleeping

Why is it that kids (or people who don’t seem to have back problems) can sleep in the strangest, most bizarre positions, but never seem to have any pain?

How is that they can sleep in totally unnatural positions and still sleep just fine?

And why is it that even when I try to sleep in a perfect position, on a great bed, with tons of pillows,  I can’t sleep. What the heck is going on?

After many years of sleepless nights, I figured out the answer.

Table of Contents:

  1. The Proper Painless Position For Your Spine
  2. Proper Sleep Positions To Prevent Back Pain When Sleeping
  3. Which Position is the Best?
  4. Troubleshooting

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The Proper Painless Position For Your Spine

Alright, so you’re going to have to trust me on this next one – your spine wants to be perfectly aligned all day.

Standing, sitting, walking, sleeping – your spine really only has one optimal position, although it’s obviously built to accommodate flexibility and constant motion.

When you mess up that natural, optimal alignment for too long (like when you sit at work for 8 hours and get terrible lower back pain), pain results. Comprende?

Here’s your normal spine:

Illu_vertebral_column

Via Wikipedia

Normal posture

Here’s a common misalignment of the spine, where the shoulders are hunched and the head pokes out (computer caveman syndrome anyone?):

Kyphosis

And here’s another common spinal misalignment that is frequent in many of us who sit a lot. Tight hip muscles cause the lower back to overly arch:

lordosis

Via University of Maryland Medical Center

Lordosis

So what do any of these have to do with your sleep?

It’s important to know what proper spinal alignment is versus dysfunctional alignment – so that when you sleep you can quickly remind yourself how to get into a properly aligned position.

The real question is how to keep the natural position of the spine while sleeping.

Proper Sleep Positions To Prevent Back Pain When Sleeping

A. The Fetal Position

Problem #1: The lower back is overly arched

Back Pain When Sleeping - Fetal Position

Depending on how tight your hips are, if your legs are too straight, it will pull the lower back into an arched position. If your legs are too bent, tight hamstrings will pull the lower back into an overly-rounded position.

The key is to find the sweet spot in-between.

Problem #2: The back is overly rounded

Back Pain When Sleeping - Fetal Position

For many of us with tight hamstrings, tucking the legs up too close to the chest will result in an over-rounding of the lower back.

Problem #3: Shoulders are overly hunched and the head is bent down too much.

Back Pain When Sleeping - Fetal Position

For those of you with neck/upper back pain, it’s really important to pay attention to your shoulder and neck alignment.

Problem #4: Head is overly tilted back

Back Pain When Sleeping - Fetal Position

Proper Position When Sleeping On Your Side In Fetal Position

Proper Fetal Position

Proper Fetal Position Pillow

B. On The Back

Common Problems: Lower back is overly arched and in pain

Generally, the main problem that people have with back sleeping is that the lower back starts to ache.

Usually this can be because of tight hip muscles like the hip flexors & psoas. It’s pretty easy to figure out if they’re tight: Just bend your knees to a 90 degree angle – when your legs are pulled up, is there less pain and does your lower back feel less arched? If so, it’s probably tight hips.

The easy fix is to simply add a pillow beneath your knees, which will let the lower back settle a bit.

Laying on The Back

C. On The Stomach

Main Problem: Tight hips cause the lower back to overly arch

The problem here is very similar to the problem that people have with sleeping on their back – but in reverse.

Here, you want to put a pillow or flat towel under your stomach/groin to help push that lower back up into alignment a bit. Usually you can immediately feel the relief.

Laying on Stomach 1

Laying on Stomach 2

So Which Sleep Position is The Best If You Get Back Pain When Sleeping?

If you’re having problems with your back or neck, I highly suggest sleeping on your back.

There are a number of reasons for this: first – just from personal experience, sleeping on your back is generally the easiest way to aggravate the fewest number of things (well, except for snoring ;) ).

When you sleep on your side, you have to worry about your back alignment, neck alignment, your hips twisting, etc. When you sleep on your back there is less than can go wrong and fewer variables to experiment with to get comfortable.

Second, when you sleep on your back, you are naturally laying flat which is letting gravity re-align the body a bit. It’s offsetting the fact that you might have just been sitting in a caveman computer pose for 10 hours (here’s how to fix that back pain).

Also, if you have neck pain, I’ve found that back sleeping is also easier than side sleeping for some people. People with neck pain tend to have protruding necks (in my case – from staring at a computer screen for 10 hours a day). Usually when they go to sleep the neck continues protruding and stays in the poor alignment, reinforcing the pain.

It took me years of waking up to throbbing neck muscles and spasming trapezius muscles, with a crap night of sleep, to realize this.

FREE BONUS:  How to Stop Back Pain When Sleeping In the Next 7 Minutes

At the end of the day, deviation from your body’s natural alignment will cause pain in the long-run. The key is to maintain better alignment throughout the day, and while you’re sleeping.

If you’re at work, make sure to focus on sitting properly to prevent back pain.

If you’re in pain when you’re sleeping (or when you wake up), take the same precautions – for a few weeks, awkwardly force yourself to get into a more aligned position when you sleep.  Missed sleep sucks, and I’ve been there with the back pain. You just need to be patient and experiment.

I also have a free back pain E-course for you in the private insider’s list. Just click here (or click the image to the right) and it’ll bring you there.

– Alex

P.S. Stop by Facebook and add Modernhealthmonk

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89 comments… add one

  1. Thanks very much, I’ve just recently started waking up in the middle of the night with back pain and want to hit it on the head before it gets any worse. I’ve just recently read an article that a memory foam mattress will do the trick but have been reluctant to try it out, but looking at the positions on here hopefully it will support me in the way you’ve recommended.

    Reply
    1. Hi Beth!

      In my experience, changing mattresses was a short term fix. Have you ever noticed that people with “good backs” can sleep on anything? A wood floor, memory foam, an awkward couch – and they still sleep well. I’ve found the reverse to be true, too. For me, it doesn’t matter how optimal the conditions are, because we need to fix what’s going on with the body first.

      Try it out and keep me posted with how it goes!

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  2. Stumbled upon the article while trying to understand the late night back pain. I am the batman in day but soon as I lie down, it pains to even move or shift position. THis has been happening since last week.

    The doctor wants me to hold on for a while till he is assured that this is not any ordinary muscle issue. I can tell straight away I am facing something far serious.

    Will wait and see.

    Reply
    1. Hi Ashok,

      Where specifically does it hurt?

      Reply
  3. hey there Alex, I’ve read all your back pain posts and I’ll try my best to incorporate these advices in my life, but I have a question…what about scoliosis (my spine is bent in a S shape) these tricks should help me out for sure, but is there something else I should know?

    Thanks a lot

    Reply
    1. Hi Laurence,

      I would suggest checking with your doctor first, and avoiding anything that causes pain or discomfort.

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  4. Your sleep positions have been really helpful, but I can’t understand why I get severe lower stomach pain when lying on my back. Is it something to do with muscles pulling my stomach down? I have spondylosis (and also think,from your diagrams, that I might have I have an exagerated lumbar curve). My lower stomach only hurts when I sleep on my back. Any ideas would be really appreciated! Thanks

    Reply
    1. Hi Kate,

      Does it hurt when you do anything else or throughout the day?

      – Alex

      Reply
      1. Could just be gas. If I eat too close to bedtime (within 2-3 hours), that happens to me. Just lay on your left side for a bit to release the gas. Eating within three hours of bedtime increases the likelihood of digestive pain while sleeping on the back.

        Reply
  5. Hi Alex,
    Thank you for the sleeping tips. I have been getting lower back pain from sleeping for the last week. I have been on the same mattress for the past 5-7 years and its a pillow top.
    I had back pain a few years ago and added a comforter to the bed which seemed to fix the problem. I felt like my back was sinking in to the bed too much. Now the pain is back again and I’m not sure what to do. I mainly sleep on my sides but have found I am sleeping on my back a lot now. My lower back is really tight. What do you think?

    Matt

    Reply
    1. Hey Matt,

      I had similar issues with my back. I’ve noticed that a lot of people try to compensate for back pain by reverting back to sleeping on their back.

      When you sleep on your back it still hurts? Does it hurt your upper back and neck, or just lower back?

      If it’s just your lower back, do a quick experiment: Bend your knees and put your feet flat on your bed (while you’re laying down) – do you still feel back pain? If not, it could be that you have tight hip flexors and psoas muscles which make your back overly arched.

      Try putting a big pilow under your knees while you sleep and see if that fixes the pain a bit.

      – Alex

      Reply
  6. last night, at 3:00 in the morning i woke up and started feeling strong pains in my neck. I put some arbonne bio-nutria herbal muscle cream on my neck to ease the pain. that stuff pretty much did nothing. Throughout the day today i have kept a hot patch-thing on my neck to make it easier to move around. literally an hour ago i looked in the mirror and noticed something weird. my shoulderline is not exactly horizontal, and is slanted to the left. my head is tilted to the right, and everytime i try to tilt it into a somewhat proper position, it hurts like hell and goes back to the slant. HELP!

    Reply
    1. Hi,

      Chances are you simply slept wrong and now you’ve got a stiff neck from the muscle strain. Basically all you can do is take it easy for a few days, relax, and maybe massage some pain-relieving cream on your neck. Let me know how it goes!

      – Alex

      Reply
  7. Hi Alex,
    Am suffering from back pain since 1 year ,but its not consistent…When i tried yoga it gives me temporary releif. Now i get pain in every position if am in that position for a long time…and now i get lower back pain while sleeping sometmes uppre back pain as well….what i need to do ?

    Thanks,
    Sheetal

    Reply
    1. Hey Sheetal,

      First check out this article for back pain relief (it usually works right away): http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing-lower-back-pain/

      And then download this free guide I made (see bottom for back pain guide): http://modernhealthmonk.com/monks-courtyard-subscribed

      Try those out and let me know how it goes!

      Are you sitting throughout the day a lot?

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  8. Hi!
    i got this back pain since almost 2 weeks.. i get pain during the night after sleeping on the back. even changing positions is painful. though i get bit relief from changing position for little bit but still the pain will be there and it will radiate to my belly sides.
    The pain is actually where the shoulder plates end.

    Reply
    1. Hi Mirwais,

      So is it closer to your neck (top?) or is it bottom of the shoulder blade? Or closer to the inside?

      – Alex

      Reply
      1. It is at the bottom of the shoulder plates.

        Reply
  9. I have had upper back pain in the middle of night for 1 month plus and my sleep has been disrupted because the pain will wake me up after lying on bed for about 4 hours. I am not able to return to sleep because no position helps to alleviate the pain. It takes 2 – 3 hours of movement in the day and pain will be gone but it returns once I go to bed. The first attack came while sleeping in fetal position and a really numb right arm. Tried sleeping on the back but pain did not go away.

    Reply
    1. Hi Denise,

      Do your arms usually fall asleep when you’re sleeping? Usually that’s an indicator of poor upper back and shoulder alignment – check out this article to help get you started: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-pain-and-shoulder-pain-upper-crossed-syndrome/

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
      1. Arms don’t go asleep, only that pain will be there when i lay down anytime or sleep at night.

        Reply
  10. Sorry Alex i thought that reply was for me.

    Reply
  11. I sleep on my side and have had severe lower back pain at night for months. The pain woke me up after five hours almost every night. I found your website and used your suggestion to sleep with a pillow between my legs. I have been sleeping 7-8 hours every night ever since with little or no lower back pain. I can’t thank you enough for the great suggestion!

    Reply
    1. Ray,

      Awesome! I’m glad I could help :)

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  12. I just wanted to say THANK YOU! I purchased a cheap mattress and have been waking up on it with back pain for over a year now. I’ve been getting used to sleeping in that relaxed side position for the past week and my back pain is practically inexistent. I honestly thought it was just the crappy bed until now! Seriously can’t thank you enough for this information… It all makes sense now!! <3

    Reply
    1. Melissa, you are very welcome :) I’m glad it helped! Feel free to email me if you ever have any other questions.

      – Alex

      Reply
  13. Alex, I hear all this talk about lower and upper back pain. What about mid back pain?

    Reply
    1. Hi Meagan,

      Can you tell me specifically where the pain is? Is it mid shoulder blade?

      – Alex

      Reply
  14. Hi Alex,

    I have been having severe low back pain when I sleep. I’ve tried putting pillows under my knees when on my back and between my knees when on my sides. I can’t sleep on my left side because it hurts more so I sleep on my right but that doesn’t last long. I also do stretches before bed and after I wake up (knees to chest and alternating). But nothing has been helping. It’s been so bad that I’ve actually had to take Aleve before sleeping. It only helps a little bit but not much. I only get about 3-4 hours of sleep before the pain starts. I don’t know what to do.

    Reply
    1. Hi Sandy,

      Have you checked with a doc to make sure something more severe isn’t going on?

      Reply
      1. I have the same symptoms as Sandy with low back pain after about 2-3 hours of sleeping. It wakes me and is most painful when trying to move positions in bed. Pillows between my knees on the side and under my knees on my back do not help. I typically get up 2 or 3 times a night to do the back stretches my PT recommended. When I told my Chiropractor this is a night specific problem, he recommended I see an Orthopeadist, as this is a Red flag for something more serious. I’ve been seeing my Chiropractor for years due to spinal stenosis, herneated discs and such. I’ve been recommended for a spinal fusion, but want to do anything I can to avoid it, since my mother’s did not go well. What is night pain a red flag for?

        Reply
  15. Hi Alex – I have chronic spasming in my upper trapezius. I had surgery about 2 months ago on the top corner of my scapula, as we thought this may have been the issue. Now the upper trap is spasming more :(. I stumbled across your article here when I was trying to figure out if it was how I was sleeping that was causing all of this. I use one of those tempurpedic neck pillows…which may be artificially raising me up. Can you explain how my neck should be if I’m a back sleeper and trying to get this spasming to stop? You recommend a folded towel? Any idea how high this should be to get my head in alignment? Thanks!

    Reply
    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Was the trapezius bothering you before the surgery quite a bit?

      Reply
  16. Hi Alex,

    I have been having severe pain for the last three weeks in the middle part of my back. This pain occurs when I am sleeping at night and during the day it disappears. I am not sure what the cause of my pain is. I bought a new bed last year I do not feel that is the problem. I went to get a x-ray but they did not find any problems. I don’t know what to do any suggestions. I would greatly appreciate this thank you.

    Reply
    1. Hi Analese,

      Do you mean your upper back, between the shoulder blades?

      Reply
      1. Same problem here…the pain is T10, T11, T11
        excruciating while sleeping…sleeping on back for 4hours and then waking up to unbelievable pain. Try curling up, laying on sides nothing helps. I can run 20 miles with no pain bit at night its excrutiating.

        Reply
  17. Hi Alex – For the last 3 months, I have been having lower back pain, while turning sides. I have to be extremely careful while turning sides during night. This disturbs my sleep constantly. Moreover when I wake up, it pains to sit straight on the bed and getting up from the bed, to a standing position. The back is stiff and my walking posture is odd. But within one hour of getting up from bed, the pain disappears and back gets stronger as day passes. I have referred to neuro, Ortho and also have been to massage for a week. They feel muscles are week. Situation has improved but not OK. I have been asked to sleep on hard bed, which makes my turning easier. Soft beds make my turning difficult as resistance to turning is high. Do you have any suggestion

    Reply
    1. Hi Sunil,

      What position do you usually sleep in?

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  18. Hi,
    I have been having upper back pain (in between shoulders) only after 5-6 hours sleep , it is very deep and sharp and makes it difficult to breath in deeply. Lying on front, impossible, side very painful and back only just bearable. I have to get up and walk around for 10 or so minutes for it to subside. Sick of waking at 3:00am to start my day can you help at all.
    I have been seeing a Chiropractor twice a week for 4 weeks and not much change at all.
    Regards
    Charmaine

    Reply
    1. Hi Charmaine, start with this article: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-and-shoulder-pain

      and this article: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-pain-and-shoulder-pain-upper-crossed-syndrome/

      Do those and I guarantee it’ll be gone quickly.

      Best,
      Alex

      Reply
  19. Loved this article! I hate nights because I’m constantly waking up in pain and not able to get back to sleep. I have other health issues but my back, neck, and hips are a real pain for me. I’m laying in bed as I write (on my side, lol). I’m going to have to try changing to back sleeping but I hate the thought of it. I’ve always been a side or belly sleeper and can’t sleep well otherwise. Another question about sleeping… What is the best kind of pillow? I have awful neck pains that lead to migraines.

    Reply
    1. Hi Shy’rell,

      Personally, I have to mostly sleep no my back due to my back and neck pain. I hate back sleeping too but it’s one of the best ways to keep the body properly aligned.

      Regarding pillows – honestly it doesn’t matter as long as your body is properly aligned. That will depend on your body size/shape/curves, etc. So you need to experiment with those.

      Reply
  20. Hi,

    I am a 28 year old male and about a month ago I had severe back pain right in the middle of my back which built up throughout the night until it was unbearable by the morning time.

    Various sleeping positions and back stretches did not work. Light exercise the day before helped a little.

    However hanging from a bar, arms straight, feet off the floor, for about 30 seconds a day, every day for a week, fixed the problem. (I also did some chin ups while I was at it, but I don’t think this fixed my back).

    No more back ache for me. Just thought I’d share the tip.

    Cheers,
    Rob

    Reply
    1. Hey Rob,

      Awesome, thanks for sharing! I will definitely pass this along. Sounds like your spine just needed to decompress and stretch out a bit eh?

      Reply
  21. Hi Alex, Great article. I was wondering if you could help me out. I wake up most mornings with a slight headache( trapped nerve feeling) and its due to the fact that when I am asleep I am tilting my head right back as far as it will go and sleeping like that ( I wake up in that position) which in turn makes my neck stiff in the morning as well as the headache etc. I mostly sleep on my side with my underneath arm stretched out, my knees are bent although my top leg falls forward. I set off to sleep purposely tilting my chin down but I cant control my neck while I’m asleep. I also try to sleep on my back but always wake up on my side. I was thinking maybe a neck brace would help but not sure if that’s wise. Any info or suggestions would be greatly received. Thanks
    Deb

    Reply
    1. Hi Deborah,

      I would follow through with this protocol I put together here for neck and shoulder pain – if you have neck alignment issues, that slight headache issue is REALLY common. I had it for years. Read the article here: http://modernhealthmonk.com/neck-and-shoulder-pain

      Reply
  22. HI

    Reply
  23. Love this! Sharing on my FB as well – After battling the worst neck/upper back pain the past couple of months, I decided to take to the internet for suggestions on sleeping positions. This is perfect – Love the pictures and the additional information.

    Thanks!!

    Reply
    1. Cheers Callie :) Let me know how it goes!

      Reply
  24. I sleep in my bed and get back pain every night, the pain is in the lower back and sometimes the middle (not between shoulder blades, just middle of back) but the pain is mostly in the lower, bought new beds and still get pain, if I sleep on the couch in a reclined position I wake up fine, any suggestions so I can start sleeping in my bed again.

    Reply
    1. Hi Denis,

      Start with this article: http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing-lower-back-pain/

      Reply
  25. Hi I have arthritis in my neck is there a good pillow u could recommend or sleep position 1 pillow or 2 pillow or flat have tried them all ?

    Reply
    1. Hi Kaz,

      Honestly, I’ve tried many different pillows and they didn’t make much of a difference for me – I was still in pain. I had to fix the underlying cause first.

      Reply
  26. Hi there,

    I “must” sleep on my back due to having subluxated shoulders–and have done so for 20 years. I sleep on a firm latex mattress and use a thin latex pillow. I’ve experienced upper back pain while sleeping for the last few months. I wake up and my upper back is super tight right in the spine. I can’t figure out why. I do mild stretching prior to sleep which allows me so sleep for a few hours…

    Cheers :)

    Reply
  27. Alexander,
    I sleep on my sides and have lower back pain in the middle of the night.
    I sleep on a Tempur-Pedic mattress now, but it feels too soft and soggy for good back support. Is there a brand or kind of mattress you recommend?
    Thanks,
    Ray

    Reply
    1. Hi Ray,

      I’ve found the same as you – beds that were too soft made my back pain worse. Personally – What I would suggest is putting pillows under your hips to level them out.

      So if you sleep on your back, put them under your knees or a thin one under your lower back. If you sleep on your side, ensure that there isn’t an exaggerated arch in your lower back.

      Reply
  28. Very nice guide and information provided here. I have never had a back issue in my life, except when people have me pop their backs for them and they talk me into how good it will feel if I let them try it on me. I never feel relief from it, just pain briefly.

    The past 4 days though I have had some rather strong upper back pain. I was sleeping on a couch with no pain, then I moved onto my buddy’s futon mattress with a memory foam topper he has on the floor. First two days of sleeping on the mattress I was perfectly fine, and honestly thought I would be getting a better sleep. Day 3 I noticed a little pain, day 4, a lot of pain. I then went back to sleeping on the couch and the pain was much lighter after waking up the next day, but now today which is my 4th day of pain, sleeping on the couch did not stop the pain from returning and it is bad.

    All pain is in my upper back, the pain is not continuous, it is really strong brief pains when I move from one position to another. leaning forward, leaning back, stretching my arms back or forward, twisting my upper body.

    I have no idea what the issue is. Also, when I was sleeping on the couch I would move around a lot to stay comfortable, and I was sleeping on the couch for a month without issue before I tried out the other mattress. When I moved to the mattress I was able to sleep comfortably on my back, so that makes it even more confusing…

    Reply
    1. Hey Aaron,

      Is it only when you sleep?

      Reply
  29. Hey Alex, i am a high school student, and tend to sleep late at night after a long day of work and study. Through out the whole day i am filled with energy, but when it gets to the night i have to constantly wake up because of the upper and lower back pain and neck pain. I have tried almost everything and i don’t know what is the problem!!! Please help

    Reply
    1. Hi Nicole,

      Does this only happen when you’re sleeping?

      Reply
  30. I have been having really bad upper back ache in between the shoulder blades 4 – 5 hours after I go to sleep. I tried changing beds but it didnt help..the pain is getting worse now..its all good during the day and the pain only comes back when I go to sleep..it feels like its my spinal chord thats hurting so bad…any suggestions. .thank you

    Reply
  31. Alex, just stumbled across your article because I had some time to kill an was wondering about my issue. If sleep on my couch (semi regularly), I’m usually in what most people describe as awkward positions: arms hanging off the couch, on leg up on the arm, the other at its base or under my other leg, etc. However, I usually wake up feeling pretty good.

    If I sleep on my bed, I always wake up with a stiff lower back. The bed is initially so much more comfortable, but in the morning it’s a whole other story. I’ve got a history of back problems, and yes, if I bend my knees, the discomfort is alleviated. I’ll try the pillow/blanket suggestion, but it’s hard to get comfortable enough to fall asleep normally (I usually roll over quite a bit while falling asleep).

    Do you have any suggestions on how to get used to these methods?

    PS: Hopefully you’re still checking this…most of the comments are at least a year old, haha.

    Reply
    1. Hi Ollie,

      This sounds odd: but why not try whatever position you’ve used on the couch, but while on your bed? Does it bother you the rest of the day, e.g. while you’re sitting?

      Reply
      1. That’s the odd thing. I usually sleep on my back and sides, rolling over during the course of the night. I tried what you suggested with the pillows under/between the legs, and that helps a bit. But I move around so much that the pillows often get tossed about as well, moving them from their position(s).

        Reply
        1. I should add that, no, my back doesn’t bother me when I’m sitting down.

          The issue isn’t so much back *pain* as it is back *tightness* or *stiffness*. My lower left back (right about the glutes) feels like it needs to “pop” as your knuckles or elbows when gas builds up. Almost as if someone were to pull on my left leg, that pressure would be released and all would be well…

          Reply
          1. Ollie,

            Sounds a lot like the gluteus medius point. Check that out in this article: http://modernhealthmonk.com/fixing-lower-back-pain

          2. Wow. Thanks for that. That seems like what it may be (trigger point).

            Another note, is that when I wake up with this stiffness/discomfort, it distorts the way I walk, to the point where I feel like my left hip juts way out to the side each step (to compensate).

            Watching the videos and such to see what I can glean from them. Thanks again!

  32. Hi Alex
    From last 2 months I have been facing shifting back ache while sleeping. The moment I get up in the morning I take some time to walk straight but after a while I m fine and back ache goes off n then at night the same cycle repeats itself. I recently got my vitamin D checked n the score is 4.5 does that have any relation to my back ache. I will try to follow the postures recommended by u. Meanwhile pls suggest do I need to see a doctor.

    Reply
    1. Hi Tina,

      If it’s serious, I would see your doctor. If not, take a week or two and experiment with my suggestions here and tell me how your back is doing.

      – Alex

      Reply
  33. Hi Alex,

    I’ve been waking up with back pain since almost 3 months now. I have been diagnosed with severe iron and vitamin D deficiency. I found out about those when I started waking up with leg pains, but those have gone now that I’m taking supplements. The back pain is a new development.

    I generally sleep on my stomach with one knee bent. I generally toss and turn all night. I’m not happy with my pillows but I can’t find that perfect pillow!

    I used to be a yoga enthusiast but stopped a year and a half ago. I’m thinking of starting again. Would you recommend the exercise considering my deficiencies and back pain issues.

    Reply
    1. Hi Sherry – where is the pain when you wake up?

      P.S. I would definitely suggest getting into yoga again!

      Reply
  34. Hi,
    So your saying that my new mattress that I just spent 1000 dollars for is not the problem? I seem to sleep differently on different beds, softer (more give) seems to be best for me as I switch positions often. After 2 nights on this new mattress I wake up with tight muscles between my shoulders lower back and it basically feels like my guts (lack of a better word) are sore. Your article makes sense, but why more discomfort with this new bed. Its a Perfect Sleeper Aldercroft Urotop, which feels good at first but may be a tiny bit firmer than maybe I need…but your saying it shouldn’t matter. Should I return the Mattress?

    Thanks, I’m getting desperate for a good night sleep.

    Reply
    1. Hi Michele,

      For me, I did the same thing. Spent $1200 on a brand new mattress that was soft and fluffy… and slept worse than ever. It’s impossible for me to say yes or no.

      If your shoulders are hurting, chances are your mattress is a bit soft, so your lower back is sagging. Try placing a pillow under your lower back while you sleep to keep the body straight.

      Reply
  35. Hello there Alex,

    I’ve been having the same problem for years now. It started when I was around 13-14, but the pain was tolerable back then. I’m 19 now and the back pains I get are so severe now that I can’t even sleep anymore. I fall asleep for around 30 min to an hour, then I’m rudely waken up by my sharp back pain. It used to just ache in my lower back, but now it has also reached my legs. I’m having a hard time bending my knees now because of it. I’m going to have it checked soon because I can’t handle the pain anymore – but thank you though, because your tips on sleeping positions helped a bit. It eased my pain for about 10 percent. :)

    Reply
    1. Hi Nastassia,

      So it’s almost a sciatic type pain that goes down your legs too?

      Reply
  36. As soon as my wife sleep on the bed straight for few minutes, she realize that at times, she cant able to move his right leg and the tension prevails and she want to move and sleep in side but she cant, in that I help her to move for side sleep but at the time of turning she weeps with the pain she get on waist.

    After some time the leg start functioning slowly.

    She under went surgery for Kidney stone some 12 year back.

    Reply
  37. Hello Alexander.
    I have been suffering from low back pain for 5 years now. I have had to sleep in a recliner for the past 3 years due to severe pain while sleeping. It came on suddenly and without injury. I will get intermittent periods lasting a couple months at a time when it flares up in the day with movement such as bending or climbing stairs but has been constant upon lying down for 5 years now. The pain is so severe it is almost impossible to get up after lying for one hour for my massage therapy. I have had x-rays with just some minor narrowing of the disk space they say age related (40) but nothing that can explain this severe of pain.
    I will try to move from my recliner back into bed with your suggestions. I hope it works! If you have other suggestions you think may help I would appreciate it.
    Thank you .
    Alina

    Reply
  38. Hi,
    I wake up in the middle of the night with middle /high back pain to the point I have to sleep sitting up the pain disappears after I get up and walk around for 5 minutes but as soon as I lay back down the pain is back I’ve tried every position and none seem to work any ideas

    Reply
    1. Hi Richard,

      Is it in between your shoulder blades?

      Reply
  39. Hi Alex,
    I found it useful. I am a software engineer and it first start on my upper back in between sholder and I can’t get gid of it. When I start some excersises from YouTube the pain also start in my lower back and it more painful then upper back. The exact point the last disk in lower back.
    This pain appear even when try to stand straight or even when I try to bent forward by let my hand touch ground. :( I am to worry can I become a normal again?

    Reply
    1. Hi Arslan – it’s impossible to me to really suggest anything without knowing more about your situation.

      Reply
  40. Great advice! Your analysis fits my case exactly!

    Reply
  41. i have pain in my right part of the neck and its going to my hand and right leg and after sleeping its become worse so kindly guide me what to do .

    Reply
  42. i have pain in my right part of the neck , shoulder , lower back .
    i am facing this problem past 1 year kindly guide me what to do .
    due to my profession i have to sit 8 to 10 hours on laptop .

    Reply
  43. I can only sleep on my side, but had terrible knee and back pain. I tried a pillow between my knees, but the big one woke me up when I tried to turn over, and I lost the small pillow when I turned over.
    So, I developed Sleepy Kneez, an ultra comfortable knee pillow that stays put all night, and doesn’t negatively impact the knee cap. Now, I sleep like a baby!

    Reply
  44. Hi! I’ve been sleeping with a pillow under my knees (I’m a back sleeper) because I know it’s supposed to be better sleep posture, however I notice I’m getting mid back pain because of it. I wake up stiff and sore in my back and as soon as I get out of bed and stretch a bit, it’s fine. Is it possible I don’t need a pillow under my knees or is it that my back is just getting used to the correct alignment? Thanks a bunch! :)

    Reply
  45. I’m a side sleeper and commonly find I’m laying on my arm (extended above my head) underneath my pillow. Lots of pain when I do this on the left side, not much issue when on the right side.

    Been trying to sleep on my back for the past week and am encouraged. Would the arm under the pillow exacerbate the condition?

    Reply
    1. Hi Steve –

      Does your lower back or upper back tend to hurt more?

      Reply
      1. Lower back. Left side specifically. When I sleep in that position on the right side (arm under pillow), no real back pain.

        Reply

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