If you lie on your side at night, back pain can result from a misalignment of the pelvis. When your knees are together, the topmost hip is subjected to a tug from the knee, which is positioned lower than the hip. This tug is felt by the lower back as well. Simply place a pillow between your knees to level out your hips and, voila! – pelvic alignment = spinal alignment.
On Your Back
When you lie on your back with your legs flat against the mattress, the pelvis is pulled downward in front; this causes the lumbar arch to increase (hyperlordosis) and the muscles to shorten. Placing a pillow underneath your knees will encourage a more neutral pelvis, which in turn promotes a natural lumbar arch.
On Your Stomach
Don’t do it! When you lie on your stomach, the lower back is unsupported and will sink into the bed resulting in hyperlordosis and shortened muscles. Also, most people turn their heads to one side or the other when lying on their stomachs; this can result in significant neck tension. To prevent back pain, side-lying or lying on your back are superior sleep positions.
In the Morning: Stretch!
Aside from sleeping in a position that encourages back alignment, you can alleviate nagging morning back pain by starting your day off with gentle stretching. The cat cow stretch is an excellent choice for getting the blood flowing in the lower and upper back. To perform this stretch, get on all fours. On an inhale, arch your spine down toward the ground and raise up your head. On the exhale, slowly flex your spine up toward the ceiling.
You can see a video of this stretch at www.youtube.com.
Preventing back pain during the night and into the morning may require adjusting your sleep position. Using a pillow between or under your legs and waking up with a stretch may be enough to relieve back pain.