Our Health Library information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Please be advised that this information is made available to assist our patients to learn more about their health. Our providers may not see and/or treat all topics found herein.

Sleeping With Back Pain

Picture of sleeping positions for people who have low back pain

Sleeping can be hard when your back aches. You toss and turn, and it hurts.

Try to sleep with your back in a neutral position-not arched a lot, but not flat either. This takes pressure off your spine. These two positions can help:

  • When sleeping on your side, place a pillow between your knees. Try to keep your top leg from falling over your bottom leg. You also can put a small, rolled-up towel under your waist.
  • When sleeping on your back, place a pillow under your knees. You also can put a small, rolled-up towel under the curve of your back.

Many people find that these positions work for them, but they may not work for you. Find the position that helps you the most.

If you have a very soft mattress, you may be more comfortable if you sleep on the floor.

To rise from bed:

  • Roll onto your side and bend both knees.
  • Drop your feet over the side of the bed as you push with both arms to sit up.
  • Scoot to the edge of the bed and position your feet under your buttocks.
  • Stand up, keeping your back in the neutral position.

Current as of: March 2, 2020

Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Adam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Joan Rigg, PT, OCS - Physical Therapy