Lots of guys prefer to sleep on their stomach. But this popular sleep position sometimes gets a bad rap. The good news: sleeping in what we call the “prone” position isn’t usually a problem for healthy adults. The bad news: it could well trigger discomfort in people who already suffer from chronic lower-back pain.
In some cases, sleeping on your stomach can cause the lumbar region of your spine to forcefully extend beyond its normal limits. This can strain the ligaments in the back of your spine, which could lead to – or worsen – back pain.
If your back hurts when you try to sleep, there are some things you can do to ease the pain without having to overhaul your sleeping style. If you’re a stomach sleeper, place a pillow beneath your belly. This will take some of the strain off your back and prevent pain from developing.
Sleep on your side? Draw your legs up towards your chest and place a pillow between your legs. This helps reduce strain, too.If you sleep on your back, place a small pillow or rolled towel under your knees. This will help your lower back maintain its natural curve.
If your back pain still keeps you up at night and interferes with your sleep quality or daytime function, talk to your doctor. He or she will need to examine you further and conduct some neurological testing and imaging to see what’s behind your pain, in order to develop a treatment plan.