There are many positions that you can adopt during the day that might exacerbate any back pain that you already have, or bring on pain or aching that you don’t necessarily notice bothers you during the day. It’s quite common to experience pain in the back when lying down, especially if your spine is positioned in a certain way. This is usually caused by the change in position of your spine that occurs when you lie down flat on your back, and as a result you probably won’t normally notice any pain if you’re lying on your side when you’re relaxing in the evening or lying down to sleep.

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The Two Main Reasons for Back Discomfort

There are two main reasons why your back could normally hurt when lying down. Either you may notice a dull aching feeling in your spine, or a sharp pain in the lower back. The first of these reasons usually occurs if you’re generally not an active person or not based in a desk job where you may experience tighter hip flexors than that of someone who doesn’t spend a large portion of the day sat in a desk chair.  If you are experiencing a dull aching feeling, it would be most likely down to your back dropping into flexion, meaning that the lower back becomes more rounded inwards than it’s used to being during the day. When this happens, the curve in your lower back drops and applies pressure onto the discs in the spine and puts more pressure on your lower back than it’s perhaps used to. In order to avoid feeling this type of pain when lying on your back, you may find that there needs to be more support in your lower back. The same type of feeling can often affect the neck, as they have a similar natural curve. Likewise in this situation where you may find opting for an orthopaedic pillow may help to provide the support you may need in the neck, you may just need some extra support in the lower back to help ease the pain. The discs in your spine need to be in a neutral and relaxed position, rather than compressed.

Sharp Pain in the Lower Back

If you’re experiencing a more sharp pain in the lower back when you lie down, this can quite often occur when you have hyperextension in the lower back or an anterior pelvic tilt. In simple terms, a hyperextension in the lower back is where you have more curve in the lower back than is ideal – if you have this you may feel like you have a deeper curve in the lower back where your stomach is pushed slightly more forward. An anterior pelvic tilt may also cause hyperextension in the lower back to become more apparent, but with this kind of posture your pelvis will be tilted, angling more forward, meaning your bottom may appear more pronounced at the back. These two types of postural positions usually occur from having very tight hip-flexors from any hobbies you may have, or if you’re based in a desk job where having tight hip-flexors can naturally occur when you spend lengthy periods of the day sat down. If you have this type of posture, when you lie down your back is pulled into extension, so it’s forced into a flatter position. This will give you that sharp pain at the bottom of the lumbar spine as the joints are effectively being more squashed, and pushed into one another.

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Back Pain while Sleeping

Experiencing pain in the back while sleeping can be distracting at times and can make it difficult for you to either fall asleep, or remain asleep. For that reason, it’s important to find a position that not only supports your spine where you need it, while at the same time maintaining good posture. If you notice the pain is stopping you from sleeping at times, or you’re experiencing pain at other times of the day – perhaps at work – you may benefit from having some degree of spinal analysis done by a professional, as they can often give you a good insight into the position and measurements of your spine. At The Mayfair Clinic, our specialist range of orthopaedic tests and ability to measure the angles of the curves in your spine, means that we’re able to provide constructive advice on how to rehabilitate your spine so you’re not experiencing pain during the day, as well as during the evening when taking the time to relax and winding down to sleep. If your posture has been neglected over time, providing the right treatment in the necessary places can help to give you immediate relief, while a rehabilitation programme can help to strengthen your spine in the long-term.

Short-Term Relief From Back Pain

There are measures that can be taken in the short-term to improve your comfort while lying down. If you suffer from the dull, aching pain you may find that finding support for your lower back, such as propping a small pillow to support the lumbar spine, may be enough to subside the aching. If you’re suffering from the sharper pain that accompanies the tighter hip-flexors, you may find that propping your legs up with a pillow can help to ease the sharp pain by altering the position of your lower back. Ultimately you may find it more comfortable to lie on your side while sleeping or relaxing. If you’re used to sleeping on your back, but switch to sleeping on the side it’s  important to stay wary of your posture and how your neck is positioned so you don’t wake up with aching or tightness in the upper back and shoulders.

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Hopefully this guide has been helpful for you if you’re overcoming pain while resting in the evening or when sleeping. If you’re based in the London area and suffering from back pain, or you feel you may need more targeted advice as to how you can help improve the health of your spine, call our friendly and expert team today on 0203 947 3222 to book your first session – or alternatively you can email us at info@themayfairclinic.com.

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