The best sleeping position for back pain, neck pain, and sciatica - Tips from a physical therapist

what's up guys hey Jared Beck strand

here doctor of physical therapy tone

Italian calm coming at you today with

five of my favorite tips to help you to

get your best night's sleep ever

this one's gonna be especially relevant

for those of you who might be

experiencing back or neck pain let's get

to it right now all right you guys hey

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into this five of my favorite tips to

help you to the best night's sleep ever

as a doctor of physical therapy this is

a question that I get asked a lot is you

know what is the best sleep posture

what's the best sleep position how can I

wake up in the morning without my neck

or my back hurting so I wanted to share

some of those tips with you guys today

and so tip number one the best sleep

position for you is the one that you

find the most comfortable but then also

that holds your spine in as neutral a

position as possible now when I talk

about neutral spine here's my spine

model right here you've got three major

curves that were worried about it or

that we're worried about right now

you're looking at it a lateral view from

the side he's looking that way and so

you'll see that you've got one curve

here in your lower back

one curving kind of your middle back and

then this is your neck right here it

kind of curves back this way you'll see

that if I turn him around so he's

looking that way you're staring straight

at his back

we're nice and straight right here so

we've got curves this way but we're nice

and straight this way the best the best

sleep position the best sleep posture

for you is going to be whatever holds

your spine in this neutral spine

position so you'll see we need a little

support here we need a little support

here and we need something that's going

to keep it straight this way the other

thing that I'll mention is that we don't

want anything that rotates it in this

position either big for stomach sleepers

especially and so that's tip number one

whatever this is the most comfortable

and whatever can hold your spine in that

neutral position that's what I'm going

to recommend tip number two is to get


that correct sleeping posture you have

to have the right amount of support so

speaking specifically of your mattress

and your pillow in this case and so with

mattresses you're supposed to replace

your mattress every eight to ten years

if you haven't done so in the last

decade it might be time to look into

that mattresses do wear out they lose

their ability to support your body

especially you know the technology these

days behind mattresses has improved a

lot in the last 10 years and so you

might consider looking into that you

might consider getting a new mattress

and the other thing is your pillow you

want a pillow that again is going to

support that neutral spine position you

don't want it to be well depending on

your sleep posture whether you sleep on

your back or whether you sleep on your

stomach or whether you sleep on your

site you want a pillow that's going to

support your spine in that neutral

position and so I'm gonna run you

through a couple of those tips and

tricks today now let's get into my last

three tips have to deal specifically

with different sleeping postures and so

I'm gonna go get my wife she's gonna

demonstrate some of these for you while

I talk you through these remaining three

tips alright so once again I've brought

in my lovely assistant you guys know my

wife all too well if you've watched any

of my other YouTube videos you're such a

good sport you don't pay me enough it's

true okay so let's get into these

remaining three tips the first thing I'm

gonna have Camille do is lay down on her

stomach so we'll get some of these

pillows out of the way I know you're the

worst and so my tip for those of you who

lay on your stomach to sleep is stop

doing it immediately anatomically

speaking this is the worst posture this

is the worst position that you can sleep

in throughout the night Camille she'll

always fall asleep on her side but she

always wakes up on her stomach and it

hurts right now even and the reasons why

I hate this is because there's no way to

get into that neutral spine position on

your stomach first of all when we talk

about her her neck you have to breathe

believe it or not when you're asleep you

have to breathe so in order to do that

you've got to turn your neck either one

way or the other so you're sleeping all

night in this rotated position the other

thing that I hate about this is a lot of

times your stomach isn't very well

supported so it kind of sags into the

bed creating this

excessive Bo in your back if you wake up

with a tight or a pitched back and you

sleep on your stomach that's the reason

why finally the last thing I hate about

this is it puts a lot of pressure on

your internal organs weight on your

lungs affects breathing weight on your

guts affects digestion things like that

basically tip number three you guys

don't sleep on your stomach let's get

into a little bit better posture I'm

gonna have her roll over onto her right

side and let's talk about sleeping on

your side for a second again the goal is

to achieve as neutral a spine position

as you can let's look at the three areas

that are going to affect that so

specifically her neck hurt her back her

torso and then what's happening down

here at her hips

first of all with her neck let's say

that her pillow is too full I'm gonna

double that one up and you can see what

that does to her neck all of a sudden

her head is way too high and it creates

this crick in her neck conversely I

stole my daughter this is my youngest

daughter's pillow this is like the

flattest pillow you guys have ever seen

in your life if she's sleeping on a

pillow that's too flat you see that her

head is dropping down too far we've got

that crick in her neck again so the

right pillow for you is going to be the

one that again maintains your neck in

more of a neutral spine position now I

went got this one on purpose you guys

this one's actually my pillow it's one

that I found it's you can get it on

Amazon what I'll do is I'll leave the

link in the description to this video

too this pillow I actually love this

pillow just because you go ahead and

well are you comfortable asleep just

because this pillow is actually

customizable I can actually unzip it

right here it's got a liner on the

inside as well and it's actually filled

up with shredded memory foam and it came

with additional memory foam and so you

can actually put more stuffing into it

or take the stuffing out of it depending

on what your your posture needs are if

you've got a smaller frame then you

might need less stuffing if you've got a

bigger frame you might need more

stuffing and then depending on if you're

a side sleeper or a back sleeper same

thing applies you might need more or

less so the sole reason that I like this

pillow not sponsored or anything by it

by this company the sole reason I like


hello is because you can customize it

you can you can fill it up or you can

kind of flatten it out depending on your

needs and so when you're sleeping on

your side that's the first thing that

I'm worried about

the next thing I'm worried about is

right here a lot of times when you sleep

on your side again depending on the

support you get from your mattress your

your back your lower back can be

shrinking kind of falling down into the

mattress if you don't have that support

there so what you can do is I'm gonna

take my flattest pillow that I have and

I'm actually gonna kiss sneak that under

your side babe there you go just like


and all of a sudden now we have a little

more support again her shoulders and her

hips are a little wider and so if we

need more support but I said that

totally wrong shoulders and hips are

wider than her torso let's put it that

way and so if she needs a little more

support under her back that's how we're

gonna achieve it you can actually get

pillows that are designed specifically

for this purpose to be put under your

torso for side sleepers to maintain that

neutral position again check out the

link that I've got in the description to

this video for that

okay spot number three that we're

worried about is right down here a lot

of times when we sleep on our sides if

your knees are pressed together it puts

a lot of pressure on your knee joint but

then also this top leg as it falls down

towards the table pulls through the hip

and that in turn can pull through the

lower back and so a lot of times to

sleep on your side like this isn't very

comfortable and so what we do I should

have one more fill around here somewhere

what we're gonna do is get one more

pillow and put that one right between

her knees and so now between those three

things the proper support here the

proper support here and the proper

support here I've got her back in that

nice no totally neutral position so

those are some things that you can play

around with to kind of find what might

work for you it might be one of these

things it might be all three of these

things playing with it until you find

again that sweet spot for your specific

needs okay let's get rid of these two

and then I'm gonna have you roll over

onto your back okay okay when we talk

about sleeping on our back I mean

nothing changes with our objectives we

want to maintain

that neutral spine position and so

you'll see that with this pillow that

she's got this one's actually too full

and so she's got her neck kind of in

this forward flexed position because

there's too much stuffing in that pillow

conversely I'm going to give this teeny

tiny flat pillow again if we put that

one under her neck it's it's maybe a

little bit better position but the fact

that I don't like is that there's no

support directly under her neck she's

kind of in this extended position that's

gonna create this crick in her neck if

she stays there all night so what we

would need to do is probably something

kind of between this and that where her

neck is supported but it's in a neutral

position it's not pushed too far forward

and it's not falling too far backwards

and so again based on your unique

individual needs that's the first place

that I'll typically look when we talk

about you know back pain or neck pain

from sleeping on my back and the last

thing that I like to look at with this

is again what's going on in her lower

back right now she's in what we would

call an anterior pelvic tilt posture

just because her legs are out totally

flat your hip flexors you've got one

muscle in particular it's called your

psoas major it's a hip flexor that

attaches from the front of your hip to

the small of your back if that one's

tight and if your legs are extended out

straight what that's gonna do is rock

your hips forward creating a big space

here in your lower back now sleeping

like that all night long can be

uncomfortable can cause pain in your

lower back and so how we fix that is

we've got to unlock that so as and we do

that by her flexing her knees now just

her doing that again has alleviated that

pressure on her hip flexor taking the

tension out of her back now all of a

sudden her back is in this nice more

neutral position again we want there to

be a little bit of an arch there but not

a lot of arch there in order to support

that what I'll typically tell people is

grab one or two pillows kind of put

those right under your knees now as she

lays out flat that takes a lot of that

pressure again off of the hips and off

of the bad

when we combine that with the right

pillow those are the those are the

things that I look at when we recognize

recommendations for those of you who

might sleep on your back okay you guys

and so that's about it so those are all

the tips that I've got for you again we

talked about posture and position we

talked about the proper support with

pillows and with mattresses and then

gave you kind of some tips and advice

that you can hopefully use depending on

which posture you like to sleep in

hopefully it's not on your stomach we're

gonna get rid of that one but if you

sleep on your side or on your back these

are some things that are going to help

to alleviate the stress on your joints

alleviate the stress on your muscles

hopefully help you to get a better

night's sleep and then also not wake up

in as much pain in the morning and so if

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