Back pain is a common condition that affects most people at some point in their lifetime, according to the NHS. It could be caused by sleeping in the wrong position, having bad posture, or even by having a minor injury. In most cases, back pain isn’t anything to worry about, and it’ll get better by itself within a few weeks or months. You could be raising your risk of lower back pain if you sleep in a certain position, it’s been revealed.
Sleeping on your front is “the worst position you can sleep in”, as it could lead to painful backache, warned Bupa.
Those suffering from back pain already should avoid sleeping on their front, as it could make the pain even worse.
The sleep position doesn’t provide any support for the spine, and it usually involves twisting the neck to breathe.
“Between the ages of 18 and 65, the recommended number of hours sleep is between seven and nine,” said Simba Sleep’s Mindful Sleep Psychologist, Hope Bastine.
She told Bupa: “And during those hours of deep sleep, many of us move around and change positions. Our bodies need these hours of sleep to rest and repair our bodies, ready for the new day.
“Unfortunately, [sleeping on your front] is the worst position you can sleep in, especially if you suffer from lower back pain.
“It doesn’t provide any support for your spine and most people twist their head to the side to breathe. Although this position is less likely to make you snore or suffer from sleep apnoea, it’s not recommended to sleep this way.
“It’s better to sleep in a position which supports the curvature of your spine, like on your back or your side.”
If you do have back pain, the best sleep position to avoid aggravating it is on your back, she added.
Sleeping on your back helps to balance the natural curvature of the spine and neck, added the sleep psychologist.
But, be warned. It’s also more likely to make you snore, or develop sleep apnoea.
One of the best ways to prevent back pain from returning is to do regular exercise, said the NHS.
Speak to a doctor or physiotherapist for advice on the best exercises and stretches to reduce backache.
People that are overweight are most at risk of developing back pain, and lower back pain is the most common type of backache in the UK.
You should see a GP or dial NHS 111 immediately if you have back pain, combined with a numbness or tingling around your genitals, chest pain, or loss of bladder or bowel control.
These symptoms could be a sign of something more serious, and need to be checked immediately.