According to a study by Global Burden of Disease, lower back pain is the leading cause of disability across the globe.
In this article, you’ll learn more about the best pillow for lower back pain while sleeping.
Lower Back Pain - Explained!
Most commonly, lower back pain results from incorrect sitting posture or using the wrong mattress type. In rare instances, lower back pain may be related to a serious medical condition.
Short term lower back pain occurs mainly because of muscle strain: because of repeatedly experiencing stress, the muscles and ligaments in the lower back may get strained.
Chronic Lower Back Pain may have the Following Causes
- Herniated disc: the disc breaks through its outer covering, irritating nerve roots, irritation that leads to pain.
- Degenerative disc disease: as people age, the discs wear down and fail to absorb pressure as effectively. This can eventually lead to stenosis and spine collapse.
- Osteoarthritis: wear and tear to the joints and discs can cause instability, inflammation, and pain. It’s usually associated with aging.
- Trauma: any fracture from accidents or falls can lead to lower back pain.
Note: If your back pain is too severe, radiates to other parts of the body, and/or accompanies other symptoms such as fever, then you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
Lower Back Pain Pillow
Now let's look at possible solutions for lower back pain. Let’s start off with your pillow and mattress.
To relieve lower back pain:
- Back sleepers: place a pillow below your knees to reduce the pressure on your lower back.
- Side sleepers: place a pillow between your knees to prevent the rotation of the spine caused by the upper leg sliding down onto the mattress.
- Stomach sleepers: place a pillow below your lower abdomen to relieve stress.
You don’t need a special pillow to relieve lower back pain. Simply following the aforementioned method according to your sleep position goes a long way towards reducing lower back pain.
Sleep Positions for Lower Back Pain
You can find comfortable sleep positions for lower back pain below:
Sleep on your back with pillow under knees
For most people, sleeping on the back is the easiest option to relieve lower back pain. Here are a few tips for the same:
- Lay flat on the back
- Place a pillow below your knees to reduce the curve in your spine and stress on the lower back
- For more support, place a rolled up towel below your lower back
To reduce lower back pain, this method not only improves alignment of spine and distributes weight evenly, but also reduces the curve in your spine.
Sleep on your side with pillow between knees
If sleeping on your back is too uncomfortable for you, then you can sleep on your side while following the tips provided below:
- Get a firm pillow with loft of 5-7 inches
- Place pillow between your knees
- Pull your knees towards your chin
Ideally, you should regularly change the side that you sleep on in order to avoid any muscle imbalances.
Even though side sleeping won’t make you feel any better, placing a pillow between the knees will provide some relief.
Sleep on your stomach with pillow below abdomen
Sleeping on your stomach isn’t actually a good idea. It increases pressure on your cervical and lumbar spine, pressure that can lead to more damage, inflammation, and pain.
However, if stomach sleeping is your preference, then follow the tips provided below:
- Use a very flat pillow
- Place a pillow below your abdomen to reduce the curvature in your lower back
Stomach sleeping is often recommended to people with degenerative disc diseases. It can relieve pressure on the discs in your spine.
Best Pillow for Lower Back Pain
As you may have realized by now, relieving lower back pain largely depends upon the alignment of your spine - with improper alignment leading to pain.
That’s why we recommend adjustable pillows.
What are Adjustable Pillows?
Adjustable pillows generally come with a memory foam or latex fill.
Instead of a solid piece of foam or latex, they contain pieces or shreds, so you can simply adjust the amount of foam present inside the pillowcase to alter the pillow’s loft and height.
Both latex and memory foam can contour and provide good support to your cervical spine. And both are equally good at promoting proper alignment of the spine.
Lower back pain sometimes accompanies pain in the tailbone, caused by prolonged sitting and poor sitting posture.
To alleviate lower back, sciatica, and/or tailbone pain, coccyx pillows:
- Relieve pressure from the tailbone and lower back
- Promote good sitting posture
You can also try a doughnut pillow for relief from tailbone pain.
Orthopedic Lumbar Support Pillow
People who sit for long periods of time, while driving or working, can rely on lumbar support pillow, which:
- Provides additional support to the lumbar spine
- Maintains the natural curvature of the spine
- Reduces pressure on the lower back
Pillow for Lower Back Pain during Pregnancy
Body pillows are generally recommended to pregnant women, as these pillows can adjust according to their changing curves. A body pillow made of memory foam is suitable for all sleeping positions.
Choose the Right Mattress
Apart from lower back pain pillows, you’ll need the appropriate mattress to relieve neck pain.
Ideally, your mattress should provide good support without being too right.
But finding such a mattress depends on trial and error. So you must try different types of materials until you find the one that is firm enough for you.
Tip: Try a medium-firm or a firm mattress.
Sleep with Lower Back Pain
Apart from choosing the right pillow, you can also do a few stretches and strength workouts to fix your lower back pain. But don’t do so without consulting a doctor.
And follow good sleep hygiene to improve your quality of sleep. Here are a few tips:
- Create a sleep schedule: sleep and wake up at same times on a regular basis to create a habit.
- Relax before heading to bed: intrusive thoughts can cause anxiety, so you must relax your mind with meditation or light reading before going to bed.
- Avoid stimulants: don’t drink caffeine or alcohol before heading to bed.
You can also apply an ice pack for 15 to 20 minutes to reduce lower back pain.
Lower back pain affects many aspects of life - including sleep. That’s why you must use the right pillow and mattress to not only relieve but also cure lower back pain.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q. Is there a specific pillow for lower back pain?
Ans. Yes, there are specific pillows for back pain. Instead, you need to rely on the methods provided in this article to relieve back pain while sleeping. You can look at coccyx pillows and lumbar support pillows.
Q. Can a pillow cure lower back pain?
Ans. No, it can’t. But recommendations provided in this post can provide some relief from lower back pain. Also, they can relieve pressure from the lower back and allow it to heal.
Q. Does an ice pack help with lower back pain?
Ans. Yes, it does. Icing can reduce inflammation and pain in the affected area. But don’t ice for more than 20 minutes.
Q. Is there a leg pillow for lower back pain?
Ans, No, there’s no leg pillow for lower back pain. And instead of looking for one, you should use a normal pillow.