Loading... Please wait...
Join Ergonomics Insider News

Back Pain While Sleeping

Back Pain While Sleeping

Although sleeping gives relaxation, some people experience back pain while sleeping. In fact, the pain is actually aggravated during sleep. The causes for back pain while sleeping is attributed to various factors such as sleeping position, sleeping surface and psychological reasons.

Lower back pain due to acute stress on the lumbar region of the spine is the most common form of back pain. Lower back pain in sleep can make the situation worse. Back pain can be sometimes due to atrophy of the muscles which is the partial or complete destruction of muscles. Muscle atrophy can occur as a result of various conditions like diseases of motor neurons or pathological conditions of the muscle tissues.


  • Sleeping positions enormously contribute to back pain. Disproportionate stretching of the back muscles and careless stretching of the lower back curve while sleeping causes back pain. Most of the problems are caused by the disruption of the spine and back muscles alignment.
  • The sleeping surface is another cause of back pain while sleeping. Pain while sleeping due to spinal problems is aggravated by an uneven sleep surface. Fibromyalgia pain in the back is aggravated by a rough sleep surface. 
  • Psychological back pain occurs due to the subconscious activity and is one of the prime reasons for treatment-resistant back pain. Psychological back pain is also one of the foremost reasons for back and spine pain in sleep.

Tips for better sleeping positions & Less Back Pain

The most interesting aspect of back pain during sleep is that the pain is relieved by moderate activity while inactivity aggravates the pain. Since it is impossible to avoid inactivity during sleep, sleeping position plays a vital role in easing back pain. It's important to recognize both the recommended positions and positions to be avoided. 
  • A sleeping position that allows the natural curves of the spine to be supported firmly is helpful in easing back pain while sleeping
  • Use of firm, soft surface 
  • Sleep on the side
  • Maintain the right body weight
  • Maintain moderate physical activity and a safe life style 
  • Avoid stressful sleeping positions, such as any position that does not support the knees 
  • Try pelvic tilt exercises like kneeling on the hands and knees with the head in line with the back, pulling in the abdomen with the spine in upward position to ease back pain
  • Back pain is common in pregnancy, and it is recommended to sleep on the side keeping one or both the knees in a bent position (and avoiding sleeping on the back)
  • The stiffness in the back in the morning can be eased by deep breaths and slow stretching


Identification of such sleeping positions and providing the right support is important to minimize and ease back pain during sleep.