man awake arm under pillow back and neck pain interfere with sleep

Does back and/or neck pain interfere with your sleep? Does it take you longer to fall asleep because you can’t get comfortable, and/or wake you up at night?  The following suggestions can improve your sleep and reduce pain and stiffness in the morning.

Mattress & Pillow Support

  • Your Mattress should be firm to prevent sinking, but soft enough to conform to the natural curves of your spine.
  • Your pillow should support your neck while allowing it to rest in a balanced position so we recommend a big, fluffy feather pillow.
  • A neck roll may be added for extra support so consider placing a cervical / towel roll in the base (front) of the pillow case to support the natural curve of the neck. This also works well if your pillow begins to flatten over time.

 Sleeping on your back

  • Place a pillow under your knees so you can maintain neutral position of the lower back.
  • Avoid using overstuffed or multiple pillows under your head.
  • Use a lumbar support or towel roll as needed to support your lower back.
  • If you have arm symptoms, prop a pillow under arm from shoulder to elbow, with elbow bent and hand resting on pillow.

Sleeping on your side

  • Your pillow should support your head and neck and may require doubling it if it’s too thin or made of feather.
  • Keep head and shoulders in line with hips.
  • Keep hips bent to less than 90 degrees, or bend the top leg and keep the lower

leg straight.

  • Place a pillow between your legs to align the hips and knees.
  • If you have arm symptoms, support arm on pillow propped between arm and rib cage, with elbow bent for better shoulder positioning.

 Sleeping on your stomach

  • Place pillow vertically so it lies under your chest and head.
  • Place pillow under lower legs to keep spine in neutral.
  • A firm mattress is recommended.
  • If you have arm pain, avoid sleeping on your stomach.

Alongside a customized strengthening program, patients at PDR learn strategies to manage pain during all activities of daily life and improve their function.  For more information on the PDR method of treating pain, keep exploring our website Don’t let neck pain interfere with your sleep.