Almost all of us have a favorite sleeping position, but it’s not always the ideal one for our back and shoulders. For instance, sleeping on your side. Even if it feels natural, you can actually end up putting a whole lot of stress on your shoulder. Some of the random aches and pains that we experience could be caused by our sleeping positions.
This doesn’t mean that you’ll have to change your ideal sleeping posture, but there are some things that you could alter in order to get a good night’s sleep on your perfect side, and, pain-free! Here are some tips to better your sleep if you are a side-sleeper, courtesy of Tipehero.
The best way to do this, according to experts, is to add support to your shoulders, neck as well as your back before going to sleep.
The best sleeping position is flat on the back, according to Dr. Jess Greaux from Oakland, California-based Innersport Chiropractic, but she says that there are ways for those who prefer to sleep on the side reduce the stress by keeping their shoulders in an open position.
“One tip you can use to keep your shoulders open is to wedge a leg-pillow in between your arms, and hug it tightly. The pillow should be placed vertically, with its base touching your mattress, and your top arm draped over it. Unlike a traditional soft pillow, the hard foam of the leg-pillow will retain its shape, and will prevent your shoulders from collapsing into it,” she advises.
If the leg-pillow is not enough to support your weight, Dr. Greaux recommends placing a swim buoy or a yoga block between your legs for an optimal spine, lower back, and hip alignment. Having a good posture is crucial when you sleep, even if you aren’t experiencing pain in these areas.
Dr. Greaux points out that if you are experiencing prolonged and intense pain in either one or both shoulders, it is important to visit an orthopedist. After a series of tests, the doctor could determine whether your shoulders aren’t suffering from derangement or a hidden injury before starting you on a treatment plan.
Dr. Greaux also advisees talking to an orthopedist if you are experiencing tight shoulders. The orthopedist might recommend special physical therapy exercises, like active release techniques to break up scar tissue around the shoulders such as Pilates and yoga.