Tips for relieving back pain while you sleep

Do you often wake-up in the morning with an aching back and neck?

It may or may not help to know that you’re not alone. Around 1 in 6 Australians (that’s 3.7 million people) report having back pain that affects them every day.

Back problems relate to conditions in the bones, joints, connective tissue, muscles and nerve of the back.

Back pain can affect how you feel at home and at work. It can also affect the quality of your sleep – and that’s bad news for your overall health and well-being.

What are the main causes of back pain?

  • Injury – sports injuries are a common cause of neck and back pain. And then there are all sorts of falls or accidents that can also impact the spine.
  • Disease – more common as we age, diseases such as osteoarthritis, disc disease, osteoporosis and some genetic conditions can cause chronic back pain.
  • Lack of exercise – well-toned muscles help to support your back. When we lose muscle tone, back pain can result.
  • A mattress or pillow that’s past it’s use-by date– our bodies need both comfort and support during sleep. If you’ve got an old mattress – or the wrong type of mattress – you may not be getting the support you need.
  • Bad posture – with so many of us spending our lives attached to a keyboard and generally being sedentary, bad postural habits can set-in and cause problems.
  • Your sleeping position – certain sleeping positions can put strain on your spine.


It’s always wise to see a doctor or other health professional first to find out the source of your discomfort and seek treatment for your back pain.

At SleepX, we’re all about you getting a great sleep, so here are a few ideas that might help to relieve your back pain:

Is it time to update your mattress and pillow?

If your mattress is more than 10 years old, it’s definitely time to get a new one.  Over time, mattresses lose the evenness of their support. They start to sag in places, and don’t spring back from areas where you regularly lay in bed.

1. How do you know if it’s your mattress that’s causing your back problem?

If you feel back or neck pain when you first wake-up and it’s gone after 15 minutes of stretching, your mattress is the likely culprit. Another sign is if you’re tossing and turning throughout the night, trying to find a comfortable spot.

A new mattress can do wonders for your back. You can read more tips on choosing the right mattress here.

Your pillow can also make or break a comfortable, pain-free sleep. Making sure your head and neck are supported is important for a good night’s sleep. You should replace your pillow at least every five years.

Read more about how to take care of your pillow and when to replace it here.

2. Are you sleeping in the best position to minimise back pain?

When we climb into bed, we naturally tend to move into our ‘usual’ sleeping position. This could be on your side, your back or on your stomach.

There are pros and cons to each sleeping position, but a few facts are known:

Stomach-sleeping: Sleeping on your tummy can strain your back and neck joints. When sleeping on your stomach, you tend to twist your neck to one side. This can put pressure on joints and discs. Try placing a pillow under your pelvis to help with back alignment.

Sleeping on your back also has its pros and cons. Placing a pillow under your knees and a small, rolled-up towel under your neck can help with spine alignment and prevent pain.

Sleeping on your side is often considered by experts to be the best position to avoid back ache. That’s because your head and spine is in alignment. Putting a pillow between your legs can also help.

3. Stretch!

A few stretches before going to bed and when you wake-up in the morning can help keep your spine flexible.

Sweet dreams!