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How Should You Sleep With Scoliosis?

About Scoliosis

If an individual has a curve in the back instead of having the back straight then he or she is termed to have a condition called scoliosis. The curve or bend in the back is termed as scoliotic curve and it may be mild, moderate, or in some cases severe.(1) Cases in which there is no cause identified as to why scoliosis developed are given the name of idiopathic scoliosis. In cases where scoliosis develops as a result of a limb length discrepancy or as a result of muscular spasms then it is termed as non-structural scoliosis. There are cases where the spine itself is curved. This is what is termed as structural scoliosis and this is an irreversible condition.

Sleeping is something which most individuals with scoliosis are concerned about. This is because it is very difficult to find a comfortable position to sleep in cases of scoliosis. If an individual is a belly sleeper then it puts too much stress on the back and neck and hence is not an ideal position to sleep on. This article gives a brief overview of how should you sleep with scoliosis.

How Should You Sleep With Scoliosis?

How Should You Sleep With Scoliosis?

There are a lot of factors which are at play when it comes to sleeping comfortably with scoliosis. Individuals who are given braces to wear will have a tough time sleeping because they are not able to find a comfortable position to sleep. At times, a wrong position during sleeping may lead to pain in the back the next morning due to scoliosis. Thus, it is not only the positions of sleep that makes a difference but the selection of mattress and use of pillows also make a huge difference when deciding how should one sleep with scoliosis.

Quality Mattress: Choosing the right mattress plays a very important role in getting a good night’s sleep for an individual with scoliosis. With scoliosis, it is extremely important that you sleep on a mattress that supports the back. For this a firm mattress should be used as a soft mattress does not serve the purpose.

Sleeping Position: This is the most important part of getting a good night’s sleep in case of an individual having scoliosis. If the sleeping posture is not correct then it may lead to worsening of the condition and lead to progression of scoliosis.(2) Moreover, a good sleeping position not only stabilizes the back but also relieves pain associated with scoliosis.

Studies suggest that the best position to sleep with scoliosis is either on the back or the side. Sleeping on the stomach is a big no-no as it puts the back and hips under tremendous pressure thus putting extra stress on the spine.

Studies suggest that more than 50% of Americans are side sleepers and for scoliosis patients this is a good posture to sleep as it helps keep the spine remain straight and neutral along with better circulation and a good quality sleep.

Sleeping on the back is also preferred for individuals with scoliosis as it distributes the body weight equally across the surface area of the body. This in combination with a firm mattress can work wonders when it comes to getting good quality sleep with scoliosis.

Use of Pillows: The use of pillows to support the spine also plays a pivotal role in getting a good quality sleep for individuals with scoliosis. For the head, the pillows need not be large as that will result in poor alignment of the spine which will further result in putting stress on the spine. The individual can use small pillows or even a rolled towel for supporting the spine.

An individual can try different positions of pillows depending on where the scoliotic curve is, namely the thoracic or lumbar spine. For curvature in the thoracic spine, sleeping on the back with a thin pillow under the shoulder blade is best to take the pressure off of the thoracic spine. For side sleepers, tucking a pillow between the legs is very helpful.

For lumbar curve, placing a thin pillow under the neck and back can be very helpful in relieving the stress on the back and allowing the individual to get a good night’s sleep without any fear of worsening of scoliosis.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 8, 2019

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