Side Back Pain: 2 Tips ‘n 7 Tools For A Pain-Free Sleep

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According to American Chiropractic Association, side back pain is the third most common reason for doctor’s visits, after skin disorders and osteoarthritis/joint disorders.

But most back pain is not caused by serious conditions. That is good news. It also means though, that something is causing that back pain.

Here’s the thing: did you know that side back pain – or lower back pain – that is caused by sleeping on a bad mattress, can turn into chronic back pain?

So. Best to get that ache sorted…here’s tips and tools to help address the root cause, or provide relief from serious conditions:

Tips to help you sleep when you have side back pain

Since most cases of back pain are not caused by serious conditions, such as inflammatory arthritis, infection, fracture or cancer, sorting out your sleeping situation should provide relief. Try this:

#1: Sleeping positions

The easiest way to eliminate disrupted sleep is by changing your sleeping position. According to Medical News Today, the best positions for side back pain are:

Sleeping on your back

Sleeping on your back is the best position to keep your back healthy. This is because this position distributes your weight over the full length of the body’s largest surface to decrease pressure points. It provides good alignment of the head, neck, and spine.

Relieve pain by placing a small pillow under your knees for additional support and spine alignment.

Fill any other gaps between body and mattress with the right size pillows, so there is no pressure on any part of your body. 

Sleeping on your side

If you tend to sleep on your side, it can make side back pain worse, because it may pull the spine out of position which strains the lower back.

But again, pillows to the rescue…simply place a firm pillow between your knees to raise the upper leg to restore the natural alignment of the hips, pelvis, and spine.

Make sure your head is supported by a high quality pillow, and fill any gaps between mattress and body with a…you got it; a pillow.

Talking of sides…if you sleep with your one leg straight and the other flung over, you should place a firm pillow on the mattress, to support your leg and so align your spine.

Sleeping curled up fetal

A curled up fetal position may bring relief if you suffer from a herniated disc, because lying on your side with curled legs (knees tucked into chest), reduces bending of the spine and helps open up the joints.

Be sure to place a good quality pillow under your neck for support.

Sleeping face down

Lying face down is considered the worst sleeping posture, but if you battle to sleep in another position, place a slim pillow underneath your tummy and hips to help improve spinal alignment.

If you have a herniated disc or degenerative disc disease, sleeping face down may actually relieve side back pain and help with sleep problems.

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#2: Sleep tools for back pain

Depending on the root cause of your side back pain, you could still enjoy a healthy sleep by finding relief with one of these “sleep tools”:


Using a pillow for support in any gaps between mattress and body can prevent side back pain, or provide pain relief.

The right pillow

The right pillow, made from memory foam or even better, latex, will support your neck and promote spine alignment; a must if you regularly suffer with back pain. 

Check out the Genie pillow; made from latex for ultimate comfort and support.

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The Genie pillow is made from latex and provides optimal support for those who suffer from back pain.


A bad bed can be the cause of side back pain. Could it be time you need an upgrade? If you’ve had your mattress for around 8 – 10 years, or you’re sleeping on a poor quality mattress, this could be the case. The best type of mattresses to prevent back pain specifically, are made with the following technologies:

  • Pocketed spring technology so that the springs respond individually to the contours and weight of your body, providing optimal support and comfort for healthy sleep. 
  • Memory foam or latex technology are materials that both conform to the weight and shape of your body to eliminate pressure points which cause pain. Latex is superior to memory foam for a few different reasons, but in the case of back pain, it gently pushes against the body to ensure full body contact with all touch points, leaving minimal unsupported “gaps” between the mattress and the body. This creates exceptional pressure point relief and optimal spinal alignment. 

Genie beds are made from individually pocketed springs and latex to provide ultimate support, no matter your body weight or shape (get 100 days to test it out; if it does not work for you, simply return the bed).

Get more advice on how to choose the right mattress.

Mattress topper

If you’re not ready to invest in another mattress, consider purchasing a mattress topper made from memory foam or latex.


Try having a warm bath just before bedtime to help your muscles relax. Also try a heating pad just before you fall asleep, but for safety reasons, never sleep on a heating pad.

Pain relievers

If you absolutely must, use over-the-counter or prescribed medication. Over-the-counter pain relievers that help with back pain are nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and acetaminophen. Do talk to your doctor before taking pain relievers, and never expect medication alone to solve your pain problem.

Lumbar support night roll 

Not very sexy for bed, but a night roll helps alleviate back pain when sleeping, or pain in the first hour after waking up, because it supports the lower back. You could also try a small rolled up towel under your back.