If you have scoliosis, there’s a specific way you should be sleeping. We cover that and much more in this article so you start waking up (hopefully) pain free.
According to the Healthline, scoliosis “is an abnormal curvature of the spine. The normal shape of a person’s spine includes a curve at the top of the shoulder and a curve at the lower back. If your spine is curved from side to side or in an ‘S’ or ‘C’ shape, you might have scoliosis.”
Scoliosis usually happens during growth spurts while in puberty, but besides that, has no identifiable cause. It usually is not painful during childhood years, but if left untreated, it can become debilitating. Cases range from mild, to severe enough to need braces or surgery.
Just to note, we are not doctors here at the Slumber Yard, we’re just really awesome human beings. However, we have consulted with professional chiropractors in the past to help us better understand the importance of spinal position while sleeping. Please always consult your physician or chiropractor if you’re looking to switch up your mattress or sleeping habits. We only mean to help you on your way.
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Dr. Raymond Hall is a chiropractic physician that focuses on wellness and sleep, and was also voted The Top Chiropractor in California for 2015 and 2016 by the International Association of Healthcare Providers. First and foremost, Dr. Hall recommends to avoid sleeping on your stomach if you have scoliosis. Dr. Hall states that sleeping on your stomach can “push the natural curvature of the spine out of the alignment and into the abnormal scoliosis curve,” which can lead to increased back and neck pain, among other symptoms.
The most preferred sleeping position (agreed upon by most chiropractors) is to sleep on your back. With the proper mattress, this will help to keep the spine in neutral alignment while sleeping. Dr. Hall says, “Most scoliosis has at least a small degree of hyperkyphosis (small degree of hunched back type deformity) associated with the curvature and the back lying position helps to reduce the roundedness of the spine, especially with a firmer mattress support.” Second preference is side sleeping, but make sure your mattress has both enough support and proper pressure relief to keep your spine aligned.
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A comfortable yet supportive mattress. We have to talk about the mattress first, because it truly is the most important factor. It’s important for anyone with scoliosis to have a quality mattress that is best for their individual needs. A bad mattress can possibly make your symptoms and pain worse over time. While those with scoliosis of course want to be comfortable, they also need to make sure that their spine is supported. We recommend checking out our list of Best Beds for Scoliosis, where we’ve already curated a list of beds that fulfill all the needs of those with spinal issues. Just so you know, all of these beds have a trial period, which means that you can try them risk-free for at least a couple of months.
Consider a mattress topper. If you’re not currently in the market for a new mattress, you can always get a mattress topper to make your mattress either firmer or softer to suit your needs. Just make sure your topper is only 1-3” thick. Anything thicker might feel nice, but isn’t great long-term for the spine or neck.
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The perfect pillow. Your neck is a part of your spine, so it’s important to keep that supported, as well. The average human head weighs 10-11 lb, with only your neck to support it. Dr. Raymond Hall, a chiropractic physician, does not recommend large and dense pillows, as they can push your head forward (while on your back) or kink it to the side (while laying on your side), which throws off your spinal alignment and compromises natural breathing patterns while possibly increasing neck pain. Check out our Pillow Reviews page, where you can do a little research to see which pillow might be best suited for your body and sleeper type.
Pillows for your body. If you follow all of these tips and you still tend to be uncomfortable or wake up with discomfort, try experimenting with placing pillows under your body while you sleep. Common areas are under the knees, the hips, or the lower back. Of course, this will differ per your sleeping position, body type, and degree of scoliosis, so double check with your doctor that this is okay to do.
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