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Thread: Sleeping positions & pain? SURVEY

  1. #1

    Sleeping positions & pain? SURVEY

    I have been with chronic pain for the past 15 years, and just plain pain for the 10 years prior to then.

    One week ago for reasons unknown to me I changed the position of my legs when sleeping or napping on my side, left or right. After about five days I sensed a lessening of the daily pain.

    For as long as I can recall, when sleeping on say, my RIGHT side, my LEFT leg was BEHIND the RIGHT leg. Last week I began to place my LEFT leg over and in FRONT of my RIGHT leg and five to six days later my lower back and left pelvic area pain decreased by maybe 25%.

    So I decided to do a survey asking friends or others about their sleeping positions.

    Here is what I found, out of 14 people so far, I'm still asking, 12 used the position that I have recently began to use myself, when on their RIGHT side they placed their LEFT leg in FRONT of their RIGHT leg and 2 used the pillow between their legs method.

    I asked why they used this position and they all told me that it was more comfortable. I asked how is it more comfortable, what do they feel when their LEFT leg is BEHIND their RIGHT leg? They all told me that they felt strain on their lower backs, and different muscles were being stretched in ways that caused discomfort causing them move their LEFT leg to where it was comfortable, over and in front the RIGHT leg.

    Some said that they when on their right (or left) sides they tended to shift back so that they were in a position half way between their sides and their backs, but the legs were always as described above.

    I didn't know that it was painful or straining my back muscles or any muscles for that matter because I do not feel anything below my waist! How could my body tell my mind that I should reposition my legs! Now I know something that I didn't know before by hearing what able bodied folks tell me.

    SO QUESTION: How do you position your legs when sleeping? What is the normal position? Have any of you been told by PT's how to position your legs when sleeping?
    Gary Is = L-1 Para for 34 years.....................

  2. #2
    Thanks Gary, this is very interesting. I'm a T12 with Central Pain and also have bad muscular lower back pain. I sleep on my side with a wedge behind my back to stop me rolling onto my back. I also use a pillow between my knees and the top leg is BEHIND the bottom leg. This just always seems like the natural position for me, but I might try having the top leg in front to see if it helps with the lower back pain. I was never told anything by my PT (or OT here in Oz) about sleeping positions other than using a pillow between my legs and changing sides regularly to reduce the risk of pressure sores. I find the wedge is essential for me to get comfortable and if I don't have it I will just use another pillow. Good luck with your research.

    "Wheelie Wanna Walk!"

  3. #3
    Senior Member Cowboys_Place's Avatar
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Northern California
    I know this thread is a few days old but I thought I would chime in anyhow since most of my Christmas day has been ruined by extreme pain the point where I'm sitting here almost in tears..
    I sleep in the same position as Garyis lying on my right side with my left leg behind my right and for the last 4 or 5 years I've been suffering with extreme pain in my left hip and lower back. .
    So maybe you're on to something with your theory, I'm trying to figure out how I can get that top leg over in front of the other and have that work all night as I roll from my side to my back..
    I have tried pillows between my legs for support however they just end up all bunched up and in the way..

    I hope everyone had a merry Christmas
    Courage is being scared to death but saddling up anyway. .(John Wayne)

  4. #4
    Senior Member ChesBay's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2001
    Coastal Virginia
    I appreciate the discussion Gary and plan to give it a try tonight. I have long slept in the position you first describe.. on my side , leg behind and pillow in between. I also use a wedge on my back for positioning.

    For the last few years it is common for me to go to bed with a pain level of 5-6 and wake up with a considerably higher pain level of say, 8-9, it is depressing way to start the day.

    going to give it a try and will post if I notice any significant change. I can remember a time when the concept of sleep was "restorative" those days seem long ago...
    Last edited by ChesBay; 12-26-2012 at 12:34 AM. Reason: typo

  5. #5
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Sep 2001
    middle georgia
    i have for yrs slept on side with a pillow i rest my left leg on in front of roght but my left leg is turning in i find if my legs and feet on fire proning seems to help me

  6. #6
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    A lot of this has t do with keeping everything in alignment and correct spacing. Another piece is the firmness of your mattress. I am 99% sure you are NOT supposed to be in the same position all night. That is supposed to be changd every few hours.
    Last edited by rlmtrhmiles; 12-26-2012 at 11:20 AM. Reason: more info

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by rlmtrhmiles View Post
    A lot of this has t do with keeping everything in alignment and correct spacing. Another piece is the firmness of your mattress. I am 99% sure you are NOT supposed to be in the same position all night. That is supposed to be changd every few hours.
    Right O!

    I must turn four or five times a night left right back and stomach, like rotating my tires, & pee about as many times!

    I changed the position; when on my right side I place my left leg just in front of the right but added a small pillow, my left knee area rests on the pillow keeping both legs pretty much in alignment. Seems better. I also added one of those expensive memory foam mattress pads on top of the firm mattress.
    Gary Is = L-1 Para for 34 years.....................

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