Although your spine naturally curves, it bends in places that you should not if you suffer from scoliosis. When the spine rotates, turns or bends due to scoliosis you may experience symptoms such as one hip or shoulder higher than the other. Normally diagnosed during adolescence, scoliosis is the product of a congenital disorder, a nervous condition or an unknown cause. If you have been diagnosed with scoliosis, finding the right position to sleep can help you relieve pain.
Incorrect positioning for sleep or poor posture does not cause scoliosis, according to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. Although scoliosis can make sleeping somewhat uncomfortable due to the abnormal curvature of the spine, the way you sleep can make the condition worse. However, adopting a better posture can help relieve some of the pain related to your scoliosis.
Position of the thoracic curve
A curve in the upper back or thoracic spine is one of the most common types of scoliosis, according to the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital. This scoliosis tends to bend to the right. To relieve the pressure in this area you may want to sleep on your back with a towel or a long pillow tucked under your shoulder blades, in addition to the standard pillow under your head, to relieve the pressure on your back. If you sleep on your side, use a body pillow tucked between your legs to open the spinal canal. Put a rolled towel or a small pillow over your upper ribcage to correct the abnormal curvature of the spine. Avoid sleeping on your stomach since that position can temporarily distort your back and neck, causing you pain in the morning.
Position for lumbar curve
Another common area where scoliosis occurs is the low spine known as the lumbar region. For a scoliosis curve of this type, try different positions with a towel rolled directly below or just above your lower back. You will also want to place a small pillow under your neck, in addition to the usual pillow under your head. Try placing the pillows in different positions before leaving them under your body throughout the night.
Consult your doctor before adding pillows or devices to manipulate your spine while you sleep, as some forms of scoliosis can affect the nerves of the spinal cord. Make sure you do not decrease the flow of blood and spinal fluid through your position. If your back curve or related symptoms are severe, a therapist can help by giving you some recommendations related to sleeping positions for your own back bend.