Do you regularly sleep on your stomach?
This is the one habit that is the most harmful to the health and function of our spine and our nervous system. When the head is turned to the side and then the weight of the body is placed upon it...the muscles, ligaments, tendons, joints, discs, nerves, etc. are compressed. The application of this stress of stomach sleeping will lead to an acceleration of degeneration of the discs and joints. Some of the worst degenerative disc disease that we have seen in the spine is in those that have spent their life sleeping on their belly.
So if you shouldn't sleep on your stomach...how should you sleep? Flat on your back is best. Some people will find that placing a pillow underneath the knees will be more comfortable. You should always sleep with only one pillow under your head though so the neck is in a relaxed position. If you are unable to sleep on your back then the next best option is on your side. When you are sleeping on your side, you want to make sure that your head and neck are in as an aligned position as possible. You should only use one pillow that is thick enough to support between your shoulder and your head. Most people have a pillow that is too thin to sleep on your side...so there head is side bent all night. The most vulnerable position for the neck to be in is side bent or extended.
To break the habit of stomach sleeping sometimes you have to get creative. Some people have even sowed a tennis ball that they had cut in half to a t-shirt and wear that when they slept! But most people don't have to go to that extreme...just understanding the importance of spinal alignment and knowing that stomach sleeping will destroy the spine is enough.
How long have you been stomach sleeping?
Have you ever had your neck thoroughly evaluated to see what your sleeping position has done to it?
Want to hear from people like you? Check out our reviews here.
Dr. Pete Tsiglieris of Advanced Spinal Care in Redwood City, California is an Upper Cervical Specialist trained by the National Upper Cervical Chiropractic Association (NUCCA). His upper cervical clinic also serves San Mateo, Palo Alto, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Sunnyvale. They are uniquely trained to correct problems in the upper cervical spine (upper neck). This vital area is intimately connected to the central nervous system and problems in this area have been shown to be an underlying cause of a variety of different health problems, including migraines and other headaches, carpal tunnel syndrome, neck pain, back pain and shoulder pain and weakness. More information can be found on our website at https://bayareanuccacare.com/