The question is, can a wedge pillow cause back pain? The answer is… if used incorrectly, yes. To stop back pain caused by a wedge pillow, let’s go over the best way to position your pillow so you wake up feeling better, not worse!
Why your wedge pillow may be causing back pain
One reason your wedge pillow may be causing back pain is if it is positioned incorrectly. Unfortunately, many companies sell wedge pillows using models that are positioned incorrectly on the wedge pillows. This misleads you, the customer, and can lead to pain and discomfort.
The correct position of your body on a wedge pillow is as follows: Your neck pillow should be positioned on top of the incline wedge. The wedge should end in your lower back, level with the top of your iliac crest (or the top of your hip bone). Your bottom and hips should rest on the mattress.
Maintain spinal posture
If your positioning is correct, and you still think your wedge pillow is causing back pain, it could be that your spine does not like the introduction of the angle to your sleep position. Sleeping with your torso on a wedge pillow does increase the pressure on your lower back. If you have any sort of back issues, this angle could exacerbate those conditions.
An easy way to combat this is to sleep with your legs resting on a leg wedge pillow. Sleeping with your legs elevated takes the pressure off your lower back. Elevating your legs will gently rotate your hips in a way that eliminates tension in your back muscles.
When you sleep on a wedge pillow without using a leg wedge, gravity has a higher pull on your back. The pull of gravity on your lower back could be the cause of your back pain. Sleeping with your legs elevated on a leg wedge drastically reduces the effects of gravity on your back. Eliminating the effect of gravity will make a huge difference in making sure you wake up without back pain.
A wedge pillow puts your body in a new position
Keep in mind, anytime you start sleeping in a new position, it takes your body time to get comfortable. For instance, if your body is going from sleeping flat to sleeping at an angle, give yourself time to adjust. You should give your bones, joints, and body, 30 days to adjust to your new pillow.
Don't let your wedge pillow cause back pain. If you think it is, try out these tips, and let us know how they helped you!
-Bryan Blare, Doctor of Physical Therapy