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Stomach sleeping is destroying my spine.

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Unread 11-13-2012, 06:55 PM   #1
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Frown Stomach sleeping is destroying my spine.

I am here to seek some advice on my issue of stomach-sleeping, and the pain it has left me in.

I have been a stomach-sleeper for as long as I can remember. It always was so comfortable. And it still is. At least, until I wake up. I am overweight, and not only do I sleep on my stomach, which causes my mid section to sag in toward the bed and make a C arch in my lower spine, I also occasionally sleep with my chin flat on a pillow. The pillow elevation rises to the height of laying my chin on one of my own arms, to ridiculous. I also have been dealing with depresssion lately, and often sleep much longer than I ought. So you can imagine my spine is not very happy right now. Once in a while I'd have a bad night, though nothing serious. Now, I am constantly in pain, and cannot sleep.

I decided I needed to stop sleeping on my stomach, so I decided to try something I'd seen online. You put a pillow on either of your sides, then one under your knees, then the smallest you have/or none under your head. Being blocked in by pillows on either sides gives you a place to rest your arms, and helps keep you from rolling. It's worked pretty well. I have rolled over, but for significantly shorter periods of time, because when I realize it I roll right back onto my back. And for the most part, my back feels better.

But there are times, such as right now, where it just hurts. It's a dull ache, behind my lungs. I know it isn't an actual problem with my lungs because I'm not congested or coughing or anything, I just don't know the muscle there to call it, because it seems to encompass shoulder to shoulder, from the base of my neck to about where my ribs start. It also occasionally goes lower, like into my tailbone. What I've been doing is taking warm baths/showers and using a body massager. I also try to stretch. It seems to help, but the pain never fully stays away. (I'm not sure if it's related, but I sat on my bed with my back against the cold wood, and that's when I realized it was hurting. Could cold irritate it?)

How long learning to sleep on my back, using heat therapy and the massager should I do before I see my doctor about it? I'm wondering if I've slipped a disc or something, which would suck, because I'm only 23.

Thanks for any tips or advice you may have.
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Unread 11-13-2012, 09:57 PM   #2
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I would talk with my primary doc right away. I haven't been able to sleep on my stomach for 25 years. Sigh. It just hurts way too much, even with pillows under my stomach to elevate the spine. I am a side sleeper now and change sides about once an hour due to pain. There just isn't a comfortable position now but the stomach will always be out of the question for me. I do sleep with two pillows between my knees which helps keep me in a reasonable position. Best wishes.
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gatorhead (11-14-2012)
Unread 11-14-2012, 05:42 AM   #3
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Yeah, do not sleep on the stomach! It puts way too much pressure on the vertebra & discs!

Sleep on your back with pillows under your knees and perhaps some rolled up towels or a rolled up pillow under your neck. The ideal thing would be to get a cervical pillow. You can get those at health stores or some pharmacy's carry them too. They are usually "U" shaped. If you want to sleep on your sides, you need to put pillows between your knees and make sure you have enough pillows under your head to keep your spine aligned.

Who knew that sleeping could get so complicated, huh?

If any back pain continues, I wouldn't use JUST heat -- I'd alternate heat & ice, using each for 20 minutes every 2 hours. Don't use heat continuously. I wish you the very best. Keep us posted on what happens & take care. Hugs, Lee
recovering alcoholic, sober since 7-29-93;severe depression; 2 open spinal surgeries; severe sciatica since 1986; epidurals; trigger points; myelograms; Rhizotomy; Racz procedure; spinal cord stimulator implant (and later removal); morphine pump trial (didn't work);now inoperable; lumpectomy; radiation; breast cancer survivor; heart attack; fibromyalgia; on disability.

Often the test of courage is not to die, but to live..
.................................................. ...............Orestes
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