Spinal stenosis lying down describes symptoms that worsen when a patient reclines. Since rest is such an important part of life, and is crucial for maintaining good health, symptomatic escalation during sleep can be a terrible ordeal to endure. Spinal stenosis is known to worsen when affected areas of the spine are straightened. This is because a straight spine further reduces the patency of the central canal to its smallest possible diameter. Finding comfort when lying down or sleeping might be difficult for some patients, but there are some effective strategies that can make the process easier.
This guide helps stenosis sufferers to find relief when lying down to sleep or simply when reclining for comfort and relaxation.
Spinal Stenosis Lying Down Problems
Sleep patterns are developed over a lifetime of practice. Preferences become increasingly ingrained and sleep habits become ever harder to break as we get older. Therefore, many patients might not consider how their normal sleep or rest position affects their spinal stenosis symptoms.
Many patients prefer to lie down straight, on their back, side or stomach, with their legs fully extended. This is probably the worst combination of anatomical positioning for a lumbar stenosis patient, since the lower spinal canal is straightened.
Patients who sleep on their backs maintain a straight spine in the thoracic region. This can be detrimental for patients who suffer from middle and upper back canal narrowing.
Some patients like to use a very flat pillow or no pillow at all. This straightens the neck and can reduce the effective size of the cervical canal space.
Considering how any given reclining position might affect the stenotic region is the first step in finding lasting relief from symptoms that escalate when a patient attempts to get some necessary rest.
Spinal Stenosis Rest Solutions
There are many possible fixes for sleep issues that are related to aggravated stenosis expressions. While no solution is universally effectual, this next section should provide enough guidance to assist patients in finding the ideal anatomical positioning for their specific needs.
Lumbar stenosis sufferers generally prefer one of 2 possible reclining positions, since these anatomical placements relieve stenotic pressure in the lower back. The first recommended sleep posture is lying in a fetal position. This entails lying on the side of the body, with the knees bent and tucked up to create a sharp angle in the legs. Rolling the shoulders forward and placing a pillow under the top arm for support also brings considerable relief for many patients. The second recommended posture for lumbar stenosis is lying flat on the back, with the knees bent sharply and several pillows placed under the knees for relaxed support. Feet should be placed flat on the bed. Some patients also find greater relief when a small pillow is placed into the lumbar curvature itself, to create more pronounced arching of the lower back.
Thoracic stenosis sufferers can also benefit from the fetal position described above. Patients should also concentrate on bending the torso forward at the waist in this position, as if they are doing a sit-up or crunch exercise. Adding pillows for anatomical support around the body will help to maintain the posture restfully.
Cervical stenosis sufferers often have a particularly tough time finding comfort, since some of the strategies that help to relieve pressure on the central canal unfortunately also place considerable stress on the neck and shoulder muscles. Some patients trade one type of pain for another.
We recommend the fetal position for most stenosis conditions in the neck. The patient should adhere to the guidelines detailed above, with the addition of trying to implement an exaggerated cure in the neck, forward (chin to chest) or backwards (occipital to upper back), depending on what placement feels best. Some patients prefer lying on their back, with legs bent as detailed above and the head propped forward on pillows. This posture also works well for some patients, but can cause neck strain for others. Regardless of the positioning selected, cervical stenosis patients might be very sensitive to changes in their pillow, so trying different styles, numbers and combinations of head cushions is always advised. It might take some trial and error to find the best pillow for a patient’s specific needs.
Spinal Stenosis Lying Down Advice
It is so important to get enough rest and sleep. For chronic pain sufferers, this consideration is absolutely vital, since the symptoms already place such a terrible burden on body and mind. Stenosis is a condition that can drastically interfere with the ability to relax comfortably and can prevent restful sleep. Therefore, it is important to find solutions to these issues, before they have wide ranging consequences on general health and wellness.
We hope that the basic guidance in this essay helps readers to find reclined positions that work best for them. If you are still having trouble finding a position of relative comfort, we highly recommend consulting with a physician, physical therapist or chiropractor for advice. These healthcare experts might be able to provide personalized recommendations on sleep positions, surfaces, pillows and other factors that might help a given patient to get the rest they so desperately require in order to remain healthy.