The sleeping position doesn’t affect scoliosis structurally, but it affects the quality of sleep in a scoliosis patient. That being said, sleeping position is important as it can either worsen or improve scoliosis symptoms related to sleep disorders.
How you sleep doesn’t affect scoliosis structurally, but it can provide a fair bit of relief from scoliosis-related discomfort while sleeping. Therefore, medical experts suggest sleeping in certain positions for patients with scoliosis to have a better nighttime sleep.
In this article, we’ll find out how’s sleeping positions related to scoliosis and how opting for an ideal position can help a scoliosis patient.
Scoliosis: Causes and Symptoms
Scoliosis is a spinal deformity that occurs on the structural level in a human. It’s mostly a genetic disease without a definite cause. However, cerebral palsy or muscular dystrophy is thought to be a common cause of scoliosis. The curvature can happen anywhere along the spine, including the thoracic, lumbar, or cervical spine portions.
It remains in painless condition in early times, but it can worsen with time and lead to a painful or even disabling condition. Signs of scoliosis include misaligned hip, misaligned shoulder blades, prominent rib cage on one side, etc. These are the common symptoms; the additional symptoms include poor posture with a visibly curved spine and different sleep disorders like sleeplessness, sleep apnea, and hypopnea.
Why Can’t Sleep Position Improve Scoliosis Structurally?
A person with scoliosis has an improper spinal alignment, a progressive condition with no specific cure. Also, it can’t be turned back to a completely normal alignment again.
However, with active treatment, the abnormal curvature can be reduced and restored in patients significantly. But the sleeping position isn’t related to any active treatment; hence it doesn’t impact scoliosis on a structural level.
Rather the spinal condition is impacted by the individual characteristics, such as the location of the curve, type of the curve, size of the curve, and age of the patient.
The only way to bring the structural change while sleeping isn’t determined by the sleeping position itself but by the fact of whether the patient wears a corrective brace or not.
How Sleeping Position Is Related to Scoliosis
Many scoliosis patients, especially those with idiopathic scoliosis, suffer from sleep disorders like sleeplessness, sleep apnea, or hypopnea. These disorders can make your life even more difficult as a scoliosis sufferer.
A few practical tips can help you tackle scoliosis better in the bed and let you have a better sleep at night. Choosing the right sleeping position is one of those tips to take care of. So some way or the other, it’s important for scoliosis patients to decide how they want to sleep.
Let’s take a look at the ideal sleeping positions for scoliosis patients suggested by medical experts:
Sleeping on the Back
Sleeping on the back is a perfect position for scoliosis patients. When you consider the type of scoliosis, you see some patients have a thoracic curve in the upper spine while others have a lumbar curve in the lower spine. Both these patients will feel better sleeping on the back with a supportive pillow.
For thoracic scoliosis patients, you should tuck a thin pillow under the shoulder blade to take the extra pressure off. On the other hand, lumbar scoliosis patients can put a pillow under the lower back for extra support to the spine.
According to Dr. Hall, sleeping on the back is a preferred sleeping position for spinal conditions. In this position, you have all your organs properly aligned, and the chest stays high to let you breathe easily and sleep comfortably. It can also help patients get rid of apnea problems.
Sleeping On the Side
Dr. Hall also suggests sleeping on the side. With legs close to the chest, you get less pressure on your back and more curve in the lower back. Although there’s a space created between the mattress and the stomach, you can close the gap by tucking a small pillow in that space. If you’re a combination sleeper, you’ve to adjust accordingly.
Sleeping on Stomach
The famous Chiropractor also warns a scoliosis patient to avoid sleeping on the stomach. It’s considered a fetal position or the worst position a patient with scoliosis can sleep with. It can adversely affect the natural curvature of the spine and worsen the scoliotic curve, which can lead to neck, back, or even shoulder pain.
Since there’s a relationship between sleep posture and scoliosis, most chiropractors and physical therapists emphasize sleep posture education. This education is helping many adults with scoliosis to recover from sleep disorders and fatigue caused due to sleeplessness.
Should You Sleep On the Floor or a Mattress
Your sleeping positions won’t be effective in getting you rid of sleep disorders unless you sleep on the right surface. Although medical experts suggest sleeping on a firm surface for people with scoliosis, it doesn’t mean you should sleep on the floor. It can cause you more discomfort, and none of the positions would work for you.
Sleeping on a proper mattress could be an effective sleeping aid for many scoliosis patients. You’ve to choose a firmer mattress that is adaptive as well. Memory foam mattresses make the best choice in this case.
You can also use the mattress topper as an additional layer to easily switch between positions even if you’re a combination sleeper or want to practice variation in sleep posture. Also, avoid sleeping on a bed mattress that’s unsuitable for scoliosis patients.
It’s important to maintain a sleep posture routine where you can practice ideal posture while sleeping. Although it won’t improve your abnormal scoliosis curve, it’ll ease the discomfort caused by the disease. We’ve discussed multiple positions for scoliosis patients and you can ask your healthcare provider to help you choose the ideal one for your condition and body type.
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