Home / Blog September 11, 2023

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Why Does My Back Hurt When Lying Down? Root Causes & Easy Solutions

So, why does your back hurt when lying down? The answer may be found in your sleeping posture. There might also be conditions such as arthritis and spinal tumors that could be causing your back pain. Either way, relief is possible! If you support yourself with good pillows, improve your sleeping posture, and try hot or cold therapy, you are likely to feel better.

couples napping under weighted blanket


Incorrect posture, muscle strain, and spine conditions like arthritis may be the causes of your back pain.

Supporting yourself with the right pillows, gently stretching, and sleeping under weight may give you temporary relief.

You may also want to consider seeking chiropractic care and assessing risk factors, such as weightlifting exercises. 

Did you know?
4 out of 5 people suffer from back pain at some point in their lives.

Wondering, “Why does my back hurt when lying down”? Tired of feeling neck pain and back pain when in bed? Well, we have some answers to your queries related to back issues.

From incorrect posture and muscle strains to arthritis and spinal bone infections, the causes of your back pain vary. Factors such as worn out pillows and mattresses and strenuous physical activity can only make your back pain worse.

Naturally then, with the right pillow support, gentle stretching, and hot or cold compresses, you will soon feel relief. It also helps to maintain an aligned spine as you sleep… and below, we detail how you can do so to have a snooze-tacular rest.

Why Does My Back Hurt When Lying Down?

Back pain when you lay down typically happens because flat surfaces do not support appropriate sleeping postures. When lying down, it is essential to ensure that you maintain the natural curvature of your spine.

Your back is composed of four main curves found on your neck, shoulders, lower back, and the sacrum. When you lay down, it is possible that these curves are not correctly positioned, hence the back pain you feel.

Back Pain When You Lay Down On Your Side

Sleeping on the side can cause or worsen your back pain if your spine is misaligned. When sleeping, it is essential to ensure that your spine is aligned properly, which can be a somewhat challenging task without the right pillow support.

For side sleepers, your back pain may also be caused by favoring one side over the other. With this, it helps to alternate between the left and the right side, to avoid any possible musculoskeletal imbalances.

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Why Does My Lower Back Hurt When I Lay Down?

Whether acute or chronic, the most common cause of lower back pain when you lay down is muscle strain, which can be caused by a number of factors. Some of them include standing for long periods of time before lying down or lifting heavy objects.

Other more serious causes of lower back pain when lying down are spine conditions such as:

Regardless of the cause for your lower back pain, having a bolster pillow may be helpful in getting temporary relief. Our Cuddling, for instance, is designed to offer lumbar support, which is essential in relieving pressure from your back as you rest.

Why Do I Feel Neck Pain Or Upper Back Pain When Laying Down?

Curious about neck and upper back hurt causes? The issue is in the misalignment of your spine. For relief, you will want to ensure that your ears, shoulders, and hips are roughly in a straight line as you lay down.

Of course, you will move as you sleep, but having support pillows can help maintain the proper alignment of your spine. A body pillow, such as our Cuddler, is a stellar example of a pillow designed with your back's needs in mind. The Cuddler not only helps relieve back pressure, but also gives endless cuddles all night long.


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Why Does My Chest Hurt When I Lay Down On My Back?

Even when laying on your stomach or your side, chest pain makes it challenging to get your ZzZs. There are three categories of potential causes for this ache: common, mild, and serious.

1. Common: Muscle strain, an ongoing or oncoming panic attack, esophagitis, and hiatal hernia. It is rare for any of these issues to cause complications, but if the chest pain worsens, it is best to get out of bed and seek medical help.

2. Mild: Anxiety, an impact injury to your chest area, angina, pericarditis, or a chest or lung infection. With these issues, you may seek temporary relief as you book an appointment with your nearest medical facility for a checkup.

3. Serious: Heart failure, Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD), and Costochondritis. It is advisable to seek immediate medical attention if you suspect that any of these issues may be behind your discomfort.

Back Pain Treatment – How Can I Get Pain Relief?

So, how can you stop your back from hurting when laying down? Well, the exact relief for back pain will depend on the causes. Below, we list easy-to-try possible solutions that may give you relief from your back ache:

1. Ice and Heat Therapy: You may try using a heating pad to help improve blood circulation in the area of the pain. Alternatively, applying an ice pack (or a bag of frozen peas) for about 15 minutes can also help if your back pain is caused by an underlying injury.

2. Gentle Stretching: Sometimes, slow stretches can help relieve your back muscles of strains. Be careful not to over-stretch, though, as that could exacerbate the pain you’re experiencing. Instead, try the following expert-recommended stretches for relief.

3. Massage Therapy: Massages are mostly helpful if the cause of your back pain is prolonged incorrect posture such as that caused by desk work. It may be helpful if you get a simple back massage, which can relieve your back of any tension that developed during the day.

How Can I Stop My Back From Hurting When I Lay Down?

Relief from back pain is possible. The key is to improve your sleeping environment and assess several risk factors, by starting with:

1. Having Supportive Pillows: Whether sleeping on your back, stomach, or sides… having the right pillows can make a huge difference! You may want to have with you a full body pillow that can ease the pressure on your spine. Our Cuddler, for instance, is ergonomically designed to provide back pain relief for sleepers of all positions.

2. Investing in a Suitable Mattress: If your mattress is too soft or too old, you will not have the proper support for your spine while you sleep. On the other hand, if your mattress is too hard, it can cause misalignment of your spine when you lay down. You may want to assess whether your mattress is the guilty party behind your back pain.

3. Improving Your Sleeping Posture: For most people, back pain when lying down begins with sleeping on their back. So, if you are wondering, "Why does my back hurt when I lay down?", the answer could be that your sleeping posture is not conducive to your spine.

4. Sleeping Under Weight: Once you have the right pillows and maintain correct posture, you may also want to consider using a weighted blanket while sleeping. Studies have shown that weighted blankets can be helpful in assisting individuals in coping with chronic pain. Our Cotton Napper, for instance, is made of soft, breathable organic cotton to help you stay cozy as your body heals.

5. Getting Chiropractic Care: If you constantly feel back pain when lying down, you may consider visiting your nearest chiropractic center. Seeing a specialist may be just what you need to get expert medical attention, which can inform a proper cause of treatment.

6. Assessing Risk Factors: Certain lifestyle factors can increase the likelihood of experiencing back pain while lying down. These include excess body weight, strenuous daily activities like weight lifting, poor desk-work posture, and smoking. If assessed and corrected, these risk factors will no longer be responsible for causing your discomfort.

lady sleeping with body pillow

Why Is Back Pain At Night A Red Flag?

The kind of back pain that sneaks up at night is referred to as “Nocturnal Back Pain”. Sometimes, nocturnal back pain is a dull and uncomfortable ache and other times, a sharp and painful strain.

Regardless of the severity, experiencing back pain at night can be a cause for concern as it may indicate an underlying medical issue, such as:

  • Untreated injuries like sprains and bone fractures in your back
  • Spine diseases such as scoliosis, spinal stenosis, and arthritis of the spine
  • Cancers, e.g. the presence of spinal tumors
  • Other conditions like kidney stones, pregnancy, and endometriosis 

How Do I Know If My Back Pain Is Serious?

If you suspect that your back pain is serious, you may want to check for these sly accompanying symptoms:

  • A fever, plus flu-like symptoms
  • Abdominal pain or throbbing
  • Back pain that spreads to the legs
  • Bladder or bowel control issues
  • Unexplained weight loss (or gain)
  • Weakness, numbness, or tingling in the legs 

You may also factor in your medical history in evaluating whether or not your back pain is serious. Consider checking for a history of cancer, a suppressed immune system, and trauma related to the back, such as a fall or a recent accident.


We've all wondered before, "Why does my back hurt when I lay down?" Back pain is clearly a common experience. This is because the most familiar reason for back hurt is muscle strain, caused by factors like incorrect posture.

Fixing your posture helps relieve your back of any tension caused by your sleeping position. It helps to have a fully body pillow like our Cuddler, whose ergonomic design supports your spine's natural curve.

If your back pain persists despite trying other relief options such as hot and cold therapy or a massage, it may be advisable to seek medical attention, such as consulting a chiropractor. We also recommend seeing a doctor if the back pain persists for more than a week and is accompanied by a fever, unexplained weight loss, and numbness or weakness in the legs.