When talking about sleeping positions, I want to start off by saying that it is VERY hard to change a sleeping habit. However, with that said we can modify your current positioning so that it promotes a more positive night's sleep. Sleep is absolutely essential and not only is the quantity of hours important but so is the quality of sleep. Your body isn’t going to receive the necessary REM cycle hours if you’re tossing and turning a result of pain.
To start, what is the best position? I typically recommend people sleep on their back or side, but to keep their neck and spine in a relatively neutral position. This means that when you’re on your back, placing 1-2 pillows under your knees will put your spine in a more relaxed position. When sleeping on your side, we want you to place a pillow under your knee to provide pelvis support that will give you good spinal alignment.
So where does sleeping on your stomach come into play? NEVER would be an answer that I would like to say however, I understand that this isn’t always realistic. When someone sleeps on their stomach, it places the spine in extension that has been known to cause pain. So what’s a modification that can be done to change this? Sleeping with a weighted blanket can actually recreate the pressure stomach sleepers are seeking with a more positive sleeping posture.
Changing sleeping patterns and habits is hard however, it is important that you are receiving enough quality sleep at night so that your immune system remains strong and healthy! If you have any other questions about sleep contact Bull City Physical Therapy today for more information!
-Dr. Colten Sullivan
Bull City Physical Therapy
This post is for those who’ve been wondering what the difference between the various soft tissue "torture" devices are! Addressing muscle tightness can be done through two different ways: stretching or tissue manipulation. Research has shown that soft tissue manipulation prior to an activity has a beneficial impact on performance and can help reduce the risk for injury. Static stretching has actually been linked towards decreased muscular performance for maximum output activities.
The Foam Roller
This is the classic soft tissue tool that most people have in their house or gym! Foam rollers come in various sizes however, they all have a similar outcome. This is great for larger areas of the body - hamstrings, quads, glutes, etc. When used properly it can be very effective however, I sometimes see people strain their neck, wrists, or back attempting to roll. This is going to be counterproductive since we want to release tightness, not cause it. If you’re finding yourself straining to foam roll then keep reading for other options!
Okay, I might be a little biased but this is my new favorite soft tissue manipulation device. The reason for this is simple - it works great standing up! This means that you don’t have to roll around on the floor straining other body regions. Because of its size, you are also able to isolate specific muscles with less pressure than what the foam roller requires. It is also made of rubber so it sticks to the wall relatively easy. It can be used on the floor, but I typically recommend people start on the wall.
Tennis Ball/Lacrosse Ball
The classic tennis ball or lacrosse ball works great for soft tissue manipulation. A tennis ball is softer than a lacrosse ball, so if you can’t tolerate very much press you’re going to want to start there. You can place two tennis/lacrosse balls into a sock or pillowcase to keep them together and easy to manage. If you notice that either device works well, I recommend looking into The Orb!
There are multiple options when looking for a device to address muscle tightness however, you need to be educated about why you’re using it and ways to use it effectively. Always consult your medical professional or contact us at Bull City Physical Therapy if you have any questions!
- Dr. Colten Sullivan
Bull City Physical Therapy