Voted The UK's Best Pillow For Neck Pain •

300,000+ Happy Customers

Voted The UK's Best Pillow For Neck Pain

300,000+ Happy Customers

How To Decompress Your Spine While Sleeping: Back Pain Relief

Our spines experience stress and pressure every day through normal activities. From sitting at your desk to standing up, your spine constantly works against gravity. Without strong spines, life as we know it would be completely different!

While it’s normal for our spine to take on this extra pressure, it can damage and compress them over time. The effects don’t stop there. Long-term spinal compression can lead to achy back muscles and a stressed-out spinal cord.

Don’t fret! There are nonsurgical ways to combat this problem, and you can get started today. Keep reading to find out how to decompress your spine while sleeping now.

Understanding Spinal Compression

So, what is spinal compression? And what causes it?

Spinal cord compression is when the spine becomes compressed and puts pressure on the gel-like discs in your spine. This pressure makes it difficult for water, nutrients, and oxygen to flow through. Over time, the discs may herniate or bulge, leaving you in pain and with damaged nerves.

This condition is typically caused by gradual wear and tear (osteoarthritis) and is commonly seen in patients over 50 (, n.d.).

Wear and tear isn’t the only cause, though. Compression can also occur due to injury, scoliosis, spinal tumours, infections, bone diseases, and rheumatoid arthritis — and these can happen at any age.

Symptoms of Spinal Cord Compression

Spinal compression can develop slowly and quickly, depending on the individual case. Compression due to infections or tumours may develop over days or weeks. Injuries can cause immediate symptoms. Wear and tear takes years to cause symptoms.

Here are the symptoms associated with the condition:

  • Pain and stiffness in the back, lower back, and neck
  • Burning pain in the arms, buttocks, or legs (sciatica)
  • Numbness, weakness, or cramping in the arms, legs, or hands
  • Loss of sexual ability
  • Hand coordination difficulties
  • Loss of sensation in the feet

Compression on nerves in the lower back (lumbar region) can cause more severe symptoms. Go to the emergency room if these symptoms are present:

  • Loss of bladder or bowel control
  • Severe pain and weakness in the legs that restrict mobility
  • Severe numbness between the legs, inner thighs, and back of the legs

What Is Spine Decompression

Spinal compression can be relieved via spinal decompression (stretching the spine). This takes the excess pressure off discs, allowing them to rest and heal.

There are surgical and nonsurgical spinal decompression techniques, and one of the most popular is changing your sleeping habits. This way, your spine can decompress as you sleep thanks to an aligned posture that takes pressure away from your back.

Other nonsurgical strategies include taking paracetamol or ibuprofen, heat therapy, cold therapy, acupuncture, massage, or seeing a physical therapist.

If you’re experiencing spinal stenosis, sciatica, a slipped disc, painful spinal injuries, or metastatic spinal cord compression, lumbar decompression surgery might be better for you (NHS Choices, 2020). See your GP to find out more.

Benefits of Spinal Decompression

Embracing spinal decompression therapies comes with a range of advantages. Here are some ways you can improve your quality of life.

Spinal Decompression Techniques While Sleeping

If you’re ready to address your spinal compression through sleeping spinal decompression techniques, make sure you follow the three essential steps below. These tips will help you stretch out your back at night without pain.

1. Proper Sleeping Positions

The best sleeping position for decompressing your spine is the flexed hip position.

To get in this position, lay on your side in bed and flex your hips at a 30-degree angle. Then, bend your knees at another 30-degree angle. It might sound strange at first, but these angles allow your body to maintain balance while flexing your neck and elongating your spine.

You can add a pillow between your knees to keep your hips parallel while asleep. A memory foam lower back pillow is best for aligning your hips and pelvis.

Alternatively, you can sleep in the face-up position. This way, you’re lying on your back with your eyes facing the ceiling. You can add a pillow under your knees at a 30-degree angle. This elongates your spine and helps to take the pressure off your back. You can also add a pillow under your neck for upper back support.

Inclined back sleeping is another great option for decompression. In this position, you sleep on your back with a pillow between your torso and legs. This removes the pressure on your spine and suppresses lumbar spine injuries and sciatica symptoms.

Experiment with the different options and settle on whatever feels best for your body.

2. Specialised Mattresses & Pillows

Choosing a proper sleeping position isn’t the only way to decompress your spine in bed. You can also use sleep aids to keep you in position and comfortable throughout the night.

Memory foam has many benefits, especially if trying to elongate your spine. A memory foam pillow follows the natural curvature of your spine and removes excess pressure from your pressure points.

Similarly, you can invest in a memory foam mattress to take the pressure off your whole body. If you don't want to replace your mattress, buy memory foam mattress toppers.

Studies have shown that optimising your bedding reduces back pain and improves sleep (Jacobson, Boolani and Smith, 2009). So, don’t forget this tip!

3. Pre-Bed Exercises

Finally, you can also experiment with gentle stretching exercises before bed to help decompress your spine after a long day.

Low-intensity spinal decompression exercises include:

  • Supine position
  • Heel slides
  • Cat-Cow
  • Child’s Pose

Yoga fans might recognise the above positions, and this isn't a coincidence. Light yoga and basic stretching are also great for spinal decompression. Once you are familiar with low-intensity exercises, you can move on to moderate-intensity stretches.

Always check with your healthcare provider before trying new exercises. If your pain worsens, stop the routine and monitor the condition. If the pain persists or worsens, book a doctor's appointment.


Prioritising spinal decompression while sleeping will help you reduce pain, improve your posture, and get a better night of rest. Plus, the less compressed your spine is, the less likely you are to develop long-term side effects of chronic pain.

Hopefully, these tips have proved how easy it is to decompress your spine at night. Bookmark this page so you don’t lose them. Good luck!

Explore the world of memory foam now. The Original Groove Pain Relief Pillow is designed to provide effective pain relief and better sleep to refresh you in the mornings.


  • Jacobson, B.H., Boolani, A. and Smith, D.B. (2009). Changes in back pain, sleep quality, and perceived stress after introduction of new bedding systems. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, [online] 8(1), pp.1–8. doi:
  • ‌NHS Choices (2020). Overview - Lumbar decompression surgery. [online] NHS. Available at:
  • (n.d.). Spinal Cord Compression. [online] Available at: