NEVER sleep on your stomach (unless you have cut out a hole in your mattress to keep your head in neutral.) This may be good for your lower back but will certainly cause neck problems. The best sleeping posture is in a semi-fetal position with a pillow between your legs/knees. The pillow reduces the risk of rolling the top leg over the bottom causing twisting of the lumbar spine and straining the hip joints. This will allow for all kinds of nasty things to happen. Also make sure the neck is properly supported with a curve-facilitating pillow, such as our Tempur-Pedic millenium pillow.
If you are a back sleeper support the lower back with a small thin pillow or loosely rolled up towel. This will maintain the inward (lordotic) curve of the small of the back which will flatten either on a firm or soft mattress and put you at risk.
Have you ever gotten stuck getting out of bed? I see these patients often. No matter how you sleep the most important step you can take getting out of bed is to perform 5-6 Extension Push-Ups just BEFORE you swing your legs out of bed and stand up. When you are sleeping, even in the best posture, things can slide around. This helps the facet joints (joints between the vertebrae) to “track” like they are suppose to and prepares your back for weight-bearing. To perform the Extension Push-Up, roll onto your front, push up with the arms while you push your pelvis and stomach into the bed. If this bothers your arms, shoulders or wrist, simply cross your arms under your chest rather than trying to straighten your arms. Develop this as a habit every time you are getting up, even in the middle of the night for a bit of bladder relief.