Lying Down for Back Pain Relief — 22 Comments

  1. Very helpful information Imogen. I’ve found that for most students, if they use a couch to rest their lower legs, it’s best to remove the cushions to get a better height. Also, if they’re going to use a bolster (or fabricate one themselves, maybe from old blankets, a yoga mat etc), it’s important that it be wide enough that they don’t have any concerns about their legs falling off to the side that might cause them to hold onto them.

    • This is excellent advice, Robert! I’m so glad you mentioned about making the “bolster” wide enough, and I love your idea of creating your own. Really great tips.Thanks for commenting

  2. Pingback:Lying Down for Back Pain Relief – Imogen Ragone | Constructive Rest Resources

  3. Pingback:Taking Time to Rest: Alexander Technique’s Constructive Rest as a Way to Release Tensions for the Artist at Work

  4. I’m finding it a bit of a problem with leg position when I have lower back pain. I have a wedge shaped bolster which holds me similar to your photograph, but I have also seen instructions where the leg is elevated in a line from hip to foot, at about a 45 degree angle. Which is best for just plain lumbar spine relief? Also, when I have my legs elevated, my feet get cold. Is that an indication I’m doing it wrong do you think?

    • Hi Dara, I’ve found with most of my students who had lower back pain that variation #2 – with the legs resting over a low piece of furniture – is the most helpful. I’d choose something a little lower and wider than the chair pictured, like a couch or maybe an ottoman. As far as your feet getting cold, I imagine that’s a circulatory issue, rather than anything else. My own solution would be a thicker pair of socks and a blanket over the top. I hope that helps, and thanks for commenting.

  5. Many thanks for the interesting article re resting and lying on the floor for a bad back. I have suffered for many years from a shocking back with many problems. Recently I have been told about lying on the floor for a time each day. I must admit I did wonder why and now reading your article I can see the sense.
    Would putting your feet up on the end of your bed, (its a fairly low bed) be okay?
    Can you put a pillow under your head?
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Norma, I’m glad you found the information helpful. Putting your feet (and lower legs) up on the end of your bed is fine, providing it’s not too high, in the same way as I have pictured in Variation #2. And yes, a pillow under your head will work too. What you are looking for is that the head is not tipping back (causing compression in the neck). I hope that helps. Enjoy your lying down!

  6. I have no idea what to do next. I feel pain in all position when I am lying down. I can play basketball, walk… But except lying down. Does anyone have an idea what to do next?

  7. Great post….its helpful for every one. Back pain, and with it sciatica, is one of the most common forms of pain affecting our society today. When a health illness or condition is chronic it means it is long-lasting. visit our site for good tertments for Back Pain, Diabetes, Fibromyalgia, Thyroid.

  8. regarding alexander technique for constructive rest – patient positioned on floor on his back, with legs up, knees flexed and resting on chair – I have utilized this positioning for patients for years, and now have been asked to justify its use by my employer. Besides tried and true professional experience and other than Alexander methods—does anyone know of academic or professional sources I could site as approved ad sound methodology? thank you, and many thanks to Ms Rangone.
    Pamela Ryder

    • I will see what I can find out for you.

      Of course there is the back pain study that was published in the British Medical Journal in 2008 – – which showed the Alexander Technique to be effective for the long-term relief of back pain. It is not specifically about constructive rest, but I am sure was part of the instruction the participants received.

    • I’m a back pain sufferer, not an expert, but my Alexander teacher told us that this position helps the discs to ‘plump up’ again after hours of being upright which causes them to lose moisture. (He explained this giving ‘prunes’ as the example!) BTW, Sarah Key, Prince Charles’s physio, also talks about re-hydrating discs so I should think it’s a widely acknowledged topic.)

      • You are absolutely right, Judy. Spinal fluid gets displaced while we’re upright, and lying down takes pressure off the spine and allows it be reabsorbed. It’s another reason why lying down like this can be so helpful for most people with back pain. Thanks for commenting.

  9. Can not lie flat on back without feeling short of breath. Know it’s common with congestive heart failure, and there is a medical term for this. Would like to know what it is.

  10. I have started using a leg elevation pillow called “The Lounge Doctor”. This has been a life saver for my lower back pain as it allows me to elevate my legs to just the right height and at the correct position. I would recommend this product for anyone suffering from lower back pain as I do.

  11. I am a retired pastor that is still active. Standing of late generates a great deal of pain. I can find a place to lay down flat on my back, the pain goes away Within 2 – 3 minutes. Sitting in low back chairs also brings the pain also. Same relief pattern. I am 86 years old.

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