Effects of sleeping position on back pain in physically active seniors: A controlled pilot study

Work. 2015;53(2):235-40. doi: 10.3233/WOR-152243.


Background: The increase in life expectancy of elderly population has aroused the interest of different knowledge areas in understanding the variables that are involved in the aging process, linking them to other concepts such as active aging, healthy aging and the bio-psycho-social changes.

Objective: This paper presents the results of the first controlled, experimental pilot study that aimed to analyze the relationship between the perception of back pain and the sleeping position adopted by physically active female seniors.

Methods: Twenty female seniors (mean age 62.70 ± 3.827) participated in this study. The individuals were separated in 2 groups (Experimental and Control Group). For the carrying out of this study, the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) was used to measure the intensity of back pain in the spine before and after four consecutive weeks an Intervention program. Individuals in the Experimental Group were instructed regarding the recommended way to sleep position (Intervention program) according to the pathological problems or the amount of pain reported.

Results: The Experimental Group (N = 10) presented significantly (p = 0.009) fewer complaints of back pain after an Intervention program in comparison to individuals who did not receive this type of information (Control Group).

Keywords: Back pain; Visual Analogue Scale (VAS); active aging; recommended sleeping position.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Back Pain / psychology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Life Expectancy
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain Measurement
  • Pilot Projects
  • Portugal
  • Posture / physiology*
  • Sleep*