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Avoid Back Pain When You Lie Down With Your Legs Straight

Supine Back Protection Tip


Updated April 01, 2012

Written or reviewed by a board-certified physician. See About.com's Medical Review Board.

Spine Position

Spine Position


The Daily Spine
Tips for Living Well With Back Pain

When you lie supine with your legs extended out straight, it can affect your back. This is because the parts of the body are connected to one another. Movement in one part often affects, by means of the kinetic chain, position and/or movement in others.

Here are a few tips that may help keep your joints happy when you are on your back with straight legs:

This position tends to arch the low back. If you have disc problems, it may actually help with the pain. But if you have facet pain or spinal arthritis, the arching may bring on symptoms. So if lying supine with legs straight causes pain, skip it. You might consider the hook lying position instead.

Locking is not good for your knee joints. Keep your legs straight, yes, but don't lock your knees.

Consider putting a pillow under your knees to help you avoid hyper-extending (locking) your knee joints. Be sure to adjust the pillow so that you’re comfortable and not experiencing pain or strain in any joint. A pillow under your knees may give you just that little extra support that helps you avert a pull, strain or plain 'ole discomfort.


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