Correcting a swayback posture by…changing how you sleep?

Posted on September 24, 2013

(Last Updated On: April 1, 2016)

The first one of these is An example of how important your sleep positioning can be. In that I cover the similarities between a lateral pelvic tilt and how one sleeps. Next up, the similarities between sleep positioning and a swayback posture.

First up, going over a swayback posture. I’ll use some pictures from Kendall’s book, many of which are found online.

Swayback posture side

The most pressing aspects of this posture are:

The hips are extended:

Swayback posture side hip extension line

The lower back is being pushed forward:

Swayback posture side center of mass pushed forward arrow

Often to the point it’s in extension:

Swayback posture more lordosis lumbar extension line

The thoracic spine may be flexed, and head in forward head posture:

Swayback posture more lordosis thoracic flexion

Neck posture neck pain

Note how far the head is in front of the shoulders

From the side, we could simply say the body’s center of mass is being pushed forward:

Jennifer side com pushed forward lines

With that, it’s very common for the feet to be turned out and or the knees to be turned in. (This isn’t so much part of being a “swayback” as it is common postural / movement issues.)

Jennifer Front (Less quality) internal rotation knees

tight peroneals foot pain

And the neck may be tilted,

Tony Neck Tilt with ear lines

These are very, very common issues.

Connection to sleep positioning

Let’s look at someone sleeping on their stomach:

Sarah on stomach swayback connection

Right away, there’s some obvious connection. The lower back is extended:

Sarah on stomach hips close up lower back line

The hips may or may not be extended.

Sarah on stomach swayback connection hip line

This can depend on the mattress’ hardness. Here’s a good picture from a mattress company:


Specifically looking at stomach sleeping:

Stomach sleeping mattress hardness

Notice in the “Soft” category the hips are extended:

Soft mattress swayback posture close up

Because the body’s center of mass is located around the hips, this is where the body is most likely to sink into the mattress.

Soft mattress swayback posture close up gravity line

Even if you’re on a hard mattress, negative things can happen at the hips. Because gravity is still acting on the hips, gravity can still push the head of the femoral head downwards:

Sarah on stomach hips femoral head start position

Sarah on stomach hips femoral head send position

I’ve written about this hip ailment before herehereand here. In summary, it’s not a good thing.

A less obvious connection is at the feet. When sleeping on the stomach it’s very likely the feet are going to turn out:

Sleeping on stomach feet turned out

Finally, the neck. It’s typical to favor having the head turned one direction more than the other. I haven’t really examined this, but it seems most people favor turning their head to the left. Even a quick google image search of “Stomach Sleeping” seems to agree:

Stomach sleeping collage

Of the people on their stomach, notice how many have their head to the left.

This coincides with what you often see at the neck in stance: Tilting to the left.

Tony Neck Tilt with ear lines and head tilting to left lines

A full comparison

Our two positions:

Sarah Swayback Sarah on stomach swayback connection


Sarah Swayback upper and lower lines

Sarah on stomach swayback connection with upper and lower lines


Sarah Swayback with lines horizontal

Sarah swayback sleeping on stomach close up

The other way:

Sarah vertical swayback side by side

Get off your stomach.

You can get my manual on sleep positions here: Add to Cart

Or find more about it here.

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.