Sciatica is the most common cause of lower back and leg pain. The sciatic nerve is your body’s largest nerve system.
Sciatica and radiating pain down your leg can occur when a portion of your sciatic nerve becomes irritated or pinched, usually in the lumbar or sacral spinal region.
Sciatica pain can make it difficult to sleep and difficult to get comfortable while lying down. However, we’ve compiled a list of eight tips to teach you how to sleep more comfortably with sciatica.
These may not completely alleviate your sciatic pain, but they will put you in a better position for a better night’s sleep and a less painful morning.
What Is the Impact of Sciatica on Sleep?
Sciatica interferes with your sleep quality due to the pain and discomfort it causes. Sciatica is known to flare up at night and in the morning. What causes sciatica to worsen at night?
Mostly because it has been under pressure, strain, and stress all day and is ready for some relief. Sleeping, in theory, will provide the rest and recovery you require, but only if you take care of your sciatic pain in the process.
How to Sleep with Sciatica: Eight Simple Steps
We compiled this list of healthy tips to explain how to sleep more comfortably with sciatic nerve pain so you can wake up feeling your best every day. Choose a few to experiment with tonight and continue to do so until you find what works best for you and your body’s specific needs.
Your snooze position is crucial in relieving sciatic nerve pain.
Finding a comfortable sleeping position can be one of the most difficult aspects of coping with lower back pain or sciatica. However, it is critical that you do so because it has a strong and direct relationship to the amount of pain you will feel in the morning and throughout the day.
Take note of the effects of the following sleeping positions:
a. Sleeping on one’s side
Sleeping on your side is frequently the most comfortable sleeping position for sciatica. This position allows for superior pressure relief right where you need it most – in your low back and lumbar region.
When done correctly, side snoozing also promotes healthy spinal alignment. Refrain from allowing your top leg to roll forward and rest on your mattress. This causes unnecessary spine twisting, which can further pinch the sciatic nerve and cause discomfort or pain.
Instead, keep your legs stacked and a pillow between your knees or a body pillow between your knees to help keep everything in place. It’s another tried-and-true method for sleeping with sciatica leg pain.
When it comes to sciatica and low back pain, it is common for one side of your body to be in more pain than the other. Rest on the least painful side to avoid further discomfort. If neither side is comfortable, you may want to try a different position.
b. Lie Down on Your Back
Sleeping on your back may or may not be beneficial to sciatica (as previously stated, everyone’s case is different). If you want to sleep on your back, place a pillow beneath your knees.
Elevating your knees relieves pressure on your spine, which is beneficial to your low back. You could also try putting a small pillow or rolled-up towel under your lower back. This is done to relieve even more pressure while also providing the additional support you require.
Sleeping on your back without a pillow or pillows for support will put additional strain on your spine and sciatic nerve. Resting on your back may also aggravate sleep apnea and snoring, making it an unsuitable position for some.
c. Sleeping on your stomach
If you have sciatica, you should avoid sleeping on your stomach. Stomach sleeping puts strain on the neck and back and causes unnecessary twisting. It also puts undue strain on your stomach, pelvis, and hips. To get the best night’s sleep possible, avoid this position entirely.
Position yourself on a firm, supportive mattress or surface.
When it comes to sciatica and sleeping, don’t overlook the importance of your bedding. A firm and supportive surface is essential for promoting proper spinal alignment.
Furthermore, because of proper support, increased pain and discomfort will be avoided. Do not sleep on a squishy mattress. Select a medium-firm to firm mattress that has the features and comfort you require to accommodate your sciatica.
Additional features to look for when purchasing a sciatica-friendly mattress include:
- Temperature control
- Support for the edges
- Isolation of motion
- Height of the mattress
- Supplemental lumbar support
If you don’t have the right mattress or can’t afford a new one right away, you might consider sleeping on the floor with some minimal padding. The floor will undoubtedly provide the support your stressed spine and sciatic nerve require to facilitate active recovery.
Some sciatica sufferers claim to have found great relief by sleeping on the floor. This could make a huge difference in your life.
Use a pillow with plenty of neck support.
Sleeping with your neck supported will also help relieve sciatic pain. Sufficient support, like drifting off on the floor, is the key to proper alignment throughout your entire spine.
Using a pillow that is too soft or fluffy for your body type will only put additional strain on your spine and cause pain. Given the relationship between your spine and the sciatic nerve, a good pillow will come in handy.
Before going to bed, take a warm, relaxing bath.
If you have sciatica, finding a way to relax and unwind before bed is critical, and a nice bath is a great way to do so. Soaking in a warm tub stimulates the release of pain-relieving endorphins and relaxes the muscles that surround your sciatic nerve.
This type of relaxation works best in warm water. If the water is too hot or cold, it can be overstimulating and produce results that are far from what you want.
Apply ice to the affected area, especially on painful days.
When pain becomes too much for comfort, you may find relief by applying ice to the painful areas. Placing an ice bag or a cold pack on the lower spine or buttocks can help reduce swelling, which will help alleviate the shooting pain.
If you choose this method of pain relief, consult your doctor to find out how often and for how long they recommend using ice.
Before going to bed, stretch out any tense muscles.
Stretching is an important part of learning how to sleep comfortably with lower back pain and sciatica. Light stretching can help elongate and relax your muscles and joints in preparation for a good night’s sleep.
Stretches that target your legs, hips, and lower back are ideal for relieving sciatica and helping you fall asleep faster. Increased flexibility will also assist you in dealing with sciatica throughout the day by making movements less stressful and more fluid.
Get massages that are specifically designed for sciatic nerve pain.
Massages are frequently regarded as a luxury, but they work wonders in relieving sciatic nerve pain. Your doctor will almost certainly recommend a fantastic therapist who specialises in sciatica massages. She/He may also advise you to get massages on a regular basis for preventive maintenance and pain management.
There are also some massages you can do at home to help you fall asleep faster and more comfortably. Consider incorporating one or more into your bedtime routine to alleviate pain or discomfort.
a. Lower Back Massage While Seated
Rub your lower back toward your spine with your palms and thumbs. This is followed by downward motions towards and onto your buttocks. Wrap your fingers around your waist and press against your spine. If you feel pain, immediately reduce the pressure.
b. Lying Down Spinal Alignment Massage
Use your fists to apply pressure to either side of your lower back while lying on your back with your knees bent. For a few minutes, press your knuckles into your back with your body weight on top of your fists. After that, lie down in a foetal position for a few minutes.
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Consult your doctor about pain-relieving creams, patches, and other options.
Consulting your doctor about pain management is always a good idea, especially if none of our other suggestions are providing you with the necessary comfort and rest.
Your doctor may advise you to use pain-relieving creams or patches, which have been shown to be effective in many cases. They may also want to discuss additional treatment options and possible causes of your discomfort that aren’t related to sciatica.
Getting a Good Night’s Sleep When You Have Sciatica
This brings us to the end of our guide on how to sleep with sciatica. Keep in mind that everyone is affected differently by sciatic nerve pain. As a result, some of these tips may be quite effective at relieving pain for you, while others may appear to be ineffective.
We recommend combining the preceding tips until you find the best way to sleep with sciatica for your specific condition. Also, give the techniques at least three days before deciding whether they are right for you. It is not uncommon for effects to be delayed.
What exactly are you waiting for? Begin right away!
I would highly recommend you to check this video – Scientists: 91% Of Back Pain Caused By Neck Nerves (Do This For Instant Relief)