What are the best ways to sleep with Sciatica? Or rather, the sleeping position that will relieve all the unbearable pain?
Sciatica is a type of pain which people feel from the lower back and on down the legs.
It happens when the sciatic nerve, which is the longest nerve in the human body, gets irritated or inflamed. It affects the spinal cord clear down through the person’s buttocks, and the entire length of their legs and could be due to the sciatic nerve being compressed.
Sciatica is quite common, and some of the things that cause it include:
- The spinal canal in a person’s lower back becomes narrow due to lumbar spinal stenosis.
- The person has degenerative disc disease or DDD. This causes the discs in the vertebrae of the spine to break down and then they rub onto one another. It is usually caused by the normal aging process.
- The person has spondylolisthesis, which happens if a one vertebra slips overtop of another vertebra.
- He person has muscle spasms in their back or the buttocks.
- A pregnant women could get it due to the strains of pregnancy on the body’s structure.
- Additional reasons could be being overweight, the overuse of high heeled shoes, or sleeping on a too soft mattress.
Whatever the cause, it causes severe pain that can make it very hard to sleep, and so people ask what is the best way to sleep with sciatica or lower back pain. Here are some possible answers and solutions to that question:
- Elevate the knees with a pillow
Sleeping with the knees in an elevated position can sometimes help relieve sciatica pain because it minimizes the amount of pressure that’s put on the lumbar discs. To elevate the knees, put a pillow between the knees. There are special kinds of pillows for this purpose, but you can use regular pillows as well.
- Take a warm bath prior to bedtime
Taking a warm bath helps some sciatica sufferers. This works because it relaxes the muscles and encourages endorphins to be released. The release of these endorphins can help get rid of the pain long enough for the person to fall asleep. So take a long soak in a warm bath and maybe you will be able to sleep. Make sure the water is not too hot.
- Use a heating pad or hot water bottle
You can also try using a heating pad or hot water bottle at night or by wearing one of the popular heat wraps meant for back pain. Only use the type of heating pad that will turn itself off after a couple of hours and use it on low heat. You don’t want to burn yourself or accident catch your bed on fire if it shorts out.
- Get a new mattress
Sleeping on a mattress that is too soft causes some people to get sciatica pain. So, if that you’re your scenario, then try buying a firmer mattress or putting a hard board under your mattress to give it more support. You could also try getting rid of your box springs and putting your current mattress directly onto the bed frame.
- Find a better sleeping position
Some people get sciatica relief when they start sleeping in a different position. Many people say that the best position to get rid of back pain is to sleep on their back or on their side. If you choose to lay on your back, try adding a pillow under your knees and if you try sleeping on your side, prop up the knees with a pillow for best results.
- Buy a better neck pillow
In some cases your sciatica pain could be due to having a bad neck pillow or one that is too soft or fluffy and doesn’t provide any support. It’s best to keep the upper part of the spine straight when you sleep, so be sure to buy a neck pillow with good support.
- Try pain relief creams – Pain relief creams that contain capsaicin or menthol help to relieve back pain, and could help you sleep better if you suffer from sciatica pain.
- Ice the painful area before bedtime
If heat doesn’t work for you, some people have had success getting sciatica relief from some form of cold treatment. Try putting an ice pack or a cold pack on the painful area around 20 minutes prior to bedtime. This can give temporary pain relief so you can fall asleep.
- Try doing some stretching prior to bedtime
Sometimes you have sciatica pain due to stiff muscles. If this fits you scenario, try doing a few light stretching exercises prior to your bedtime. You can find lists of such exercises online or talk to your doctor.
- Incorporate a good sleep hygiene routine
Sleep hygiene means the things you do prior to going to bed. If you look at your computer or phone screen all day long, it can actually work to mess up your sleep. Or, if you exercise strenuously prior to bed it can get you too heated up to sleep. It’s better to do things that help your body relax so you won’t be in pain. Try drinking some nice herbal tea or doing some kind of meditation.
- Try forms of sciatica massage
Another great way to relieve sciatica pain so you can sleep is to start using a form of sciatica massage. You can get special kinds of back devices to do this, or you can use a tennis ball and rub it on tension points in the back.
In Conclusion: What If even the Best Ways to Sleep / Sleeping Positions Doesn’t Help?
If all else fails, you may need to see a doctor or a chiropractor. They may be able to prescribe some sort of treatment or medications that will provide you relief from sciatica pain so you can sleep better. This could involve some type of pain medication or medication to help you sleep. They also may prescribe physical therapy, or something such as steroid injections or prescribe a TENS machine to give you relief.
For self relief, Ian’s program has been proven to be effective to manage sciatica.
All in all these are examples of the best way to sleep with sciatica or lower back pain.