How to Sleep with Sciatica: The Best Way to Get Relief


Do you suffer from sciatica? If so, you know how painful and frustrating it can be. Sleeping is often difficult when dealing with this condition, but there are some things that you can do to make it a bit easier. This blog post will discuss the ideal approach to sleep with sciatica and receive pain relief.

What is Sciatica?

Sciatica is pain that comes from your sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve starts in your pelvis and goes down your buttock and leg and down to the knee. It connects with other nerves that go down the calf and to the foot at the knee.

Sciatica is different from lower back pain or having a thrown back. Lower back pain is only in your back, and your back hurts when you sit. But if you have sciatica, you might feel:

  • There is a sharp, searing, or shooting pain from the lower back to the foot.
  • One or both legs or feet may have muscle weakness.
  • One or both legs are numb.
  • A pins-and-needles sensation in the thigh, leg, foot, and toe.

The location of sciatica pain varies depending on which section of the nerve is injured. You may experience pain or tingling down the front, back, or side of your leg. The discomfort can be continual or just when you sit or lie in particular situations.

First Step: Find Out What’s Causing Your Sciatica Pain.

Sciatica can be relieved by figuring out the cause. This usually requires some detective work and might require a visit to your doctor or physical therapist.

Sciatica is caused by a variety of things.

  • Bulging or slipped disk.
  • The nerve that has been crushed or inflamed.
  • Muscle tension in the back or hips.
  • Vertebrae (spinal bones) that are out of alignment.
  • Spinal stenosis is a condition that affects the spine (narrowing of the spine).
  • A fall or an accident might cause damage to the sciatic nerve.
  • Near the sciatic nerve, there is a tumor or growth (in rare cases)

The way that you got sciatica affects what positions or activities bother you. This will also help you determine which sleeping positions are the most comfortable for you. For example, someone with a bulging disc may favor back sleeping, whereas stenosis may prefer side sleeping.

Experimenting With Sleeping Positions

There is no one perfect sleeping position that always helps with sciatica pain. But you don’t have to suffer every night. You can find out which sleeping position is ideal for you with the help of a physical therapist.

Start With Good Spinal Alignment

Many people find that sleeping with a straight back is more comfortable. This can help to keep your spine in a neutral position.

When you sleep, make sure your head, shoulders, and hips are in a straight line. Place a little pillow underneath your neck and head, but not your shoulders. You may need to position a pillow beneath your knees to protect your back from arching too far. Consider what hurts or feels nice once you’re in this posture. From there, you can adjust your sleeping posture.

Try Side Sleeping

Because it is more comfortable, some people prefer to sleep on their sides. This can take some pressure off your sciatic nerve, especially if you sleep on the side opposite of where it hurts.

If you are sleeping on your side, putting a pillow between your knees can be more comfortable. This will help to align your hips and take pressure off your pelvis. Another approach is to support your back by placing a pillow behind your back. This will keep you from rolling onto your back while you sleep.

Curve It Forward

If spinal stenosis is causing your sciatica, you may find relief by bending forward slightly. This position widens the spine’s narrow gaps.

You can do the same thing at night to get some restful sleep.:

  • Using a sizeable wedge-shaped pillow under your head and upper back can help to improve your sleep quality.
  • Sleeping on a reclining chair or adjustable bed for sciatica is an excellent way to relieve pain.
  • Sleeping on your side with your knees curled up in the fetal position.

Try Stomach Sleeping, If Arching Your Back Feels Good,

Some people find that sleeping on their stomachs helps them to feel better. This allows them to arch their back, which can be comfortable for some people.

If sleeping on your stomach doesn’t cause back or neck pain, you can usually keep doing it. For fine folks, elevating their spine actually helps with sciatica relief. If this sleeping posture is comfortable for you, stick with it.

Is a New Mattress or Pillow Necessary for Sciatica?

Sciatica pain can manifest itself in a variety of ways. No mattress can help everyone. Some people like sleeping on the floor or on a firm mattress. Others need a soft, comfortable pillow-top mattress to get any sleep.

If you have sciatica, you don’t need to buy a new mattress right away. Try different positions on the mattress; you have to find comfortable. You can also try using pillows or a mattress topper to make it more comfortable. Once you figure out what helps, then you can decide if a firmer or softer mattress might work better for you.

Don’t Tolerate Sciatica Pain.

If you have problems with your sciatica, don’t just assume that you have to live with it. Talk to your healthcare provider about possible solutions, including a referral for physical therapy.

A few sessions with a physical therapist can be beneficial for many people. Your therapist can help you figure out the best sleeping positions and activities for you. Sciatica is a particular condition, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution. With the proper medical treatment, you can get relief from sciatica pain.

Frequently Asked Questions about Best Way To Sleep With Sciatica

Should I Sleep on the Side of My Sciatica?

Some people find that sleeping on their side is more comfortable. Sleeping on the side opposite of where you have pain can help take some of the pressure off your sciatic nerve. Another option is to place a pillow between your knees as you sleep on your side.

Is Sitting or Lying Down Better for Sciatica?

Suppose you are experiencing sciatica pain while lying on your back. In that case, you can try elevating your legs to take the pressure off your lower spine. This will also open up the nerve passageways.

Can’t Sleep Because of Sciatica?

Sciatic pain can make it hard to feel comfortable and fall asleep. The symptoms don’t go away just because it is time for you to go to bed. Often, throbbing pain in your foot or burning sensation in your calf can cause you to wake up abruptly in the middle of the night.

Should I Sleep on the Floor With Sciatica?

If you are experiencing sciatic pain, you may want to consider getting a new mattress. Sleeping on the floor can help to alleviate the pain. Experts recommend using a yoga mat or towel to avoid contact with the floor.

Is Walking Good for Sciatic Nerve Pain?

Walking can help reduce sciatic pain. This is because when you walk, your body releases pain-fighting endorphins and reduces inflammation. However, walking with a bad posture may make your sciatica symptoms worse.

Is Sciatica Worse in the Morning?

Sciatica is often worse for people in the morning. This is because of the way they sleep. The spine lays in a position that can irritate nerve roots when you’re lying on your back.

Does Elevating Legs Help Sciatica?

However, if your pain is severe, it can be challenging to find a comfortable position and fall asleep and/or stay asleep through the night. Elevating your knees using a pillow in bed can help alleviate sciatica symptoms.

How Long Does Sciatica Last on Average?

Acute sciatica pain goes away within 1 – 2 weeks for most patients. In some cases, people can take care of the pain at home. But if someone has had the pain for a long time, they might have chronic sciatica pain.

What Causes Sciatica To Flare Up?

Negative emotions can lead to sciatica pain. When stressed or depressed, our brain may not give specific nerves enough oxygen. This can lead to pain, weakness, and tingling sensations in the leg.

To find out more about how to get a better night’s sleep while suffering from sciatica pain, click here.


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