Are you waking up with sciatica pain? Is that burning sensation in your calf keeping you awake? Is the throbbing pain preventing you from falling asleep altogether?
Sciatica pain is terrible and the constant pain will negatively affect the quality and quantity of sleep you are getting. All hope is not lost though, there are certain sleeping positions and memory foam contour pillows that you can try out to ease the pain associated with sciatica and help you, finally, get a good nights sleep.
5 Ways to Alleviate Sciatica While Sleeping
- Keep your knees elevated. Sciatica is aggravated when one of the sciatic nerve roots in your back becomes compressed or irritated. Elevating your knees while you sleep can help to alleviate some of this pain. It minimizes the pressure your lumbar discs place on the nerve roots. Elevate your knees by doing the following;
- Lie flat on your back, keep your heels and buttocks on the bed and bend your knees to the ceiling.
- Slide a pillow under your knees for added support, you might need to add more than one pillow. Alternatively, you could add a wedge pillow under your knees for support.
- If this position does not offer you any relief, remove the pillows and try another position.
- Try a warm bath before you go to sleep. A warm bath releases pain-fighting endorphins and relaxes the muscles around your sciatic nerve roots. If you are going to try a warm bath, you need to make sure the water is not too hot and soak in the warm water for a while. You could also try using a hot water bottle under your lower back to ease your pain and relax your muscles.
- Replace (or ditch) your mattress. It is possible that it is your mattress causing lower back pain. A firm mattress works the best for people who suffer from lower back pain when sleeping. If your mattress is old or too soft, you may want to consider replacing it with a firmer option. Some people have found relief from sciatica by sleeping on the floor. There are differing opinions on whether this does actually help though. If you do want to try sleeping on the floor, here are a few suggestions.
- Sleep on a yoga mat or towel, not directly on the floor.
- Try it out for at least a week.
- Work on your core. Your core is not just your abdomen muscles, it includes the muscles in your hips and back. Adding exercises to your daily routine that specifically work on strengthening your core can decrease the chances of sciatica or lower back pain in general. It is advisable to check with a medical professional before starting new exercises.
- Apply ice. If applying heat n the form a hot bath or water bottle does not help, try ice packs. Placing ice packs on your lower spine, tailbone, and buttocks will help to reduce inflammation and pain. You can do this after you have been sitting for extended periods or just before you go to sleep.
How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain
The best way to sleep with lower back pain is in the sleep position that you find most comfortable and this may vary from person to person. Most of these positions require you to sleep on a good quality sciatica pillow.
The fetal position. One of the recommended sleeping positions to relieve back pain is to curl up into a fetal position. This position helps to open up space between your vertebrae and will ease the pain you are experiencing. The fetal position requires you to be sleeping on your side with your knees pulled up towards your chest.
A neck pillow. Sleep on a good quality memory foam neck pillow. If your neck is pushed too far forward your spinal alignment will be wrong and this will aggravate your lower back pain. Asses your sleeping position and then find the right pillow for your neck to ensure your spine is aligned correctly.
A pillow between your knees. For some people, the best sleeping position for lower back pain is adding a pillow in between their knees. A leg pillow is a nifty little pillow that you pop in between your knees that helps to keep your body still and correctly aligned. It helps you to maintain the correct posture while you are sleeping.
Sleeping sitting up. Is it bad to sleep sitting up? If you do suffer from sciatica you may find significant relief and benefit fro sleeping in a reclined chair or a bed that could be adjusted to allow you to sleep sitting up.
Sciatica pain is a pain that radiates down your side and often results in chronic pain.
If you have lower back pain sleeping can be uncomfortable as you try to figure out the best sleep position. You might be tossing and turning through the night as you try to see which is the best side to sleep on. If you do suffer from sciatica, try out a few different sleep positions until you find the right position for you. Investing in a good mattress and a pillow that has been designed to help with sciatica will also help to alleviate some of your lower back pain.