Millions of people are affected by lower back pain and sciatica. In most cases, the pain can be managed with conservative treatments such as medication, physical therapy, and exercise.
If you’re looking for ways to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica, this post has you covered!
We will discuss the best sleeping positions that can help relieve discomfort and ways to relax the muscles in your back. Let’s begin.
What is sciatica?
Sciatica is a condition that occurs when the sciatic nerve, which runs from the lower back down the leg, becomes compressed or irritated. It is often caused by a herniated disc, bone spur, or spinal stenosis (spinal canal narrowing). Treatment typically involves pain relief and physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the spine. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases to relieve nerve pressure. However, most people with sciatica can find relief with conservative treatment.
Proven Tips for Sleeping with Sciatica
While there is no one-size-fits-all solution for sciatica, some proven tips can help you get a good night’s sleep.
Use a Mattress Designed for Back Pain and Sciatica
First, you need a mattress that provides adequate support and comfort. A mattress that is too soft will not help your back and may worsen your pain. Conversely, a mattress that is too firm will be uncomfortable, leading to additional pain.
The best mattress for people with back pain is a medium-firm memory foam mattress. You’d want to select a memory foam mattress that contours the body and provides support while relieving pressure points. Consequently, they are suitable for back pain sufferers and people with sciatica.
Also, an adjustable bed base can be a game-changer when sleeping with back pain. This type of bed allows you to adjust the head and foot of the bed. This way, you can find a comfortable position for a good night’s rest. If you are in doubt, you’d want to consult a spine specialist to see what product and features they recommend for you specifically.
Choose the Right Sleeping Position
Back pain and sciatica can make it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position. However, some positions are better than others when relieving pain.
Sleep on your side with a pillow between your knees
Here is a position that is good for people with back pain, including sciatica. This position helps to take the pressure off your spine and allows your muscles to relax. Simply lie on your side with a pillow between your knees to get into this position. You can also put a pillow under your head for additional support.
Sleep on your back with a pillow under your knees
If you’re a back sleeper, it’s important to maintain the natural curve in your spine. You can do this by placing a pillow under your knees. This will help relieve pressure on your lower back and may help reduce pain. If you don’t have a knee pillow, you can use a regular pillow or rolled-up towel.
Use a full-body pillow
Another way to sleep comfortably on your back is to use a full-body pillow. This type of pillow supports your head, neck, and back. It can also help keep your spine in alignment. It can be a great option if you’re pregnant or have other health conditions that make it difficult to sleep on your side.
Stretch before going to bed
You can reduce back pain and sciatica by stretching before bed. This will help loosen up the muscles in your back and may make it easier to find a comfortable position. A few simple stretches that can help are:
The cat-cow: This is a simple and effective way to help relieve back pain. To do the stretch, start by getting on all fours, with your hands and knees aligned with your shoulders and hips. As you inhale, arch your back and tilt your chin towards the ceiling, letting your belly sink towards the floor. This is the cow position. As you exhale, round your back and tuck your chin towards your chest, drawing your belly up towards your spine. Return to the starting position and repeat the stretch 10-20 times.
- Start on your hands and knees with your spine in a neutral position.
- Return to your heels as you bring your forehead to the ground.
- Stretch out your arms in front of you.
- Maintain this position for 30 seconds.
- Lie on your back with both legs extended.
- Keeping your left leg straight, bring your right knee up to your chest and place a strap or towel around the back of your thigh.
- Gently pull your right leg towards your chest until you feel a stretch in the back of your thigh.
- Hold this position for 30 seconds and then repeat with the other leg.
When to see a doctor
If you’re experiencing back pain or sciatica that is severe, persistent, or worsens over time, it’s important to see a doctor. These may be signs of a more serious condition that requires medical treatment. A spine specialist can help diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend the best treatment options.
We hope you find this article helpful. However, the best way to sleep with lower back pain or sciatica is on your side with a pillow between your knees. You’d want to experiment with different positions to find the one most comfortable for you. Good luck!