How Can I Sleep With Sciatica

Princess A.
14 Min Read
how to sleep with sciatica

How Can I Sleep With Sciatica: When you’re suffering from sciatica, the experience is not just painful, but also uncomfortable. This, however, can be lessened with the tips we’re gonna give you.

Though times occurring the same time, sciatic pain isn’t necessarily interchangeable with back pain.

Some risk factors of sciatica include:

  • age
  • obesity
  • occupation
  • prolonged sitting
  • diabetes

Table of Contents


What is Sciatica

Sciatica refers to back pain caused by a problem with the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is one of the biggest nerves that runs from the lower back down to the back of each leg.

How to sleep with Sciatica

To help you find relief and regain control of your sleep schedule, here are some ultimate tips for sleeping with sciatica:

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Sciatica Pain Relief Massage

Massage therapy can alleviate sciatica and help you get a good night’s sleep. An example is the knuckle pressure sciatica massage. To do this, you should lie on your back with your feet pressed on the floor and your knees bent.

Also, make your hands into fists then position them on both sides of the spine in your lower back. Your knuckles should be pressing on your back.

Keep this position for about a minute or two at the most. Lie in a fetal position by rolling on your side. Hold this pose for five minutes before you stand up. This way is how to sleep with sciatica.

Choose a Good Mattress

Pain relief for your lumbar spine problem can also be as simple as buying a proper mattress that will help provide support for your spine. 

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Memory foam, latex, and pocketed coil may be good choices, but if you are looking for pressure relief as well, then memory foam may be your best option.

Wear a Pain-Relieving Patch to Bed, or Use Capsaicin Creams

Few patients find increased relief, especially from localized intense pain, by trying pain-relieving patches and creams before bed. The Imbue Patch, in particular, lasts for eight hours.

It can also be applied to the side of your leg and your lower back at the beginning of the night, to reduce pain. Likewise, you may also try out some pain-relieving creams, like capsaicin or menthol.

Pick the Best Sleeping Position for Sciatica

The perfect way to sleep with sciatica is to look for a sleeping position that you can work with, and abide by it.

If it is possible for you to lie on your back, lift your knees with a few pillows stacked between them and the bed.
If you sleep better on your side, bend your top knee and pull it towards your head. Prop your knee with two or three pillows, so that your hips are squared while you sleep.

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Go into a Fetal Position

If your spinal column has a herniated disc, the best way to ease the pain is by going into a fetal position when you sleep. First, lie down on your back before rolling to either your left or right side.

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Bring your knees toward the chest while curling your torso towards them. Switch sides to help reduce any imbalance. Sleeping in the fetal position helps open up the space found between your vertebrae.

Keep your Knees Elevated

It is recommended that you put a pillow or two under your knees for better support. But for most people, this elevation may not be enough to assist them to sleep in their comfort zone.

If you are one of these people, the best thing that you can do is to bend your knees while you lie on your back. Search for the perfect knee elevation that can help keep you pain-free and comfortable.

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Afterward, add extra pillows to the mix until you have attained your desired elevation.

Take a Bath Before Going to Bed

A warm (not hot) bath is not just useful in alleviating pain associated with sciatica—it is also effective in relieving general pain types as well.

This is because a warm bath can help stimulate the production of endorphins (hormones that fight off pain) in the body.

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It also promotes the relaxation of muscles that surround the sciatic nerve. You might also love to see Why Sleeping On the Floor Is Good for Our Back.

Sciatica in Pregnancy

Unlike your average pregnancy back pain, sciatica in pregnancy is normally a sharp pain, tingling, or weakness that starts in the back or buttocks and goes all the way to the back of your legs.

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Sciatica will likely occur during the third trimester when both you and your baby are bulking up (it can also develop earlier, but it’s not common). A large percentage of women usually feel pain just on one side, though you may experience pain on both legs.

Some women experience sciatica as a short-term side effect of pregnancy. This is because:

  • Your growing belly and breasts shift your center of gravity forward and stretch your lordotic curve (the dip just above your butt). This can cause the muscles in your buttocks and pelvic area to tighten up and pinch the sciatic nerve.
  • Weight gain and increased fluid retention can put pressure on the sciatic nerve where it passes through the pelvis, compressing it.
  • Your expanding uterus might also press down on the sciatic nerve in the lower part of your spine.
  • Your baby’s head can rest directly on the nerve when he starts to settle into the proper birth position in the third trimester.
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How can I sleep with Sciatica during Pregnancy?

  • Sleep on the side of your body that’s pain-free. For example, if you feel pain on your left side, lie down on your right side. That’s still okay, even though the “best” sleeping position for pregnant women is typically said to be the left side.
  • Do some pelvic tilts with your Kegel exercises — they’ll help strengthen your core muscles and can help reduce inflammation.
  • Swimming can also take off some of the pressure since the buoyancy of the water temporarily relieves the spine of the pregnancy weight
  • Try to gain pregnancy weight at a steady pace, since a major jump in pounds could put undue pressure on the sciatic nerve. Though the amount you should gain is specific to you, women who were a normal BMI before getting pregnant should generally aim to gain around 3 to 4 pounds in the first trimester, up to 14 more pounds in the second trimester, and about 10 more pounds in the third trimester, for a total weight gain in pregnancy of 25 to 35 pound.
  • If the pain is severe, talk to your doctor, who may recommend acetaminophen in a dosage that will take the edge off the pain but keep you and your baby safe.
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Read Also: How Can I Test for Diabetes at Home?

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Myths and Facts about Sciatica

  • Myth: All Leg Pain Qualifies as Sciatica Fact: Most people believe that any leg pain qualifies as sciatica, but that’s not true.
    Leg pain can be induced by vascular issues, muscle strains, cellulitis, or a different nerve being irritated, such as the femoral nerve, which would cause pain in the front of the leg.
    A true sciatic symptom runs from the mid-buttock down the back of the leg, commonly past the knee and down through the calf.
  • Myth: We Don’t Know What Causes Sciatica
    Fact: Sciatica occurs when the sciatic nerve becomes pinched or compressed, and that typically is caused by a bulging or herniated disk between the vertebrae in the lower spine.
    It can also be caused by a bone spur, or a bony growth, on the spine itself or by spinal stenosis, a narrowing of the spinal canal. In rare cases, a spinal tumor can compress the nerve, causing sciatic pain
  • Myth: Surgery Is the Only Way to Truly Remedy Sciatica
    Fact: Most cases of sciatica resolve within about six weeks and do not need surgery.
    Other treatments, including physical therapy and epidural injections, can be useful. But if these treatments fail, or, in rare cases, where there is severe weakness, numbness, or pain, surgery can substantially and durably improve sciatic pain.
  • Myth: Sciatica Cannot Be Prevented
    Fact: Not all cases of sciatica can be prevented, but staying active, and using proper form during activities; can go a long way toward reducing the incidence. Sciatica and sciatica recurrence can be prevented by practicing good posture, minimizing sitting, managing weight, maintaining good hamstring flexibility, and maintaining good spinal alignment.
  • Myth: If You Have Sciatica, You Should Stay in Bed and Rest
    Fact: Most patients do better if they remain active and avoid excessive rest.
    Numerous studies have found that there is little to no benefit to staying in bed compared with staying active for people with sciatica.
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Sciatica Treatment Without Surgery?

As many as 4 out of every 10 people will get sciatica, or irritation of the sciatic nerve, at some point in their life. This nerve comes from either side of the lower spine and travels through the pelvis and buttocks.

Then the nerve passes through the back of each upper leg before it divides at the knee into branches that go to the feet. This makes many people think surgery could be the only option for treating Sciatica.

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Most people with sciatica get better in a few weeks with at-home remedies. If the pain you feel is fair and it isn’t hindering you from doing your daily activities, your doctor will first recommend trying some combination of these basic solutions.

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Physical Therapy

A physical therapist can develop a stretching and exercise routine for you, and also help improve your posture to take the pressure off the sciatic nerves.

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You can help relieve your sciatica pain with lower-back stretches. Exercise: Inflammation can help improve when you’re in motion, so short walks can also be a good idea.

Your physical therapist can make sure your form is in a perfect situation so you don’t injure yourself any further.

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Limited Bed Rest

Three days off your feet usually does the trick, and it’s important to be on a firm mattress or the floor. After that, it’s best to return to your normal activities.

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Hot and Cold Packs

Apply each for several minutes on your lower back, a few times a day. Cold packs first for a few days, then heat packs.

Alternative Therapies

Many people have this belief that alternative therapies like yoga, massage, biofeedback, and acupuncture help with sciatica.

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Your first option should be over-the-counter pain relievers. Acetaminophen and NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) like aspirin, ibuprofen, and naproxen are very helpful, but you shouldn’t use them for extended periods without talking to your doctor.

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