Are you longing for a peaceful snooze for ages but aren’t able to have one due to sciatica? Then thank the stars as you have hit the right tab. Here we are all lined up to help you figure out the best position to sleep with sciatica to get some shut-eye.
There is no second thought that sciatica can easily screw with the sleep stitch of anyone. It is a medical condition in which the sciatic nerve is compressed, resulting in terrible pain that starts from the pelvis and travels all the way down to the knee.
So, stick by us till the end, and blow by blow, become well abreast with the best position to sleep with sciatica.
What Causes Sciatica?
The most common cause, according to the National Institutes of Health, is a herniated disc in the lower back, lumbar stenosis, or tumors. Apart from it, some other known causes are
- Degenerative disc disease
- Muscle spasms
- Spinal infection
A thing that remains common in all the causes is shooting pain along the sciatic nerve, typically on one side.
When you sleep, the body becomes relaxed, and some important processes like pain regulation occur. But unfortunately, people suffering from sciatica can’t lie down properly due to intense pain. As a result, less sleep exacerbates the pain intensity, and research done in Korea provides a shred of evidence for it.
Sciatica flare-ups make a good quality sleep like a dream. The pain exacerbates in every second position you opt for.
Finding a comfortable position is more like a trial and error. However, through extensive surveys and research, we have come up with some positions to sleep with sciatica.
So, let’s shed some light on them.
The first position that actually does wonders is lying on your side. By doing it right, the pressure on your compressed sciatic nerve, herniated disc, and muscles is removed. As a result, the intensity of pain decreases by many folds.
However, to avail real benefits from this position, it is important to keep
- The spin aligned
- The hips straight
- Knees curled up towards the chest at an angle of 90-degrees
So, to achieve this position, follow the given steps:
- Lie on a hard mattress with the injured leg on top.
- If you find that a gap persists between your waist and mattress, place a small pillow so that the natural alignment of your spine remains there.
2. Supine Position
In the supine position, all your body parts touch the bed or mattress. As a result, the entire body weight becomes distributed, and the spine becomes relaxed due to reduced pressure.
To achieve this sleeping position,
- lie on your back, and make sure that your whole body, from head to legs, is straight and is in contact with the bed
- Then slowly elevate your knees, and start to place pillows beneath the knees.
- Keep on adding pillows till you find the most soothing position.
- Moreover, if you think there is a gap between your waist and mattress, place a cushion there.
3. Fetal Position
If the reason behind sciatica is spinal stenosis or herniated disc, fetal position will help you out. In this, the body is curved to obtain a C shape, due to which the narrowed space between the vertebrae and the spine opens up. As a result, the pain decreases to a huge extent.
To mimic fetal position, follow the given guideline correctly:
- Lie on the side with the injured leg on the top.
- Place a cushion between your knees and one under your waist too.
- Now, slightly bring your knees towards the chest to make a C.
But some people claim that it worsens the pain. If you experience the same, try some other position we discussed earlier.
4. Sleeping with a Towel under your Back
Another best position to sleep with sciatica is putting a towel under your back and lying straight. It comes with two benefits:
- The spin is straight
- There remains no gap between the mattress and your back
As a result, there is no pressure on the compressed nerve, and you can easily enjoy the position.
To attain this position,
- Lie down straight on the bed
- Put a cushion under your head and a towel under your lower back.
5. Sleeping directly on the Floor
Last but not least comes sleeping flat on the floor. It helps keep the spine aligned in a neutral position. Actually, it has been proved in an article by Journal Sleep Health that hard mattresses and hard surfaces support the back, helping treat back pain and sciatica.
So, please take out a yoga mat or plain sheet, and lie down on it. Moreover, you can also opt for other positions directly on the bed. It will turn out to be more effective and pain-relieving.
Now that we have discussed the best positions to sleep in Sciatica let’s briefly eye on the worst positions which you should avoid. These include:
- Never sleep on your stomach
- Don’t sleep in a position that twists or bends your spine and hips.
Where the sleep positions have been known to mitigate the pain significantly, here are some additional tips that are known to help treat Sciatica:
- Avoid soft mattresses, and opt for hard surfaces that help in neutral alignment.
- Place a body pillow to prevent twisting the spine and changing sides.
- Take some natural sleep aids.
- Take a warm bath before sleeping.
- Practicing yoga. A study done in 2018 showed that 76.8% of people who practiced yoga for 30 days experienced a significant reduction in lower back pain.
Conclusion of the best position to sleep with sciatica
Sciatica is undoubtedly a terrible condition that unfortunately affects nearly 35 to 45% of people during their lifetime.
However, by following the best position to sleep with sciatica, the pain intensity can be reduced to a level that you can enjoy a sound sleep.
But, if pain persists, it is better to consult the doctor. And this covers the umbrella of Sciatica. Now it is your turn to find the best position to sleep with sciatica for you.