Sciatica is a type of pain in the lower back, and it affects a hefty portion of the world’s population, and there is no absolute way to prevent it. It is almost impossible to sleep with lower back pain of this kind unless it is very moderate. Since a large number of people around the world suffer from this condition, it is sensible to know about it beforehand so you can recognize the symptoms if you ever come across them.
What Causes Sciatica?
Before we discuss sciatica and its causes, you need to understand that sciatica is not a disease.
It is usually seen as a symptom of certain diseases and conditions.
Sciatica itself is the pain caused by the irritation of the sciatic nerve. This pain can be mild, moderate, or severe.
There is a myriad of reasons for the sciatic nerve being irritated. For example, the most common reason for sciatic pain is a herniated disc in the spine.
Other reasons include narrowing or compression of the spine known as stenosis, spondylolisthesis or a slipped disc, muscle spasms in the back or buttocks, or even pregnancy.
The sciatic nerve is the longest and widest nerve in your entire body, which is why it’s compression and irritation can affect a wide area of your body, including the lower back, the buttocks, and even the legs.
The compression of the nerve shows symptoms such as pain, inflammation, and numbness.
10 Simple Tips to Sleep With Lower Back Pain and Sciatica
The most prominent problem with this condition is that patients can’t sleep with sciatica. Certain sleeping positions trigger the condition and make it worse, so people often try to find the optimum solution.
1- Find The Best Position to Sleep In
It takes a little bit of effort to find the best sleep position with sciatica. The consensus states that you should try to sleep on your back because that will keep the sciatic nerve furthest from irritation.
However, the pain is relieved differently for everyone.
You can also try sleeping on your side. Hold a pillow beneath you or use a tennis ball on the side to prevent yourself from rolling over to the painful side.
2- Find The Best Surface to Sleep In
It is suggested that the best surface to sleep with lower back pain is a firm surface, like a firm, orthopedically friendly mattress.
In case you need to be sure about investing in a firm mattress, try lying down on the firmest mattresses in your house and see if they help with the pain.
You can try the mattresses in your guest room or even flip your current mattress to get to the hard side.
You can also try sleeping on the floor since it is the hardest surface you can sleep on. However, try to put a large towel, a sheet, or a mat underneath you to be away from germs.
3- Keep Your Knees Elevated
When you lift your knees, you minimize the pressure on the roots of the sciatic nerve.
Lie on your back, raise your knees, and prop them up on a pillow.
Keep adding pillows until you reach the most comfortable position.
You can also lie on your sides in this position. Find your comfort zone, and then try to sleep in it.
It may take some getting used to sleeping with your knees lifted, but it will be better than sleeping with lower back pain.
Give this position some time before you give up on it to be sure if it doesn’t work for you.
4- Do Not Sleep on The Painful Side
Try to avoid sleeping on your stomach as much as you can. It straightens your spine and can irritate the sciatic nerve even more than it already did.
If you must sleep on your stomach end, invest in a mattress of medium firmness so that you do not lay flat and lose the natural curvature of your spine.
Other than that, avoid lying down on your painful side.
Of course, the pain will help you with that when you are conscious, but can you avoid staying off of this side when you are sleeping?
If you cannot avoid tossing and turning in your sleep, put a tennis ball, a cushion, or a pillow on the painful side, which will prevent you from rolling over.
5- Perform a Mild Exercise Routine Before Bed
When we say mild exercise routine, we mean simple stretches. Please do not perform a strenuous workout routine before going to bed since that will do your sciatica more harm than good.
One thing that helped erase my back pain was sciatica stretches.
Most sciatica and lower back pain stretches require you to lay flat on your back, so you don’t even need to get up from your position to continue with this exercise.
- Raise your knees to your chest, hold them as close as you comfortably can for thirty seconds, and lay them back down. Repeat 5-10 times.
- Raise your knees to touch the shoulder opposite to it. Hold it as close as you can for thirty seconds and release it. Repeat this exercise 5-10 times.
- Raise your knee at a right angle and grab the thigh with both your hands. Place the ankle of the other leg above the knee. Hold the position for thirty seconds and release. Repeat 5-10 times.
You can find many other sciatica exercises online. Make sure you do not strain yourself while performing any of them.
6- Take a Warm Bath
Warm baths are very well known for putting a person right to sleep after they enjoy it.
Even if you do not fall asleep immediately after the bath, you will be in a peaceful state of mind since the warm water helps to release endorphins.
Other than that, it keeps you away from bacteria at night time which can often be detrimental to your health.
Avoid cold showers and hot showers or baths since they will do more harm than good and disturb your sleep cycle.
7- Create a Peaceful Sleeping Environment
Make sure that the environment you are planning to sleep in is appropriate.
Do not sleep in an area that is prone to irritating blue light from the television or loud noises.
Other than that, try not to use your phone or laptop right before you fall asleep since they will strain your eyes and make it difficult for you to fall asleep as well restfully.
Make sure you are completely relaxed before you fall asleep.
8- Get Sciatic Massages
Many salons and medical health centers offer special massages for lower back pain and conditions like sciatica.
Book an appointment for yourself and see what the hype is.
You will be sure to have a more restful sleep at night.
If you cannot spare the trouble of going to a healthcare center, you can look up sciatic massage techniques online and ask a loved one to help you out with it.
9- Hot and Cold Treatments
Heat therapy includes warm baths and warm packs that you can apply in the area that you are experiencing the most pain.
You can also ice the painful area just before you go to sleep.
10- Neck and Body Pillows
Try to invest in a good neck pillow or a body pillow so your body can get all the extra support that it needs to relieve pressure from the pain-causing area.
Using a neck pillow and a body pillow will open you up to new sleep positions with sciatica, and you can experiment till you find the best one.
Best Sleeping Positions for Back Pain and Sciatica
It is very hard to sleep with lower back pain, but you need to find the best solution.
The simplest position you can sleep on when experiencing lower back pain or sciatica is sleeping flat on your back.
You can also elevate your knees and prop them up on pillows for more support.
Sleeping with the aid of neck and body pillows is also a good option.
There is no problem with sleeping on your side other than that of tossing and turning in your bed.
Why is Sciatica Pain Worse at Night?
Sciatica pain is at its absolute worse at night because that is the time you are lying down.
There is a lot more pressure on the sciatic nerve when you are lying down than there is when you are sitting or standing.
You can get sciatica nerve pain relief at night by finding the best position to sleep in and by taking pain killers and other precautions we have already mentioned.
How Do You Sleep With Lower Back Pain During Pregnancy?
It is common to experience discomfort and all kinds of back pains during pregnancy.
When you are sleeping with sciatica during a pregnancy term, it is much more complicated since two factors are limiting your sleeping position.
Most painkillers are also contraindicated during pregnancy, so you will need to go for alternative methods of care to better your sleep.
You will, therefore, have to go for more comprehensive methods of treatment like acupuncture, physical therapy, prenatal massage and yoga, and trying out many more positions that do not compromise your back or your uterus.
Does Sleeping on the Floor Help Lower Back Pain?
It is possible that sleeping on the floor with sciatica pain can reduce the pain to a certain extent.
It keeps the spine in its natural position and provides the hardest surface for you to lay flat on your back.
However, the only way to be sure about it is by trying to sleep on the floor by yourself and seeing how well it works for you.
Erase My Back Pain
There are virtually hundreds of ways you can relieve yourself from lower back pain but there is one ancient technique that will help you relieve your muscles of all the pain and even the potential of pain.
You can check it out on Erase My Back Pain, a program that makes use of ancient stretching techniques that will get rid of all the pressure in your lower back and give you a restful night’s sleep as well.