girl lying in hospital. sleeping position with sciatica

Sleeping position with sciatica. How to Sleep Comfortably

The term “sciatica” refers to the pain experienced when the sciatic nerve is compressed as a result of inflammation or other spinal abnormalities. One common complaint we hear from people with sciatica is that it prevents them from sleeping at night. Looking for the best sleeping position with sciatica? This post covers all you need to know about finding relief and comfort from your pain.

  • Having sciatica is not only painful but also uncomfortable. In addition to having trouble learning to stand, walk, and sit, many people who experience sciatica or sciatic pain when lying down also have trouble learning how to sleep.

Some people with sciatica worry that they may never be able to get a good night’s rest again, and this can lead them to experience anxiety right before bed.

Table of Contents

What exactly is sciatica, exactly?

When the sciatic nerve is pinched, inflamed, or damaged, the result is a painful condition known as sciatica. The sciatic nerve travels from the lower back, down the back of each leg, and into each knee. Another group of nerves that go down the leg and into the foot link to it at the knee.

  • Sciatica is different from typical back discomfort. There is just localized soreness in your lower back. However, if you’re suffering from sciatica, you may observe:
  • Weakness in the leg muscles or foot muscles.
  • A feeling of numbness in one or both legs.
  • Feelings of tingling or pins and needles in the lower extremities.
  • Pain from sciatica may radiate from several points along the nerve. Sieberth warns that the sensation “may go down the front, back, or side of your leg.” This discomfort may be persistent or it may just be uncomfortable in specific seated or lying postures.

Sciatica pain relief begins with identifying its cause.

A sciatic pain cure requires a little sleuthing. Seek out the root of the problem first. The next step is to do something about it. An examination by a medical professional and time spent in physical therapy may be necessary. Looking for the best sleeping position with sciatica? This post covers all you need to know about finding relief and comfort from your pain.

Sciatica may result from a variety of different factors.

  • Disk herniation or herniated disc
  • Stress on or irritation of a nerve.
  • Strain or stiffness in the hips or lower back.
  • misaligned vertebrae (your spine’s individual bones).
  • Spinal narrowing, or stenosis (narrowing of the spine).
  • A traumatic injury to the sciatic nerve, as can occur in a fall.
  • Cancerous development around the sciatic nerve (in rare cases).
  • According to Sieberth, “what postures or activities annoy you depends on the etiology of your sciatica.” This will also help you figure out the best way to get some shut-eye. Someone with stenosis could find it more pleasant to sleep on their side, whereas someone with a herniated disc might feel that lying on their back is the most comfortable position.

Trying out different ways to sleep

Sleeping in a certain posture on a specific mattress or with a specific pillow might help relieve sciatica pain sometimes, but there is no silver bullet. You don’t have to put up with it every single night, however. A physical therapist can help you find the most comfortable sleeping posture. Get the rest you deserve and the comfort you need. Find out what is the best sleeping position for sciatica sufferers here!

Get your back in line first.

Check whether sleeping on your back is more comfortable than on your side as a first step. The neutral spine posture, Sieberth believes, is beneficial for many individuals.

  • The second piece of advice is to “lay down with a straight head, shoulders, and hips.”

Put a little cushion beneath your neck and head but not your shoulders. To avoid excessive back arching, a cushion might be placed beneath the knees. When you find yourself in this predicament, focus on how you feel, whether it hurts or not. Then you may experiment with different sleeping postures.

Sleep on your side.

Side sleeping might be more comfortable for some individuals. When you lie on the side of your body that is not experiencing pain, you may alleviate some of the strain on your sciatic nerve.

If you sleep on your side, Sieberth recommends placing a cushion in between your knees for support. Your hips will be in a more comfortable position, and you’ll feel less strain on your pelvis. You may also use a cushion to support your lower back. You won’t be able to flip over onto your back, either. Don’t let sciatica ruin your sleep any longer – read this guide to figure out the optimal sleeping position for relieving your pain!

Make a forward-curving

Sciatica from spinal stenosis may be alleviated by leaning forward slightly. If your spinal canal is pinched, bending forward might help release some of the pressure.

You may emulate this at night and obtain some quality sleep by:

  • Support your head and upper back using a huge wedge-shaped cushion.
  • Resting with the head raised, as in a recliner or adjustable bed.
  • Converting the fetal posture to sleep (on your side with knees curled up).

Try sleeping on your stomach if lying on your back feels great.

Not everyone is suited to resting on their bellies. You can’t avoid craning your neck and hunching your back because of this. It does, however, help some individuals. Sleeping on your stomach might be beneficial if you have back pain while sleeping on your side or back.

If lying on your stomach doesn’t hurt your back or neck, Sieberth believes it’s OK to keep doing it. A small percentage of patients with sciatica get comfort by arching their backs. If this is a comfortable way for you to sleep, keep doing it. Don’t let sciatica ruin your sleep any longer; read this guide to figure out the optimal sleeping position for relieving your pain!

Should I replace my mattress and pillow for sciatica?

Due to the wide range of possible causes of sciatica pain, there is no “best” mattress. For others, sleeping on the floor or on a mattress that is a little more on the hard side does the trick. Some people need a really plush pillowtop mattress in order to fall asleep.

Those who suffer from sciatica should not rush out and get a new mattress, Sieberth advises. Use the mattress you have to become comfy. You may start by making minor adjustments to your existing pillows or a mattress topper. Once you know what helps, you may evaluate whether a harder or softer bed would be preferable. Do you suffer from sciatica? Find out which sleeping position can help ease and alleviate pain associated with sciatica in this post.

Pinched sciatic nerves shouldn’t be tolerated.

Don’t just accept sciatica as a way of life, no matter what the cause may be. Talk to your doctor about possible remedies, such as a referral to physical therapy, if it’s affecting your ability to get decent sleep (and your quality of life in general).

  • Many individuals might benefit from seeing a physical therapist even for a short period of time, Sieberth adds. Talking to a therapist may help you choose the ideal way to sleep and what kinds of activities will help you relax and sleep. Because sciatica affects everyone differently, there is no universal treatment.

Medical treatment for sciatica pain might help you get some rest again. Do you suffer from sciatica? Find out which sleeping position can help ease and alleviate pain associated with sciatica in this post.

Why do people get sciatica?

Back soreness is a common medical complaint that is sometimes misdiagnosed as sciatica. The question is, what exactly causes sciatica to flare up? Sciatica is the name for back discomfort that travels down the sciatic nerve. From your lower back, the sciatic nerve travels down the back of each leg. When the roots of the sciatic nerve in the low back become compressed or inflamed, a painful condition known as sciatica can occur. Are you looking for the best sleeping position to deal with your sciatica symptoms? This guide contains all the information and tips you need to get a good night’s sleep.

Causes of sciatic pain include:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis is characterized by a narrowing of the spinal canal in the lower back.
  • The breakdown of the discs that separate the vertebrae and prevent them from rubbing against one another is the root cause of degenerative disc disease, which is commonly associated with aging.
  • Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which one vertebra slips over another.
  • muscular spasms in the back and thighs.
  • Pregnancy.
  • The use of a soft mattress, being overweight, often wearing high heels, and lack of physical activity are all causes.

Sciatica Rest Advice. Sleeping position with sciatica

When you have sciatica, it can be difficult to get into a comfortable position, much alone fall asleep. You shouldn’t expect the symptoms to disappear since bedtime has arrived. On the other hand, a painful foot or a burning sensation in your leg might wake you up in the wee hours of the night.

  • The majority of individuals who experience back pain wonder how they can get a good night’s rest, and more specifically, how they can get a good night’s rest if they have lower back discomfort. If you use these methods, you’ll have no trouble getting to sleep and will feel refreshed upon waking.

Are you looking for the best sleeping position to deal with your sciatica symptoms? This guide contains all the information and tips you need to get a good night’s sleep.

1. Buy a good mattress. Sleeping position with sciatica

The mattress is not the root cause of your sciatica, but it may be contributing to the pain you’re already experiencing. An orthopedic bed is a fantastic investment if the sciatic pain is keeping you awake at night. Mattresses made of soft memory foam typically lose their shape quickly and do not offer sufficient support for the back.

  • If you tend to sleep on your stomach, it’s recommended that you invest in a firmer mattress that will provide adequate support and help to maintain proper spinal alignment while you sleep.
  • like to sleep on your side, it’s important to have a mattress that properly aligns your hips and shoulders.
  • If you like sleeping on your back, it’s best to invest in a medium-firm mattress that offers full-body support.

2. Use a body pillow. Sleeping position with sciatica

If you suffer from sciatica, try resting on your side with a body pillow or a regular cushion between your knees. A cushion between the knees can help you keep your spine, hips, and pelvis in the right positions.

  • If you find that sleeping on a pillow adds bulk and discomfort, try recreating the position without the spine. Because of this, your hips and pelvis will be in proper alignment with your spine.

3. Bend Your Knees. Sleeping position with sciatica

A cushion between the knees may not be enough for some persons with sciatica. When reclining on your back, relax by bending your knees slightly. When you find a position that works for you, maintain it by placing a pillow between your knees. If you suffer from sciatica, try both cushion methods to find which one works best for you.

  • If you are serious about finding the best sleeping position for sciatica, you may want to consider getting a motorized bed. Adjustable to maintain your legs at a healthy angle while relaxing.

4. Take a shower before bed.

Taking a hot bath can help you unwind, produce pain-killing endorphins, and relax the muscles surrounding the sciatic nerve roots. It is recommended that you take a bath with warm water rather than hot water. Another choice is to use a hot water bottle on your lower back or buttocks before sleeping. Warm, but not hot, temperatures should be maintained throughout.

5. Stretch before bed. Sleeping position with sciatica

The adrenaline rush you’ll feel after exercise is likely to keep you awake, so avoid doing it just before bed. Stretching before bed may minimize sciatica discomfort. Some of these stretches may be done from bed.. These are some of the best stretches you can do if you have sciatica:

  • fingers to chest
  • Pelvic slant
  • To the other shoulder, knuckles

6. Stretch Your Favorite Side

When a cushion isn’t doing the trick, you may always resort to using a tennis ball. To prevent yourself from falling asleep on the side you don’t want to, place a tennis ball in the pocket of your pajama bottoms or shorts the next time you wear them. You are less likely to dodge the tennis ball because of the pain it causes.

7. Sleeping on your back. Sleeping position with sciatica

There is no “right” way to sleep when you have sciatica. Resting on your back can be just as restful as sleeping on your side. One such position is reclining on one’s back with the knees elevated. If you find that this is not working, you might try switching to a side position while you sleep. As the night progresses, you may find yourself needing to switch shifts.

  • For those who like to sleep on their backs, a mattress with enough lower-back support is a must.

This could be the time to invest in a high-quality mattress. If your bed isn’t very firm, a little pillow or blanket placed under your tailbone will provide the stability and support your back needs to relax in this position.

8. Make sure you take your medication.

If you’re having trouble sleeping due to sciatica pain, be sure to take any prescribed medications exactly as advised. Getting adequate sleep might actually help the recovery process along. If you’d rather not take prescription medication, over-the-counter pain relievers may help alleviate your sciatica symptoms. Don’t let sciatica ruin your sleep any longer – read this guide to figure out the optimal sleeping position for relieving your pain!

9. Plan for the Morning

After a warm bath and some light stretching, you may settle down for a relaxing night in bed. It’s best to put down the phone and the remote in preparation for sleep. Create an atmosphere of peace and calm in your bedroom.

  • Every night before bed, you should do the same routine. Sleeping well requires sticking to a regular schedule for going to bed and waking up, even on the weekends. If you stick to a certain bedtime regimen, you’ll find that you fall asleep far more easily.

10. Never sleep facedown. Sleeping position with sciatica

Keep clear from it if you can; it might aggravate your sciatica. Experts agree that lying on one’s stomach is the worst sleeping position because it causes the spine’s natural curvature to be flattened and causes neck stress when the head is turned to one side. Stay away from that position even if it helps with your sciatica since it might lead to neck and back problems in the long run.

  • Think considering switching to a medium firm mattress if you’re the type of person who can only sleep on their stomach. These mattresses will provide you with the support you need to keep your spine in its natural position.

11. Try a sciatica-friendly sleeping position.

Finding a restful slumber might be difficult for those with sciatica. People who suffer from sciatica-related lower back pain may find relief by adopting one of these sleeping positions.

  • Position your hips, pelvis, and spine in their natural positions with the help of a cushion placed between your legs.
  • Sleeping in the fetal position helps your spine by increasing the disc space between your bones.
  • If you have trouble sleeping in any position other than on your stomach, try placing a pillow under your stomach. The improvement in quality of life for those suffering from degenerative disc disease is substantial.

Are you looking for the best sleeping position to deal with your sciatica symptoms? This guide contains all the information and tips you need to get a good night’s sleep.

12. Swap Out Your Neck Supports

In order to have a more comfortable night’s sleep, many people opt for pillows that are too soft and offer no real support. Maintaining a neutral cervical spine in the evening is a highly effective strategy for avoiding back pain. If you’re having trouble finding a comfortable sleeping position, investing in a supportive, high-quality neck pillow may help. This is especially true in reducing neck and lower back pain. Don’t let sciatica ruin your sleep any longer – read this guide to figure out the optimal sleeping position for relieving your pain!

13. Use specialist analgesics. Sleeping position with sciatica

Many people with sciatica find relief from their symptoms by alternating between hot and cold treatment in the hours before bed. These effects may begin to wear off over the night, leaving patients in an awkward position when they arise.

14. Try sciatica-relieving self-massage.

Massage therapy helps sciatica and back pain patients sleep. To avoid waking up with worse sciatica pain at night, try including self-massage techniques into your regular routine before bed. Applying these massage techniques for sciatica is offered.

Acupressure with the Palm and Thumb for Sciatica:

  • First, rest your hands on your lower back. Move your hands in a downward motion, massaging your buttocks and back.
  • Keep your arms at your sides and interlace your fingers around yourself. Utilize heavy pressure on the back. Make sure the amount of pressure you use isn’t too much for anyone to handle.

Therapeutic knuckle massage for sciatica

  • Start by lying on your back with your knees bent and your feet flat on the floor. Try resting your hands on the small of your back, one on each side.
  • Join your hands behind your back, knuckles touching.
  • Take a couple of deep breaths and rest in this comfortable position.
  • Roll onto your side in a fetal position. To prepare for getting up, hold this for around five minutes.

15. Buy self-care products. Sleeping position with sciatica

In order to alleviate the pain caused by sciatica, it is a good idea to equip yourself with acupressure instruments. It is recommended that you see your doctor or physical therapist before purchasing any of these products to decide the best way to put them to use in relieving your sciatica pain.

  • Using a tennis ball to roll around and provide pressure to your sore muscles may help alleviate sciatica pain.
  • A spinal roller, a thick foam roller, may be used to alleviate hip pain.
  • In order to alleviate hip pain, try using a more intense acupressure instrument, such as a knobble.
  • The Back Buddy is an S-shaped gadget that may be used to apply focused pressure to a specific area.

Restless nights due to sciatica

You can get a good night’s rest even if you have sciatica. If you consult a variety of sources and try out a few different approaches to sleep, you could find the one that works best for you. when you suffer from sciatica, getting a good night’s rest may help your body repair and alleviate some of your symptoms.

  • If your sciatica has become chronic despite your best efforts to treat it conservatively, you may require surgery to correct whatever is causing it.

At the Bonati Spine Institute, we provide a safe and highly effective outpatient alternative to traditional inpatient open-back surgery and spinal fusion. By removing pressure from nerves and fixing the underlying issue, the Bonati Procedures are able to treat sciatica and bring about significant pain relief.

Avoid these sciatica-causing sleeping postures.

Sleeping in one of these positions may help alleviate sciatica pain.

  • If you lie on your stomach, you’ll be able to see the arch of your spine more clearly. The combination of the sag and a squishy bed top might lead to morning pain in the bones and muscles.
  • You shouldn’t twist your hips or spine when you sleep since it may put pressure on your sciatic nerve.

Techniques to Ease Sciatica Pain While You Sleep

If you suffer from sciatica and can only get comfortable in bed, here are some suggestions for relieving the pain.

  • You may test out a bed that falls somewhere in the middle, between the soft and the hard varieties. According to a 2015 review of research, those who think that their mattresses are “about right” in terms of firmness are more likely to get a good night’s rest and maintain proper spinal alignment (Trusted Source). Mattresses like this are highly recommended for those who suffer from sciatica.
  • You should put a piece of plywood under your mattress. A plywood board may be placed between the mattress and the box spring if you feel the mattress is too soft. If it doesn’t work, try putting your mattress on the floor.

Keep in mind

  • A body cushion is an alternative. If you toss and turn often in your sleep, a body pillow may be helpful.
  • Try some stretching exercises or yoga. Light stretching or yoga before bed might help you relax your muscles and settle your mind.
  • Soak in the tub and unwind. A hot bath may provide welcome relief from lower back discomfort.
  • Observe a regular bedtime routine in order to recharge. The quality of your overnight sleep may be enhanced by sticking to a regular bedtime routine, maintaining a cool, dark bedroom, and avoiding caffeine after 3 p.m.

Why does lying on my stomach make my pinched sciatic nerve hurt?

Laying down, according to some people who suffer from sciatica, just makes the pain worse. When you lie down, particularly on a supple mattress that enables your spine to flex while you sleep, pressure is applied to the inflamed nerve.

What Are the Signs That It’s Time to See a Doctor?

If you have sciatica pain that hasn’t gone away after a week, you should see a doctor. They might assist you to figure out what’s causing your sciatic pain and suggest a treatment plan.


  • If you tend to sleep on your side, placing a pillow between your knees and/or between your waist and the mattress will help you get a better night’s rest.
  • If sleeping on your back causes you discomfort, try placing a pillow there to ease the pressure.

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