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How to Sleep with Sciatica?

How-To-Sleep-With-Sciatica
Last Updated on May 9, 2020 by Ashwini G

Medical records have gone on to show that as much as 40% of people today are beginning to suffer from sciatica pain. Sciatica refers to the pain caused when the sciatic nerve is irritated or compressed in the lower spine. In this article, we will discuss how to sleep with sciatica to ensure that you recover from this disorder as soon as possible. Sciatica should not be confused with general back pain. The sciatic nerve is the widest and longest nerve in our body, which runs from the lower back down to the knee. It is also responsible for most of the sensations that you feel on your lower legs and feet.

Causes of Sciatica

Sciatica often comes up as a symptom of several medical conditions; however, almost 90% of cases are the result of a herniated disk. A slipped disk or herniated disk occurs when a disk in your spinal column is pushed out of place because of which your sciatic nerve experiences strain. Other causes of sciatica are:

  • Lumbar spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Tumors of the spine
  • Infection or injury

How to Sleep with Sciatica?

Usually, sciatica treatments, exercises, and stretches will help to relieve the pain of this condition; however, you might find the sciatica symptoms increase during the night. If you do not maintain a good posture while sleeping, it could exacerbate your sciatica, hindering your period of rest.

The following tips will help you understand how to sleep with sciatica:

  • Rest on Your Back: Lying on your back is the safest sleeping position when it comes to remitting sciatica pain. However, you should avoid lying down straight, with your legs outstretched, as that could strain the sciatic nerve. Instead, you should elevate your knees slightly with the help of a cushion for a more comfortable position.
  • How to Lie on One Side: If you cannot sleep lying outstretched, you can turn over to the side, which feels comfortable. Make sure that you do not change this side for the rest of the night because that could cause unnecessary strain on your back. You can keep a pillow between your legs to support your upper leg by keeping the hips level.
  • Do Not Sleep on Your Stomach: Sleeping on your stomach is a sure way of aggravating sciatic pain and should always be avoided. Many people place a tennis ball inside the pockets of their pajamas to avoid turning over to their stomachs.
  • Buy A Good Mattress: If you have sciatica, your best bid at recovering fast is getting the right mattress. A supportive, firm mattress should be your first choice when you decide to switch your mattress.
  • Try A Body Pillow: You should try using a body pillow to get extra support for your sleeping position. You can easily place it between your legs to keep the pelvis, hips, and legs in line.
  • Perform Some Exercises: You must avoid the sciatica pain from flaring up in the night by performing a set of exercises before bed. These exercises should focus on relieving your muscles without straining your body more than required.
  • Warm or Cool Your Body: Before you go to bed, you might want to take a warm bath to relax your muscles and sleep faster. If your legs burn at nighttime, you can choose to dip them in cold water instead.
  • Maintain Your Sleep Hygiene: Sleep hygiene refers to all the habits you follow, that impact your time of rest at night. Ideally, your electronic screens and gadgets should be turned off at least an hour before bed. You should also avoid taking caffeinated food or drinks.
  • Talk To A Professional: If you feel numbness or loss of bladder control- seek a doctor immediately to get proper

Prevention and Recovery

Some very important elements of recovery include- a positive mental attitude, a balanced amount of work, and regular activity. In case you find working on routine chores difficult, you might want to choose a set of duties that can be easily performed by your body.  Once you understand how to sleep with sciatica, you can take further steps for a speedy recovery. Keep the following things in mind while you are on the recovery stage of sciatica-

  • Lift your body properly and do not sit still for long periods of time.
  • Maintain a healthy posture while you sit, stand, move about, or sleep.
  • Perform regular exercises that include strengthening your muscles, as well as stretching them.
  • Find a work area that is ergonomically suitable.
  • Make sure that your body gets the right nutrition so that you can maintain a healthy weight and lean body mass.
  • Ensure that you do not feel stressed for long periods of time and indulge in some relaxation exercises.
  • Avoid smoking at all costs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Given below are some commonly asked questions about sciatica and how to sleep with sciatica:

What Can I Do to Stop My Sciatic Nerve from Hurting?

You need to lift your left leg, then place the right ankle on top of your left knee. Hold this position for a while to stretch the piriformis muscle. This muscle sometimes becomes inflamed and presses against your sciatic nerve, thus causing pain. Repeat the exercise with the other leg.

Is It Okay to Sleep on One Side?

You can sleep on the least affected side of your body. To remit the pain, you can prop your knee up by placing a pillow between your legs. This will also ensure that your hips are squared when you sleep.

Why Does the Pain Increase on Lying Down?

When you lay on a side, your nerve root experiences direct pressure causing your leg to pain. If you sleep with your hips tilted far towards one side, your spine curves, and further pressures the nerve, which results in sciatic pain.

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