Getting a good night’s sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your health, as sleep affects every biological process of your body and is crucial to our daily operations. It’s the body’s natural regenerative state that allows it to heal itself, fight disease, develop immunity, and build energy reserves for the next day. However, people who suffer from sciatica often find it difficult to fall and stay asleep at night. This can be frustrating and detrimental to your overall health.
If you’re one of the many people dealing with sciatica, learning about the best sleeping position for sciatica could go a long way toward improving your quality of life and health. However, while it may help, you may require a more long-term solution.
Sciatica involves the irritation or inflammation of the sciatic nerve, which is the largest and longest nerve in the body. The sciatic nerve extends from the pelvis through the legs and feet.
Because it runs the length from the lower back to the feet, it provides sensation and movement to the lower extremities, making it an extremely important part of the central nervous system.
However, because it is rooted in the lower back and pelvic area, it is exposed to a lot of pressure. The alignment of your spine will play a role in causing or exacerbating sciatica because a misaligned spine can cause your body to distribute weight unevenly, placing excess pressure on the back and spine.
When excess pressure is applied to the nerve, it came become irritated, causing a variety of symptoms, including:
- Shooting, burning, or radiating pain along the length of the nerve.
- Numbness or a “pins-and-needles” sensation in the legs or feet.
- Weakness in the legs and feet.
- A feeling of discomfort in the leg.
- Pain when bending either forward or backward or twisting.
Pain and other symptoms of sciatica can range in severity from mild to excruciating. Sciatica can affect one or both legs and also present completely different symptoms in each.
What is the Best Sleeping Position for Sciatica?
Conditions like sciatica can be disastrous to your quality of sleep and can carry over into your daily life. It’s extremely common for people with sciatica to have sleep disturbances, with research showing that 55% of adults with lower back issues report having difficulty sleeping.
Finding the best sleeping position for sciatica could help you fall asleep and prevent you from waking up during the night. However, the best sleeping position for sciatica will vary from person to person, as it largely depends on your unique spinal curvature and alignment. You may have to experiment to find the position that works best for you.
On Your Back
Lying on your back helps eliminate pressure on the body and distributes your body weight evenly. You can improve your sleep posture and further reduce pressure by placing a pillow under your lower back.
On Your Side
Sciatica can be asymmetrical, so favoring one side to sleep on can reduce the weight that is placed onto the nerve. Placing a pillow between your knees can also improve your sleep posture and prevent your legs from rotating out of a neutral position during the night.
You may also find that sleeping on your side in the fetal position helps because it stretches your vertebrae and relieves pressure on the sciatic nerve.
On Your Stomach
Sleeping on your stomach is typically advised against, especially if you have a flat back. However, there are specific cases in which it may be beneficial to try.
For example, if you have too much curvature in the lower back or too much anterior pelvic tilt, sleeping on your stomach could push against the curvature of your spine and lower the pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Other Helpful Tips
- Sleep on a firmer mattress because they offer more support for your back, shoulders, and hips and allow weight and pressure to be more evenly distributed.
- Do some light stretches that do not involve bending or twisting before bed.
- Apply heat to the lower back before bed to help reduce inflammation.
- Try using a body pillow at night to help maintain your sleep position.
- Seek out massage therapy.
It should be noted that even incorporating the best sleeping position for sciatica won’t resolve the root of the problem. If you’re dealing with chronic sciatic pain, you’ll need to address the cause.
Think of it like a cavity—while you’ll still want to brush your teeth to ensure they stay healthy, the cavity itself won’t go away until you seek treatment. When it comes to sciatica, sleep ergonomics are helpful, but you will also need to seek chiropractic care from someone who can analyze your spinal alignment to eliminate the actual cause.
PostureWorks Provides Effective and Lasting Solutions for Sciatica
Many people with sciatica suffer from having less energy throughout the day, largely because of the impacts sciatica has on their sleep. However, knowing the best sleeping position for sciatica is only one piece of the puzzle. Because the sciatic nerve shares a close relationship with your spine’s curvature, your sciatica could be caused by a spinal misalignment.
However, every person’s spinal curvature is unique, so there is no one-size-fits-all solution to relieving sciatica. That’s why at PostureWorks, we use Chiropractic BioPhysics® (CBP) to accurately assess the principal cause of your sciatic pain.
With CBP, we evaluate your entire medical history while also analyzing your unique spinal curvature to identify any irregularities. We use that information to craft a non-invasive treatment plan tailored to your specific needs. That way, you can feel relief from your immediate symptoms while also benefiting from a long-term solution that sets you free from your pain.
Contact us today to learn more about the best sleeping position for sciatica or to schedule your appointment with PostureWorks.
Chiropractic BioPhysics®, or CBP, is a deeply researched and results-oriented corrective care technique. CBP-trained chiropractors aim to realign the spine back to health and optimal function. As with all chiropractic care, CBP is conservative, painless, and non-invasive.