7 Tips on How to Sleep with Lower Back Pain and Sciatica
Learning how to sleep lower back pain can be a real pain in the... well, you know. If you're dealing with sciatica or another form of back pain, it can make doing a lot of things difficult.
Fortunately, there are some forms of relief for your suffering. Whether you've been dealing with low back pain for a long time or it's new, there are a few tips for reducing pain while you catch some Zs.
Let's begin by looking at what sciatica is before we dive into tips. For more tips on dealing with lower back pain, check out our blog.
What Is Sciatica?
If your back pain is new and you're wondering what sciatica is, here's a quick rundown:
Sciatica is nerve pain from irritation of the sciatic nerve, which runs from the spinal cord in the lower back through the butt and down your legs. It typically happens after you herniate a disk in your lower back, which compresses the nerve.
There are plenty of common signs of sciatica, but the #1 is that you feel the pain radiating from your back to your legs. This likely means it has to do with the nerve sending signals down your body.
Now, let's look at 7 tips for alleviating lower back pain (whether it's sciatica or not). Hopefully, these tips will help you!
Elevate Your Knees
Finding a way to raise your knees up before bed will alleviate some of the stress placed on your back during sleep. This happens because elevated knees reduce the pressure on your disks, in turn minimizing pressure placed on the nerve.
This has long been a tip for people suffering from low back pain, so give it a shot.
Use Pillows To Position Yourself
You use a pillow to reduce the tension in your neck and shoulders, so the same principle applies here for your lower back. As you search for the best sleeping position for sciatica or other low back pain, get creative by using pillows.
For example, you can use pillows to elevate your legs (as per the suggestion in tip #1). Another position that might alleviate some pain is to sleep on your stomach with a pillow under your hips. It's the same idea, as you'll reduce tension in your lower back.
This article gives you tips on what look for in a pillow if you have sciatica.
Sleep On Your Side
Sleeping on your side might help alleviate some of your back pain. As far as sleeping positions for sciatica go, a lot of it is trial and error and discovering what might work for you. While sleeping on your side may not feel comfortable at first, it could actually be the most comfortable if you stop experiencing symptoms around bedtime.
You can also incorporate a pillow here, placing it between your legs while you lay on your side. Sleeping on your side normally places a strain on your back, but this will help take some of the tension away.
This article suggests that you find your best side to sleep on. It goes so far as to suggest you put a tennis ball in your pocket so that you feel comfortable only sleeping on one side, and don't shift around at night.
Make Sure You Have A Good Mattress
To this point, the suggestions have all been mostly free or low-cost solutions for lower back pain. You may, however, need to consider the surface that you're sleeping on if your sciatica is not improving.
The answer to how to sleep with sciatica may be in your mattress. Depending on what position is most comfortable for you, here are some guidelines:
Stomach Sleepers: A firm mattress
Side Sleepers: A soft mattress that offers support by your hips and shoulders.
Back Sleepers: A medium firm mattress that gives you full-body support.
This article even suggests ditching your mattress for a firm surface like your bedroom floor, which has helped people with back pain before.
If you're mentally and physically relaxed before bed, you may reduce the chance of having sciatica or lower back pain flare up. Perhaps you go through a short stretching routine. Focus on the hamstrings, quadriceps, lower back, and hips especially. Opening up the core of your body may help to alleviate some pain.
Take A Hot Bath
Taking a bath before bed can help increase the number of pain-fighting endorphins going through your body as you sleep. It will also relax the muscles in your back, which can reduce the pressure placed on the nerve giving you difficulties.
Develop A Nighttime Routine
The tips listed above for dealing with lower back pain may all work on their own, but here's perhaps the most important tip. Find a routine and what works for you, and stick to it. As you search for solutions for how to sleep with lower back pain and sciatica, it's important to piece together what has worked in the past.
So if you find that a bath works, keep it as part of your routine. Add in stretching if you're still finding it's not comfortable. If nothing else, this will mentally prepare you to turn off and get a good night sleep, which may take the focus off your back pain.
If you're looking for keys on how to sleep with sciatica, think about this: whether it's a hot bath or something else, the more relaxed you are, the better.
Sleeping With Lower Back Pain: Wrap-Up
Tips for how to sleep with lower back pain include elevating your knees, hot baths, using pillows to find a good position, sleeping on your side, investing in a good mattress, stretching, and developing a nighttime routine. Sciatica and other back pain is no joke, so find what works for you.
If you believe your pain is being caused from daily activity, take a look at our back braces. They are proven to reduce back pain and can possibly give you enough relief to get the sleep you deserve.