Sleeping with Sciatica

So sleeping is one of the most frustrating parts of having sciatica. On nights when my sciatic nerve is flared up I hardly ever get a goods night sleep. I toss and turn, wake up every few hours and I end up exhausted in the morning. Also, lying too long in a certain position causes me pain and so I’m constantly changing sleeping positions. So what do I do about it? In my particular situation I have found that sleeping on my right (my non-affected side) helps reduce the pain. Sleeping on my left side gets uncomfortable very quickly because I put a log of pressure on that disk. I have also found that lying on my back with weight shifted on my right side also helps reduce the pain. Lying face down is possible when my feet and/or part of my legs are hanging off the bed. This causes a slight arch on my back that doesn’t cause me pain. Another thing that helps me is to sleep with a pillow directly underneath my lower back. This takes some of the pressure off the nerve.

Bedding

I owned a very nice queen size bed that had a large pillow top you could just sink into. Unfortunately, the softness made for poor support on my lower back. I tried many beds and did a lot of shopping. I had read that firmer beds would help. So I went out and bought a really firm temperpedic type bed. It seemed fine when I tried it out at the store but after a some weeks of use I ended up returning it. It was actually causing more pain. I lost a good amount of money on that return. What I ended up doing was taking a good friend of mine’s guest bed. It was an older bed but it was a medium firm type bed. It worked like a charm and I still have it. So in terms of beds, I would recommend a medium-firm bed. One that can provide your lower back with enough support.

Stretches

There are a few stretches I end up doing before going to sleep and if I ever get woken up by the pain.

  • Leg-Up Hamstring Stretch and foot pulse
    • basically you pull your leg up to where it feels comfortable and and pulse your foot up and down. Mainly up towards you. This pulls your hamstring and helps relieve a bit of the pain.
  • Child’s pose
  • Downward dog
  • Pigeon (My favorite. It works everytime)
  • One leg forward hastring stretch

Some of these are tough to do when your sleeping at night. The leg up hamnstring stretch and child pose you can do in bed with little disturbance.

Anyway, I hope this helps someone. I hope to start putting images and videos up of these stretches. Please feel free to share this post or website with friends. If you have any questions or comments please add them below.