Best Sleep Positions for Sciatica Pain
You need a good night’s rest, but your sciatic nerve pain has flared up again. What are the best positions for resting comfortably? Unfortunately, there is virtually no medical education that provides a clear solution. You will have to experiment to see which position(s) work best for you. This article not only discusses the various sleeping positions that can alleviate your pain, but also introduces inexpensive products that can help improve your situation.
Keep Your Back Aligned
Almost everyone has woken up with a kink in their back, neck or shoulders at some point in their lives. This is caused by improper sleeping positions or sleeping on mattresses that are too soft or too firm. With the case if sciatica pain, firmer mattresses are better than softer ones.
Regardless of your sleeping position, use extra pillows to support your head, shoulders and knees so that they are level with your spine. This may not only alleviate sciatica pain, but it can prevent or relieve neck and shoulder pain as well.
Sleeping on Your Side
Choose a side you wish to sleep on and position your top knee so that it is level with your hip. Place two or three firm pillows beneath your leg to support it. This will alleviate the pressure on your sciatic nerve.
You may have to rotate to the other side sometime during the night to keep your circulation working properly. If so, follow the same procedures, making sure that your knee aligns with your hip.
What if the pillows don’t work, or if they slip? Memory foam leg pillows can help. These will conform to your natural shape so that you will not have to keep adjusting them. They may also be less prone to slipping off your bed, should you move around in your sleep or need to change your position while you’re awake.
Sleeping on Your Back
If you are not able to sleep comfortably on your side, you can try sleeping on your back. Place one or more firm pillows beneath your knees so that they are positioned above your hips. You can also use an elevating leg support, which features a wedge shape that conforms to your legs.
Acupressure mats may also work for you. These are designed to improve your circulation, sleep and digestion.
Sleeping on Your Stomach
Sleeping in this position can relieve the pressure on your sciatica nerve better than sleeping on your side or back. Again, make sure that your head and neck are aligned with your spine and hips.
Taking a warm shower 20 minutes before bed can help alleviate pain. This is because the temperature of the water relaxes your muscles so that they will not contract against the nerve.
If that doesn’t work, you can try using an ice pack to numb the area 20 minutes before bedtime.
TENS units are similar to the electrotherapy devices that chiropractors use for their patients. You will find many models online, ranging from cheap to expensive. This is a great alternative, when the showers and ice packs fail to alleviate your pain. Lie flat on your stomach and let the electrodes work their magic. Once your pain is gone, use the pillows to ensure proper body alignment (regardless of your sleeping position) so that you may enjoy a comfortable night’s sleep.