Anyone who suffers from sciatica knows that a good night’s sleep can be elusive. Studies report that up to 55% of patients with sciatica and other low back pain have trouble getting quality shuteye.
Interventional pain management physician Edward Carden, MD, located in Sherman Oaks, CA, has helped countless patients with sciatica get much-needed sleep. Here he explains how.
1. Alter your sleep positions
Sciatica pain can actually feel worse while laying down because doing so increases the pressure on the irritated nerve. That’s where your sleep position comes in. Here are a few to try.
- Pillow between your legs. Rest your right or left shoulder and the side of your body to rest on the mattress. Next, place one or two pillows between your knees. Make sure to switch sides night to night to prevent muscle imbalance issues. The pillow between your knees keeps your hips, pelvis, and spine in better alignment.
- Fetal position. Lay on your side, then tuck your knees toward your chest and gently curl your torso toward your knees. Again, remember to switch sides periodically to prevent any imbalances.
- On your stomach with a pillow. You may have heard that sleeping on your stomach is not recommended for people with back pain. However, a pillow under your pelvis and lower abdomen on your belly can relieve some of the pressure off your back.
- On your back with a pillow under your knees. Place a pillow underneath your knees and keep your spine neutral. The pillow works to keep that curve in your lower back. When you’re on your back, your weight is evenly distributed and spread across the broadest area of your body, reducing strain on your pressure points.
2. Beware of Soft Mattresses
Generally, a mattress that is too soft does not promote proper spinal alignment. They can worsen your pain because they tend to sink into the mattress. If your mattress is too soft, consider placing plywood between the mattress and the box spring. Research suggests that using a medium-firm mattress may help reduce lower back pain.
Even so, no one mattress works for all. Before investing in a new one, try different positions, pillows, or even a pillow top for your current mattress.
3. Seek help
Don’t live and lose sleep over sciatica pain. Dr. Carden creates individual treatment plans to manage sciatica pain. Depending on diagnosis and symptoms, your plan may include one or more of the following:
- Anti-inflammatory medication
- Spinal injections
- Nerve blocks
- Radiofrequency ablation
- Spinal cord stimulation
- Physical therapy
For immediate help with sciatica and other back pain, call the office of Edward Carden, MD to schedule a consultation or book an appointment online today.