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Sciatica and Sleeping

Sciatica and Sleeping

Sciatica and Sleeping

Getting some sleep when you’re in pain with sciatica can be a frustrating process. Sciatica and sleeping is not a match made in heaven. No amount of tossing and turning seems to do the trick and you’re deprived of the rest you need.

But there are some top tips you can follow to make getting to sleep easier and we take a look at some methods that might just help you get some much-needed shut-eye.

Sciatica and Sleeping on the Floor

It might sound counter-intuitive but many people find that ditching the mattress altogether works for them. A firmer surface isn’t for everyone but give it a try over a couple of nights to see if it improves your pain levels. Avoid sleeping directly on the floor but, instead, lay down a yoga mat or thick towel.

Raise Your Knees

Sciatica occurs when the nerves in your lower back are compressed and irritated so help avoid that pressure by raising your knees up in bed.

To help keep your knees in the upright position, slide pillows underneath until they feel solid and supported.

Take a Bath

Many people find the warmth that a bath gives particularly soothing right before bed. Keep the water warm rather than hot and enjoy a long soak. If baths aren’t for you but you find the heat does help you manage the pain, consider a heat pack that you can wrap around the affected area before you go to bed. A hot water bottle applied to your lower back might also offer some relief.

Disrupted sleep is a major side effect of having sciatica and can contribute to an overall decrease in your health and well being. You may find that one or a combination of these tips works, so experiment and find a position in bed that works for you. Give a heat pack or long bath a try and if all else fails, spend a couple of nights on the floor to see if that can offer you any relief.

If you do find your symptoms getting worse, then do talk to your doctor about how best to manage your pain levels and how to get a better night’s sleep.

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5 months ago

I have been in pain for 6 months now. I have disc degeneration at L5/S1. Nothing takes the pain away, other than a warm bath, drugs don’t work at all. I have left side pain, sciatica all the way to my foot, especially calf and ankle which is unbelievably severe and feels like electric shocks. I have groin pain and I can’t stand even for a short while without searing pain in my leg. Started physiotherapy after a 4 month wait after GP referal and appointments every 6 weeks if available. I struggle to sleep, tried medication, altering position etc but I’m exhausted by the lack of a good night’s rest. I try to stay active but its becoming more difficult to walk any distance. No MRI as it seems NHS don’t do them unless the patient is needing surgery, how that’s defined with proper testing is beyond me. I’m exhausted by it all.

Reply to  Maria
5 months ago

Hello Maria, surgery in the NHS is the last resort for the low back issues you are having because if it does not work well it can make the situation worse. Usually length of time you are experiencing the symptoms and the lack of success of non-invasive interventions may lead to a surgical referral.
We hope your recovery starts soon. If a warm bath helps it may be worth reading our blog on hot-cold therapy. Best wishes.

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