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A better night’s sleep for sciatica sufferers

17.02.2016

The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body and runs from the lower back down each leg to the feet. If part of the nerve is compressed or inflamed  it can cause pain in the lower back, leg or buttock. This pain is called sciatica and can be experienced at different levels depending on the cause and the extent of nerve compression.
After diagnosis, there are many techniques and exercises we can use to help alleviate this pain.

For many sciatic pain sufferers, the night time can be especially uncomfortable. Without the bustle of the sleep painday, there’s nothing to distract you from the pain or motivate you to power through it. At the same time, a good night’s sleep is one of your body’s best ways of healing itself.

Fortunately, there are some adjustments that sciatica sufferers can make to get through the night and break the cycle of pain and insomnia.

Before-bed routine

Try and avoid caffeine during the afternoon and evening. This is, of course, applies

to everyone but if you’re suffering with sciatica, it’s particularly important. You’ve

already got one barrier to sleep and you don’t need another one!

An ice pack on the lower back may lessen the pain and make it easier to fall asleep.

Make sure your bedroom is the right temperature and dark enough for optimum sleep to avoid disturbance.

Sleeping position

To help relieve pain while sleeping, try to adopt a position that will reduce pressure on the nerve.

A harder mattress is usually better than a soft one and extra pillows can be used for support. The aim of the head pillow is to achieve alignment through the spine and not to allow the head to drop or be propped up. A bed piled high with pillows may look great but a single, flattish pillow will give you a more comfortable night.

For those of you who sleep most comfortably on your sides, it is recommended that you bend the top knee towards the head and to place a pillow or two between the knees; this prevents a twisting through the lower back as your knee drops towards the mattress which irritates the sciatic nerve.

If you prefer to sleep on your back, a pillow should be placed under your knees which will help to maintain neutral spinal curves.sleep comfort

Remember, the best sleeping position for one person may be the worst for another. If you find a position that lessens the pain, it’s right for you.