Sciatic nerve pain is extremely uncomfortable and can greatly affect your quality of life. Sometimes you do not feel pain in the normal sense of the word but feel tingling or numbness from the lower back down to the buttocks and legs. Always get a doctor to check out these symptoms and give you a definite diagnosis of sciatica before attempting dramatic changes to your sleeping position.Lying down on your back usually brings immediate yet temporary relief from sciatic nerve pain. The big advantage of changing your normal sleeping position is that it works with other therapies your doctor may have you on. It also does not clash with your diet, your exercise program or any medications you may be taking. Noticing Your Normal Sleeping PositionIf you are taking muscle relaxants for sciatic nerve pain, you may sleep so deeply that you don’t realize what your normal sleeping position is. If this is the case, think of the position you are normally in when you wake up. You can also ask your partner what position you usually sleep in. However, many people suffering from sciatica prefer to sleep alone because they can lie on their backs without crowding their partners.Think of the position you normally sleep in. If you aren’t sure what that is, think of the position your body tends to assume when you are really drowsy. Yours muscles will remember. But do not worry about getting your normal position wrong. If you change your sleeping position and still get sciatic nerve pain, just try another position. Just do not sleep on your stomach. This position greatly aggravates sciatic nerve pain because it arches the back. This puts pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Sleeping on the Side
Most sciatica patients report that lying on the back gives the best relief so that they can sleep through the night. Some people report that using a very thin pillow to keep the spine as straight as possible helps. But not everyone can fall asleep on their backs, especially if they have no choice but to sleep on very narrow cushions or mattresses.
Sleep on your side, but place a pillow or rolled up towel between your legs to help keep both hips level. Medical supply stores and online sites sell pillows specifically for placing in between the knees. These do not slip like conventional pillows do.
Changing Sleeping Environment
Some people get relief from sciatica sleeping on a different place, such as a recliner instead of a bed. Placing a pillow or a rolled-up towel under the hips can also provide relief because it gives additional support to the hip area. In an older mattress, this area usually has a dip in it where the towel or pillow can be placed. If placing a towel or pillow under the hips is too uncomfortable, try moving the pillow. Some people get relief if their most affected leg or knee is raised instead of their hips.
A wedge-shaped pillow may also help sciatica sufferers because this type of pillow does not slip as easily as a conventional pillow. These pillows are often sold as anti-snoring or acid reflux prevention pillows.