Sciatica refers to pain experienced when the sciatic nerve is irritated. Because of the size of this nerve, the pain can be felt in different places depending on the part of the nerve that receiving the irritation. The nerve extends from the lower back and down each leg, so pain may be felt in the lower back, in the buttocks, or radiating down the legs. Usually, the pain is felt only on one side.
The proper sleep position is important if you don’t want to increase the pain of sciatica. Let’s consider the best sleep positions, and how to reduce lower back strain regardless of the position you sleep in.
The Best Way to Sleep if You Have Sciatica
The neck and back are always best after sleeping on the back. However, the lower back still takes the most strain when lying flat, so keeping a pillow behind your knees can give your lower back a break from 8 hours of overnight strain.
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If you sleep on your side, the pillow should be between your knees. This also relieves pressure on the lower back that can occur if the upper leg slides forward or back rather than staying directly above the lower leg.
Finally, while sleeping on your stomach is the worst position for your back (and your neck) it may be the only way you can get to sleep. In that case, try using a body pillow to prop yourself up as much as possible. Keep one leg over the pillow so that your lower back isn’t twisted.
Upper Cervical Care for Sciatica
You may be surprised to learn that the irritation of the sciatic nerve starts all the way at the top of the spine. The upper cervical spine is vital to good posture and to a healthy spine as a whole. When the C1 and C2 are out of alignment, the bones and muscles shift to keep the head level. This can lead to lower back pain and sciatica. A specific and gentle adjustment to the upper neck may be just what you need to give your sciatica nerve some relief.
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