Is Sciatica Pain Worse in the Morning?

Back pain is one of the most troublesome and discomforting feelings that someone can experience. It can make simple activities such as walking feel difficult and painful. However, at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery, we often hear patients question why their sciatica pain is worse in the morning. Keep reading to learn more about why your sciatica is worse when the sun rises, how to alleviate any discomfort, and how to sleep correctly with this condition.


Why Is Sciatica Pain Worse When I Wake Up?

Sciatica is a sharp, shooting nerve pain down the back, buttocks, and thighs. You might feel a tingling sensation or numbness in the affected areas. Many report that it is painful to walk, sit, or stand. The condition is caused by inflammation or pinching of the sciatic nerve in the lower back. It might form from a herniated disc, bone spur, or other injuries.

Sciatica is often worse in the morning because of the way you sleep. Laying in incorrect and awkward positions can irritate nerves because you compress the exit spaces in the spinal column. This limits the space nerve roots have to travel and can worsen your condition.

How to Alleviate Morning Sciatica Pain

If you feel that your sciatica pain is worse in the morning, you can do a few stretches to alleviate the pain. Consider trying the following:

  • Sitting pigeon pose: Sit on the floor with your legs stretched out. Bend your right leg, putting the right ankle on top of the left. Lean forward and let your upper body reach your upper thigh. Hold for about 15 seconds, and repeat on the left side.
  • Sitting spinal stretch: Lie on the ground with your legs straight out and feet flexed upward. Bend your right knee and place your foot flat on the floor outside of the opposite knee. Keep your left elbow on the outside of your right knee to gently turn your body to the right. Hold for 30 seconds, and switch sides.
  • Standing hamstring stretch: Put your right foot on an elevated surface at or below your hips. Bring your body slowly toward your foot. The further you go, the more you will stretch. If you feel pain, you went too far. Hold for 15 to 20 seconds, and repeat on the opposite side.

When doing stretches, it is essential not to push yourself too far. Doing so may worsen your pain.

Tips for Sleeping with Sciatica

Since incorrect sleeping positions can cause pain in the morning, you should know what positions are the most comfortable. Sleeping on your side helps reduce discomfort by taking pressure off the irritated nerves. Make sure you lie with your injured side up and place a pillow between your knees.

The fetal position also opens up space between vertebrae, which might reduce back pain from a herniated disc. For added support and comfort, consider placing a pillow under your waist or between your knees.

Sleeping on the floor might also help alleviate pain. Soft surfaces can cause the spine to bend out of alignment. Lie a thin mat, such as a yoga or camping mat, on the floor and sleep in a comfortable position. While sleeping on the floor may not be the most comfortable, you may thank yourself in the morning.

Speak to the Back Doctors at NJ Spine & Orthopedic about Your Sciatica Today

If you are experiencing sharp, uncomfortable pain in your back, you might be suffering from sciatica. The earlier you visit the back doctors at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery for diagnosis and treatment, the better your results may be. Finding the source is usually the first step in determining the proper treatment. We typically begin with medication, physical therapy, and anti-inflammatory injections to treat your pain.

If you are still experiencing pain after three months, our award-winning surgeons may recommend a minimally invasive surgery, such as a microdiscectomy. To schedule an appointment, call (855) 853-6542 or complete our online contact form today.

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