Tips for Pillow Shopping and Guide for Sleeping with Sciatica

Sciatica is a burning, tingling, or stabbing pain that radiates from your lower back down through one leg. However, in rare cases, patients may feel pain in both legs, and symptoms tend to worsen the longer you’re sitting or laying down. This leads many with this condition to wonder how they can get a good night’s sleep.

One way to reduce pain at night is to sleep with a pillow. Here are a few tips about what kind of pillow you should purchase and a guide for using that pillow with sciatica.

What Kind of Pillow Should I Buy for My Back Pain?

Finding a pillow that works for back pain is not a one-size-fits-all process. All back pain is different, so what works best for someone else may not work well for you. Nevertheless, everyone should consider a few basic things when buying a pillow for their back pain.

Find a Medium to Hard Surface

Before even shopping for pillows, you’ll want to ensure that your mattress is suitable. Comfort varies from person to person, but many sciatica patients opt to sleep on medium to hard surfaces. Others even prefer to sleep on the floor or on a yoga mat.

Wedge Cushions

Many patients seem to find relief from two-piece wedge cushions. It creates the same effect as sitting on a reclining chair. If a wedge cushion is out of your price range, you can also stack two dense pillows on top of each other behind your shoulders and use a flatter pillow to elevate your legs.

Contoured Pillows

If you prefer to sleep on your side, purchase a contoured pillow. Place the pillow in between your legs, and it should eventually form to your posture. Contoured cushions can also reduce lumbar spine pressure and help keep your body aligned. Body pillows work great for side sleepers.

Guide to Sleeping with Sciatica

The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults receive seven to nine hours of sleep each night. However, people suffering from sciatica often have restless nights because of their pain and only sleep for a couple of hours. Here are a few tips to get a peaceful sleep.

  • Elevate your knees: When resting on your back, elevate your knees a little bit. Place pillows underneath your knees until you find a comfortable position.
  • Place a pillow between your legs: If you’re a side sleeper, place a pillow in between your legs to alleviate pain.
  • Take a bath before bed: Warms baths can help you relax and release pain-fighting endorphins that relax the muscles and sciatic nerves. Instead of a bath, you can get similar results from putting a warm water bottle or towel on your lower back.
  • Stretch before bed: Simple stretches before you go to bed can help reduce your pain. However, don’t overdo the stretches, as the increased adrenaline can keep you up late.
  • Invest in the right mattress: Mattresses likely aren’t the root of your pain, but it could be making it worse. For stomach sleepers, buy a firm mattress, while side sleepers should invest in a soft bed to support your hips and shoulder. Back sleepers will get the best relief from medium-firm mattresses.

While some sciatica patients sleep on their stomachs, you should avoid it at all costs. This position can strain your neck and back, increasing pain.

Eliminate Your Back Pain with Expert Spine Doctors in Florida

Proper sleep is vital, as it allows the body to repair itself and prepare for the next day. But those with sciatica may not be obtaining the right amount of sleep. If you have sciatica, turn to the Florida spine surgeons at Orthopedic & Laser Spine Surgery. Our board-certified doctors will do everything they can to ease your pain through non-surgical healing methods and minimally invasive surgeries.

To learn more about our services, call (855) 853-6542 or complete an online contact form today!

COVID-19 UPDATE: Due to ongoing efforts to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 in our communities, our office hours may vary. However, our physicians will be offering ONLINE appointments during this time to address your medical needs. To learn more about this exciting new service, contact our patient advocates today!