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Sciatica Guide

Maryann Gromisch RN Guide

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Best Sleep Positions for Sciatica Pain

By MC Kelby HERWriter
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best positions for sleep when you have sciatica pain

Your sciatic nerve pain is acting up and it is time for bed. You are uncomfortable and you need a good night’s rest.

What are the best positions for those suffering from sciatica pain?

Unfortunately, there have been no scientific studies completed on the best sleep positions for sciatica pain. Also, there is a minimum amount of medical information available on the best sleep position.

As someone who suffers from occasional sciatica pain, here are my desired positions for sleep when my sciatica is bothering me:

• Sleeping on my side
• Sleeping on my stomach
• Sleeping on my back

The position I favor the most when I have pain is either lying on my side or on my stomach. Also, I noticed a great firm surface aids in a good night’s sleep.

For example, our master bedroom has a very soft mattress. On a rare occasion, I will sleep in our guest room which has a very hard mattress. This hard surface beats sleeping on our hardwood floors or our squishy leather couches.

But, most importantly if I am lying on my side, I need extra pillows to support my head and shoulders and knees. First, I adjust my head pillow to make sure it is slightly under my shoulders.

I want my neck to be aligned and level with my spine. I do not own any of those huge fluffy pillows because if I used one, I would wake up with a pain in my neck.

Next, I place two to three pillows under my knee closest to the ceiling when I am lying sideways. This seems to alleviate the pressure on my lower back and sciatica nerve.

In an article written by Lauren Farrelly, she had some similar tips for sleeping on your side when you have sciatic pain. Her tips include:

• First lie on your side, whichever one is more comfortable for you, on a flat and firm mattress.

• Place your head on one or two pillows so that your head is even with your spine. You want to keep your back and neck in as straight a line as possible.

• Next, bend your knee that is furthest from the mattress upwards toward your hips.

• Place two or three pillows under your knee so that your leg is supported.

• Try and sleep in this position for as long as you can.

Add a Comment2 Comments

EmpowHER Guest

I have recently been suffering from intense sciatic pain to the point of only being able to sleep 2-3 hours per night. The sleeping on the side method has been my fall back since this started. Today I found my miracle position: I wound up using maybe 6 or 7 pillows though I found a box about 12" tall which seems to be the perfect height. I place these under my stomach while face down and rest all my pressure on my stomach. This did not work until all weight was removed from my knees. Keep adding pillows until your knees are just barely touching the bed. I was able to hang my head over the other side of the pillows and sleep pain free for several hours.

February 10, 2015 - 7:06pm
EmpowHER Guest

This is great advice, but I know of a way to stop sciatic pain completely before you go to sleep, using self acupressure. There's a video demonstrating how to do that here, it's very effective:

July 8, 2012 - 9:46am
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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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