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Best Sleep Positions for Sciatica Pain

By HERWriter
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best positions for sleep when you have sciatica pain via Unsplash

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. It will help alleviate the pressure on your lower back and hips, and also reduce any swelling on the nerves in your lower back.

During the night, I will rotate between the three positions a few times. I may turn to lay flat on my back or even on my stomach. The rotation of positions aids in a good night’s sleep when I have sciatica pain. I will also throw on a pack of ice on my lower back for 20 minutes if the pain is causing me to stay awake.

If you wake up in the morning and are unable to move or physically get out of bed, you need to contact your doctor immediately.

What sleep position do you use when you have sciatica pain?


Farrelly, L. Sleeping Positions for Sciatic Pain | eHow.com. eHow | How to Videos, Articles & More - Discover the expert in you. | eHow.com. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from

How to get a GOOD NIGHT'S sleep - Spinal Health Care. - Spinal Health Care. Retrieved July 2, 2012, from

Reviewed July 2, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN
Edited by Jody Smith

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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