Sleep is a critical aspect of our daily routine and plays a crucial role in keeping our overall health and wellbeing in check. However, for those who suffer from sciatica nerve pain, getting a good night’s sleep can be a real challenge.
One of the most common complaints from patients with sciatica and nerve pain is that they cannot sleep because the nerve pain worsens at night.
What is sciatic nerve pain?
The sciatic nerve is the longest nerve in the body. It starts at the spinal cord, travels down to the hips and buttocks, and goes down the back of each leg.
Sciatic nerve pain is a condition that affects millions of people worldwide, and occurs when the sciatic nerve gets irritated or compressed.
The most common sciatica symptom is pain radiating from the lower back or buttocks down the leg. The pain may be described as sharp, burning, shooting or tingling and can be accompanied by weakness, numbness or a sensation of pins and needles.
In some instances, the pain can be so severe that it interferes with daily activities, including walking and sitting.
Sciatica and nerve pain can be caused by a variety of factors, including spinal stenosis, a herniated disc, or degenerative disc disease, as well as muscle tightness and other issues around the back, hip and buttocks.
It can also result from poor posture, muscle imbalances, or trauma to the back or buttocks. Risk factors for sciatica include obesity, age, and a sedentary lifestyle.
How does sciatica and nerve pain impact sleep?
Imagine trying to sleep with a fire burning down your leg, shooting electric bolts of pain with every minute that passes. This is how sciatic nerve pain may feel, and it can really interfere with your ability to sleep soundly.
The discomfort can be particularly brutal at night for those who suffer from sciatica and nerve pain.
- Lying down can put pressure on the nerve, exacerbating the pain and making it difficult to find a comfortable sleeping position.
- Even shifting slightly in bed can trigger a new wave of pain, causing sufferers to toss and turn in frustration.
As if the physical pain is not enough, sciatica and nerve pain can also lead to emotional distress and anxiety. The panic of not being able to sleep can make the pain feel more intense, creating a vicious cycle of discomfort and sleeplessness.
Tips for managing sciatica and nerve pain at night
Identify a comfortable sleeping position
Try several sleeping positions before you find a position that works for you. For example, some individuals find comfort by sleeping on one of their sides, along with a pillow between their legs. On the contrary, other people prefer sleeping on their backs with a pillow under their knees.
Chat to us here at Tim Wood healthcare about the best sleeping position for you.
Use heat therapy
Applying heat to the affected area can help soothe sciatica and promote relaxation, making it easier to fall asleep. It can relax your tissues and enhance blood circulation, preventing sciatic pain from flaring up as you begin to relax.
Try using a warm water bottle, heating pad, or warm towel to target the lower back and buttocks.Find professionals who are looking jobs in Norwich and can help you to manage nerve pain.
Practice relaxation techniques
Stress and anxiety can make sciatica and nerve pain feel even worse. So, finding ways to relax and calm your mind is necessary. Methods such as deep breathing, yoga, and meditation can help reduce stress and promote relaxation.
Take pain medication
Over the counter pain relieving medications may provide some relief from sciatica and nerve pain. However, be sure to talk to your osteopath at Tim Wood Healthcare, or General Practitioner before taking any medication, as they may have side effects or interact with other medications you are taking. We don’t recommend taking any medication without the advice of a healthcare professional.
Osteopathic treatment may help
Osteopathic treatment may help strengthen the muscles in your back and legs, reduce the pressure on the sciatic nerve and alleviate pain. An osteopath can also teach you exercises and stretches to do at home to help manage your back and neck pain.
Use a supportive mattress and pillow
Invest in a supportive mattress and pillow that promote good spinal alignment and relieve pressure on the lower back. Find a mattress that provides firm support without feeling too hard and a pillow that keeps your head and neck in a neutral position. Need advice? Chat to us here at our Maidstone or Rainham clinics next time you book an appointment at Tim Wood Healthcare.
Practice good posture
Poor posture can strain the lower back and induce sciatica and nerve pain. Be mindful of your posture all the times of the day, and make an effort to sit up straight and avoid slouching. For those who work at a desk, take regular breaks to walk around and stretch throughout the day.
Regular exercise can help keep the muscles in your back and legs strong and flexible, reducing the risk of sciatica pain. However, be sure to consult your osteopath before starting any new exercise program, and avoid activities that increase your symptoms.
Use a TENS machine
A Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS) unit is a small device that sends electrical impulses to the affected area, helping to block pain signals and alleviate discomfort. Talk to your osteopath about whether a TENS unit might be a good option for your back and neck pain. We recommend always consulting your health professional at Tim Wood Healthcare before trying any at-home treatments.
Get plenty of rest
Never underrate the significance of getting enough rest. Chronic sleep deprivation can worsen sciatic pain, so prioritise getting a good night’s sleep.
Adhere to a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol before bedtime, and create a relaxing sleep environment to help promote restful sleep. We recommend putting down your electronic devices (such as mobiles, iPads and even TV) one hour before heading to bed.
Sciatica and nerve pain can be a real problem, especially when it affects your sleep. The constant discomfort and the inability to find a comfortable position can make it difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep.
Luckily, there are several ways to manage sciatica nerve pain and improve the quality of your sleep. Contact your osteopathic team at Tim Wood Healthcare today to book your appointment. Together, we can guide you down to road to better health.