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.
Hot Tips For Sleeping With Sciatica
Here are some more ways to improve your sleep with sciatica.
- Keep your body in alignment. Try not to twist your spine or swing your hips over too far to the side.
- Try yoga or light stretching. A gentle yoga or stretch sesh before bed can help reduce nerve pressure. It can also loosen and relax your muscles.
- Swap your mattress. Goldilocks knows whats up. Go with a medium-firm mattress. Studies show theyre best for promoting primo spine health.
- Get a piece of plywood. We know this might sound weird, but hear us out. Put a piece of plywood between your mattress and box spring. It will add a firm layer of support.
- Add tub time to your routine. A warm bath may help soothe lower back pain. Plus a relaxing bath has beaucoup mental health benefits. Win-win.
- Get a body pillow or pregnancy pillow. These bad boys will keep you from flip-flopping throughout the night. They might be extra useful if youre a stomach sleeper since they can stop you from rolling onto your belly.
- Develop good sleep habits. Adopting solid sleep habits can boost the overall quality of your sleep. Try to go to bed at the same time every night, keep your room at a comfy temp, and say no to caffeine before bed.
First Step: Find Out Why You Have Sciatica Pain
Getting relief from sciatica takes some detective work. First, try to find out the cause. Then you can take steps to address it. This might require a visit to your doctor and some sessions with a physical therapist.
Causes of sciatica include:
- Spinal stenosis .
- Injury to the sciatic nerve from a fall or accident.
- Tumor or growth near the sciatic nerve .
The cause of your sciatica affects what positions or activities bother you, Sieberth says. This will also determine which sleeping positions work for you. For instance, someone with a bulging disc may find back sleeping comfortable, while someone with stenosis might prefer side sleeping.
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Try A Sleep Aid Supplement
When sleeping with sciatica, both getting to sleep and staying that way can be a significant problem. Sleep aids contain ingredients that are usually herbal based that encourage a deeper and sustained sleep. They dont work for everyone and the evidence isnt exactly overwhelming for their use, but I know people who swear by them.
The following sleep aids are some of the best I have either personally used or recommended to clients.
Supplements to Improve Sleeping with Sciatica
The first is this 5-HTP supplement by Solgar. 5-HTP is a fantastic supplement that helps sciatica at night by improving the serotonin production of the human brain, allowing a deeper and more restorative sleep. Youll likely feel quite tired soon after taking one so be sure to only consume just before bed:
I have also been advocating this NeuroRest supplement below for years. It has a superb combination of all-natural ingredients to help encourage sleep both dropping off quicker and staying asleep longer. Although a little more expensive than other sleep aids, its popularity is well justified in my opinion:
Tip #9 for how to sleep with sciatica pain
Difficulty Or Impaired Leg Mobility
Individuals with sciatica may find it difficult to walk, stand or sit in due to the pain and other neurological manifestations of sciatica such as weakness or numbness of the lower extremities.
The signs and symptoms listed above may manifest for a couple of weeks or may last for many years. However, it is essential to note that not everyone will experience the same sciatica symptoms because causes of sciatica may differ from one person to another.
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Other Tips On How To Sleep With Sciatic Nerve Pain
Changing your sleeping position is only one solution for dealing with sciatic nerve pain. Here are other tips on how to relieve sciatica pain in bed:
- Avoid sleeping on your stomach. This can cause your spine to curve down toward the mattress, which puts extra pressure on muscles and joints. Any pain you feel may be more severe if you have a soft mattress.
- Sleep on a firmer mattress. A medium to firm mattress can help your spine stay in proper alignment. When shopping for mattresses, consult with the workers at the store to find out which ones are best at reducing sciatic nerve pain.
- Install plywood under your mattress. This tip may be useful if you dont want to replace a soft mattress. Place a plywood board between your mattress and the box spring if you have one. This can provide you with extra support in terms of proper spine alignment.
- Take a warm bath before bedtime. A warm bath may help reduce sciatic nerve pain.
- Stretch before bedtime. Gentle stretching or yoga can help loosen your muscles and reduce sciatic nerve pain.
- Try using a body pillow. A long body pillow may prevent you from flipping and moving into other positions while you sleep.
- Improve your sleep quality. A good nights sleep may lessen your sciatica pain. Invest in comfortable sheets, lower the temperature in your home, and avoid looking at screens to improve your sleep quality.
Back Pain At Night And Ankylosing Spondylitis
There are two main categories of back pain: mechanical and inflammatory. Mechanical back pain results from problems with the way the different components of your spine work together. Mechanical back pain, such as from overuse injuries, poor posture, or a herniated disc, is the reason for the vast, vast majority of back pain cases.
On the other hand, inflammatory back pain occurs because theres a problem with your immune system attacking the joints in your spine, sacroiliac joints , and the entheses .
Back pain that wakes you up in the second half of the night is one of a few key signs that your back pain could be inflammatory and due to a disease like ankylosing spondylitis.
Patients often experience stiffness and pain that awakens them in the early morning, a distinctive symptom not generally found in patients with mechanical back pain, reports Medscape.
Its not common to have back pain so bad in the middle of the night that you cant go back to sleep, says Fardina Malik, MD, a rheumatologist at NYU Langone in New York City who frequently treats patients with ankylosing spondylitis.
Mechanical back pain generally feels better when you rest or sleep. You might have discomfort, but you should be able to sleep through the night.
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Is Surgery Necessary For Sciatica
If, despite doing everything one is instructed to do, the pain continues and the CT or MRI shows a problem with the disc or bone, back surgery may be recommended. Back surgery is generally performed for patients who have tried all other methods of treatment first. There are exceptions to this, such as people with ongoing nerve damage or cauda equina syndrome.
Why Is My Sciatica Worse In The Morning
Sciatica is not uncommon in todays world, and the types of pain afflicting individuals can vary wildly. But one cause of pain, rooted in sedentary lifestyles and disc degeneration, is extremely common and can make it difficult to get through your day.Sciatica afflicts a great number of people. The condition can be chronic, coming and going in varied intensity. However, one common complaint we hear at Advanced Spine and Posture in Las Vegas, NV is that our patients pain is much worse in the morning.
While youd think that pain would be reduced in the morning after a full nights rest and being off your feet, sciatica can be worsened by certain things in your sleep. If you suffer from morning sciatic nerve pain, heres how you can fix it.
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Dont Sleep On Your Stomach
If possible, it is best to avoid it if you have sciatica. Stomach sleeping is actually considered the worse sleeping position as it flattens the spines natural curvature and strains the neck when your head is turned to one side. Even if this position provides sciatica relief, avoid it, so you dont suffer from back and neck problems in the future.
For those who can only console sleep on their stomach, consider switching your mattress to a medium firm mattress. These type of beds will provide your body the support it needs to stay afloat and keep your spine aligned.
Invest In Personal Care Equipment
Invest in personal equipment that can help relieve sciatica symptoms with acupressure. Discuss with your doctor or with a physical therapist before you purchase any of these to see the proper way to use them to help with your sciatica symptoms.
Tennis Balls: Rolling over a tennis ball can provide a gentle sciatica massage that relaxes tense muscles.
Spinal Roller: A thick foam roller that can help relieve hip pain.
Knobble: A more focused acupressure device that can help with hip pain.
Back Buddy: This device is an S-shaped tool that can help provide localized pressure on specific points.
Sleeping with sciatica doesnt have to be a nightmare. Using some resources and different sleeping techniques can help you find the perfect sleeping position that works for you. Getting the rest while suffering from sciatica is necessary to help your body repair itself and alleviate sciatica symptoms.
If your sciatic pain has become chronic and conservative treatment does not relieve your pain, then it may be an indication that the condition which is causing sciatica may require surgery.
The Bonati Spine Institute offers out-patient, safe and highly effective alternative to traditional open back surgery and spinal fusion. The Bonati Procedures achieve great results in decompressing nerves and resolving the underlying issue to alleviate the pain and treat sciatica.
To learn more about how we may be able to help treat your sciatic pain, you may or contact us at 267-0483.
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Sciatica Pain Is Worse At Night Why
One of the reasons for this is that inflammatory processes tend to be worse at night. If you are suffering from sciatica, it is likely that the affected nerve root in your spine is inflamed.
You can read in more detail about why inflammation is the enemy in sciatica HERE.
Another reason that sleeping with sciatica can be so painful is often due to the position you are lying in. Sometimes, these positions can place a stretch on the affected nerve. Irritated nerves hate to be stretched and they inform us of that fact by giving us more pain!
Read the following tips for how to sleep with sciatica, without being woken up repeatedly every night.
How To Sleep With Sciatica Pain
Many people that have sciatica find that their pain may increase when they try to go to sleep at night. This is usually because the location of the nerve that is impacted is now under more pressure when you are lying down, especially on your side. The increased pressure can irritate the nerve even more depending on the type of mattress you have – or your favorite sleeping position.
Since pain often extends beyond the specific pain or trigger point and extends down the leg, this becomes increasingly difficult.
Whatever the cause, the suggestions for getting a better nights sleep will be the same. So, when learning how to sleep with sciatica, those are the two things you should do first.
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Extra Tips To Improve Your Sleep
Don’t sleep on a soft mattress, as this may worsen your condition. Research shows that a medium-firm mattress is ideal for getting proper sleep.
Take a warm bath before bedtime to help soothe your lower back and relax your mind.
Add light stretching to your daily routine. This helps relieve the tightness in your back muscles and the pressure from your sciatic nerve. Seek advice from your doctor before performing any stretches.
Consider investing in an adjustable bed so that you can fine-tune your postures to ensure that you have a good night’s sleep.
Experimenting With Sleeping Positions
Theres no perfect sleeping position, mattress or pillow that always works for sciatica pain. But that doesnt mean you have to suffer night after night. With the help of a physical therapist, you can figure out which sleeping position will work best for you.
Start with good spinal alignment
As a starting point, see if sleeping with a straight back is comfortable for you. Many people find that getting their spine in a neutral position is helpful, says Sieberth.
When you lie down, ensure that your head, shoulders and hips are in a straight line, she adds. Put a small pillow under your neck and head but not your shoulders. Sometimes its necessary to put a pillow under your knees to prevent your back from arching too much. Once you get in this position, think about what hurts or what feels good. Then you can tweak your sleeping position from there.
Try side sleeping
Some people find that side sleeping is comfortable. It can take some of the pressure off your sciatic nerve, especially if you sleep on the side opposite of where it hurts.
Putting a pillow between your knees can make side sleeping more comfortable, Sieberth says. It aligns your hips and takes pressure off the pelvis. Another option is to place a pillow behind your back for support. This also keeps you from rolling onto your back.
Curve it forward
You can mimic this at night and get some quality sleep by:
If arching your back feels good, try stomach sleeping
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Q Why Is Sciatica Worse At Night
When you lay down you put additional pressure on your nerves and that can heighten pain. Moreover, most people sleep in cold temperatures and some people become sensitive to cold temperatures because of the pain.
Doctors also conclude that Sciatica pain worsens at night because at night people are usually left to their devices, they have nothing to distract their mind from the pain and that is when they notice their pain the most.
Furthermore, at night when your body starts preparing for rest your hormone levels change and that can contribute to pain. For instance, cortisol levels drop when your body is preparing to sleep, that can cause your inflammation to rise and add more to your pain levels.
Your medication might wear off during the night as most people take them during the day. This can also be a factor of why your sciatica is worse at night.
Take Your Prescribed Medications
If your doctor has prescribed you with pain medications, take them as prescribed if your sciatica pain is not allowing you to get any sleep. Rest is essential and can actually aid in the healing process. If you do not want to take any prescribed medications, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications can also help reduce some of your sciatica.
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Get Help For Sleeping With Sciatica
Sleeping with sciatica shouldnt be something you dread all day. You do have multiple treatment options and techniques that can help reduce your pain at night. For example, you could try to follow a wind-down routine that includes:
- Easy sciatica stretches before bed
- Massaging pain-relieving creams into painful areas, or propping pillows up the way you need
- A short meditation routine to clear your thoughts
While this routine cant cure or stop your sciatica completely, it can help you get the rest you need. And without that, your body wont have the healing space it needs to help calm inflammation or irritation thats causing your pain.
For even more specialized help, click the button below to find a pain doctor in your area. Theyll be able to diagnose the cause and extent of your pain, while suggesting treatment approaches that could work for you. With the right help, pain while sleeping with sciatica could be a thing of the past.
Substitute White Meat For Red Meat In The Evenings
Food is more than just food it can calm you down or make you feel more awake and ready for your day.
Eating white meat has a calming effect on little receptors in your brain called neurotransmitters, which control energy and alertness. Red meat is great in the mornings to get the neurotransmitters firing but we dont really want this at night, especially when sleeping with sciatica.
If you eat a lot of red meat, try eating this meal at lunch time and opt for chicken or fish in the evening instead. Making this simple swap can have a great effect on sleep.
Hint: Combining white meat with a carbohydrate side can further improve sleep when sleeping with sciatica. The outdated advice to avoid carbs in the evening has been dismissed in the modern day as experts have shown that eating carbs late can actually help sleep.
Tip #6 for how to sleep with sciatica pain
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When You Should See A Doctor
If your hip pain is regularly keeping you from sleep or waking you up at night, see your doctor.
They may check for tenderness and swelling around your hip. Theyll also assess the range of motion of your hip for signs of arthritis and tendonitis. Reduced motion is a sign of arthritis.
They may also take blood or fluid samples, or order X-rays to rule out various conditions.
Go to an urgent care facility or to an emergency room if your hip pain is caused from an injury.
Also seek immediate care if you have any of these symptoms:
- a joint that looks deformed
- inability to move your leg or hip
- inability to put weight on the leg with the sore hip
- intense pain or sudden swelling in your hip
- fever, chills, redness, or other signs of infection