Today, per popular demand, I wanted to talk a little bit about positions that will help you get to sleep if you’re dealing with sciatica. And two things that I really want you to take away from today’s blog posts. Number one being that no sciatica is created equal nor is any kind of back problem, hip issue, or any kind of issue you may be suffering from. These tips are very general outlines that tend to help the masses, but if this is not something that is helpful for you, please don’t take that as though you have a case that just can’t be helped. What that usually means is you just need a little bit more one-on-one guidance because your body is reacting, or has gotten into this position in a slightly different way, but it’s 100% treatable.
So again, if today is not helpful for you, please don’t give up on it. There is definitely a way to be helped. So that’s number one: no sciatica is created equal.
The second point is that the most important thing that I’m going for here is that you get to sleep. I’m going to go through a couple of things where I’m going to say things like “hey, this isn’t an ideal position, but if you’re getting to sleep because you’re getting into one of these positions, then I frankly don’t care (if it’s not ideal). I’d rather help you get to sleep so that your body can start healing a little bit more naturally and healing on its own, and then if the problem persists, I’d love for you to reach out to me so I can help guide you towards a permanent solution. If you’re not wanting to reach out to me quite yet, I’d also be happy to send you free tips reports to help you. If it’s something that has persisted for a while, it’s likely it will not go away on its own, and waiting is only putting off the inevitable of finding someone to guide you towards a solution. You need an individualized approach that will help you get over the sciatica
(See video for visual of the following paragraph)
If I’m laying on a flat surface on my side, my spine is going to naturally bend down towards the bed. Now, if it’s a softer surface, which most beds are going to be a lot softer than the plinth that I’m working on, your spine is going to sink even lower. And that matters because depending on the reason that you’re having sciatica symptoms, that’s either going to close off the spinal segment on one side, or it might push out the disc out on the other side. If your spine is malaligned like that, you’re going to want to get in a position that your spine neutral.
Now, now let’s pretend I’m laying on my back. Most people that are laying in a soft bed, are going to again, have some of that spinal flexion. That’s going to eventually be a problem. It might feel good at first, and we’ll talk about how knees to chest often feels good, but it’s kind of a trick to your body. That might feel good at first, but if you’re laying there longer and longer, I’m sure some of you have noticed that the pain builds and builds over time. Whereas if we get you in a little bit more spine neutral and actually give your low back some support, that can be overall a more beneficial thing for you as it will help you get to sleep comfortably and it will not wake you up in the middle of the night (as long as you’re not a fighter in your sleep).
One thing that I also want to point out with laying on your side is it could be beneficial for you to get pillows between your legs, in order to line your knee up with your hip from a side view (knees and hips are level with each other).
Another position we touch on in the video is the knees elevated position from your back, which allows your lock back to round out, which can feel really good for people who are struggling with low back pain symptoms. That’s called a “stretch reflex,” which is where initially the stretch on something that is tight and guarded feels good, but the longer that position is held, the muscles in your back start getting tighter and tighter. When the muscles of the low back feel that stretch, it’s your body’s natural reaction to start countering and going pull tighter and tighter and tighter. Some of you that may have been suffering for a while might have already noticed that you can’t really handle those positions for a long time anymore because of that tightening and you may even be noticing that you’re less and less able to bend forward and touch your toes or pick things up from the floor. Once again, if that gets you to sleep, great! But more often than not that position is not a long term solution, and eventually the pain comes back with a vengeance. But for now, you need to sleep, so even though it’s not an ideal position if it works for you in terms of getting you to sleep, I’m fine with it.
Other people try laying on their stomach, that’s fine too. If laying on your stomach is something that helps you get to sleep and you don’t have any residual side effects or any problems with sleeping on your stomach, then I don’t have a problem with it. I think a lot of people argue over what’s an inappropriate sleeping position, and whose spine is in the best position, and what kind of bed should I be getting, but all that can be wiped clean if you are just getting the sleep you need.
Sleep is a starting point. Understand that I mean if you’re getting the sleep that you need that is step 1 of recovery, not the full solution, and somebody who is a movement expert, like myself, needs to take a look at how you move and determine what you need to be doing to make sure that your body doesn’t keep reacting the way that’s causing the sciatica to occur and causing those muscles to tighten. It’s more often than not how we are moving as opposed to how we are sleeping that’s causing the problem. How we are sleeping can absolutely add on to that unraveling cascade of events that’s causing this back pain.
To recap, those are two different positions that you can try out in order to get some sleep. If you have sciatica and those don’t work for you, please consider giving us a call and ask about a FREE discovery visit. We’d love to take a look at you and show you exactly how you can start getting some sleep. That number is (336) 933-1544.
P.S. If you’re not quite ready for that, we understand not everybody is ready for physical therapy right out of the gate, but I’d still love to help you as much as I can. What I’ve done is I’ve put together a free tips report that’s my best shot at helping people with hip pain and sciatica improve their symptoms at home by themselves. Click here to download that free report right now so you can start getting some relief now and maybe you can get to sleep tonight.