Twelve top sleep tips for sciatic nerve symptoms and back pain
It’s amazing what a good night’s sleep can do. You feel refreshed, invigorated and ready to face the challenges of the day. Well for many of us with experience of a bad back, pinched sciatic nerve symptoms, backache and the anxiety and stress caused by back pain, that feeling is just a distant dream….
Why is sleep so important? You know if you don’t get a good nights sleep how you feel but what is it doing to your body? It is said that most people need around 8 hours of sleep each might, some need more and some can do with less, if you have back pain or sciatica symptoms you may well be trying to cope on a lot less than 8 hours.
The fact is we have to sleep in order for our minds and bodies to repair and function properly and it is detrimental to us to lose too much sleep too often. Sleep deprivation in addition to making you feel tired and quite possibly irritable and depressed, may also lead to a weakened immune system, an inability to concentrate and increased stress and anxiety. So it is important that you, the professionals treating you and your loved ones take it seriously.
• Bedtime Routine
Stick to a bedtime routine. Relax before bed. You may find it helpful not to watch any exciting films or a challenging game and to be calm as possible an hour or so before bed. Some people find having a TV in the bedroom unhelpful when trying to sleep. If that is your experience ban it to the lounge! Have a warm bath or shower before bed. Get into your most comfy nightwear and have soft clean bedding. You may want to use a heat pad or hot water bottle for a while before bed, but do not use on your back while you are in bed.
• Your Sleep Environment.
Make your bedroom a place of peace and calm. No work should be here, no kids’ toys, no clutter. Ensure that your bedroom is at the correct temperature for you. Try to dim the lights about an hour or so before you go to bed. Try the age old remedy of a few drops of lavender under your pillow to help relax you.
Play relaxing music or a de-stress CD every night as you go to sleep. I have found this one of the best ways to drift off to sleep naturally when I have had severe back pain and pinched sciatic nerve symptoms.
Avoid tea, coffee, alcohol and any stimulants several hours before bed. Drink plenty of good quality water throughout the day. Relaxing herbal teas at night may help.
• Massage and other complimentary therapies.
If it is safe for you to have a massage and you can persuade your partner to give you a very gentle relaxing massage a few basic techniques can be learnt quite quickly. It may be best to avoid the painful areas and just concentrate on relaxation with some lovely relaxing oils such as lavender. Sometimes even just a hand massage can be very soothing while playing relaxation music. If you can have a professional massage on a regular basis this may help your back pain as well. If you are asking a massage therapist to work on your back do ensure they are qualified, certified and have a good knowledge of back pain and sciatica symptoms. You may also like to consider other complimentary therapies such as Reiki, Reflexology and Acupuncture by a qualified practitioner to see if they help you.
Check your mattress. You should replace it every 10 years as a minimum. Consider a memory foam mattress topper or other bed that suits your back. Do try any bed out properly and/or get one that has a money back guarantee. This is even more vital if you have back pain and sciatica symptoms as it is so important you get quality rest…
Deep controlled breathing can help control stress and pain.
• Muscle relaxation
Try progressive muscle relaxation techniques.
Do your back care stretches after your warm bath or shower and before you go to bed.
• Sleep Positions.
Experiment which sleep positions suit you best while you have a bad back. Try lying on your side with a pillow between your knees. We are all different but many people who have back pain often find it painful or exacerbate their condition if they lie on their stomachs so avoid it if this affects you. Try placing a towel or blanket under your hips to give you more support. Full length body pillows can be very good especially if you find you roll over onto your back during the night, some people use two or pillows on one side to keep them in a good sleep position.
If you have back pain and pinched sciatic nerve symptoms and are consistently having difficulty sleeping, which is affecting your life, do speak with your doctor.
• Don’t lie there aggravated.
If all else fails then don’t lie there aggravated, that will only increase your stress levels and make you even less likely to get any sleep. Do not beat yourself up about not being able to sleep. Know that you are not alone with this problem… Get up and have a walk around, do some stress reduction techniques and your back care stretches then go back to bed. Don’t clock watch; if you do you will just make yourself even more agitated. Alert your family that you may get up during the night and there is no need for fuss.
It is vital if you have back pain and pinched sciatic nerve symptoms that you ask questions, do your research and learn as much as you can.
Full body pillows and support pillows can really help to support your neck, back, spine and hips. They can help to put your spine in to better alignment thus taking pressure off and allowing you to get a better nights rest. I find it much better to use a body pillow than to try to manage normal pillows as they can slip about. A body pillow will stay in place and be very comfortable and supportive.