Welcome, Friend!

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!

Veritas-Health LLC has recently released patient forums to our Arthritis-Health web site.

Please visit http://www.arthritis-health.com/forum

There are several patient story videos on Spine-Health that talk about Arthritis. Search on Patient stories
Protect anonymity
We strongly suggest that members do not include their email addresses. Once that is published , your email address is available to anyone on the internet , including hackers.

All discussions and comments that contain an external URL will be automatically moved to the spam queue. No external URL pointing to a medical web site is permitted. Forum rules also indicate that you need prior moderator approval. If you are going to post an external URL, contact one of the moderators to get their approval.
Attention New Members
Your initial discussion or comment automatically is sent to a moderator's approval queue before it can be published.
There are no medical professionals on this forum side of the site. Therefore, no one is capable or permitted to provide any type of medical advice.
This includes any analysis, interpretation, or advice based on any diagnostic test

Sleep Position -- Less Pain with Back Sleeping

maryelleninnjmmaryelleninnj Posts: 101
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:18 AM in Sleep Problems
I have found a big improvement in my sciatica symptoms since consistently sleeping on my back with knees elevated. I am also propped up with two pillows under my shoulders, the top one being made of memory foam. I sleep on a Tempur-Pedic memory foam Mattress Guidelines for Sleep Comfort, which we bought about three months ago.

I have Spondylolisthesis: Articles and Videos on Symptoms, Causes, Treatment L4/L5 and severe arthritis. Pain was mostly on getting out of bed in morning (shooting pains down left buttock and leg); hip pain when walking more than 5 minutes; leg pain when sleeping on side.

For some time now, I've struggled with trying to Sleep and Insomnia: Articles and Videos on Mattresses and Better Sleep on my back the whole night. I would start out on my back, but change positions through the night. Whenever I did that, my symptoms worsened. After forcing myself to sleep in my back the whole night, I noticed a big improvement. There was minimal pain getting out of bed. And when shopping yesterday, the hip pain didn't start until about a half hour.

Mary Ellen


  • Am so glad that you have found a way to sleep that helps lessen your pain....Congrats !!!!!! I hope you continue to feel better and better.... :)
  • :) hi! i see that this is your first post and i wanted to welcome you to the forum! we are here to offer you support and answer what questions we can. perhaps you were on the old SH? do you have a diagnosis? take medication? please let us know more about yourself. you can drop by the Newcomers section if you like. i am not familiar with your pain exactly but i am sure how we sleep can affect our pain levels. if this is working for you by all means stick to it! good luck! Jenny :)
  • My surgery was on 6/11/08, I had to buy a firm mattress to sleep on as mine was painfully to low and soft. Now my problem is I have a lot of pain in the left sciatica nerve, doesn't travel down the leg, and when I go to sleep I can only sleep on my left side also. When I try my right side I can't roll to my back, the left nerve screams. When I am on my left side I can roll to my back with little pain at times. I wake up 2 hours after I fall asleep to go to the bathroom, which is a huge problem right now, then sleep again for another 2.
    Any suggestions for the pain? I am on vicodin and zanaflex. I need to get a good nights sleep as I go back to work monday with school starting the following monday. Should be interesting, not allowed to bend or twist , and I teach kindergarten.
    tomorrow I see my neurosurgeon with my x-rays that were taken today.
    one last question, I need to buy a new car because of my accident and what I am driving now is too low to get in and not twist my body around to get in all the way. Anyone know of a car that has electric driver seats and reasonably priced?
    Thanks! >:D<
  • Since my original post in 2008, I have had several ESI's, but have not found long-lasting relief from my sciatica symptoms. The sleeping position that used to work for me (on back, pillow supporting knees)doesn't help anymore. And just normal position changes through the night hurt so badly that I wake up. Doctor just prescribed Tramadol. Does anyone have other sleep position suggestions I could try? My morning pain is quite severe -- I have difficulty walking and dressing on most mornings.
  • Does anyone have more suggestions about helpful sleeping positions to deal with sciatica pain? Lately, nothing works for me. Help!
  • I sleep on my side with a pillow between my legs and another pillow against my chest tucked up to my chin to keep me from rolling forward. Plus a small pillow under my head. I also have to make certain that I am adequately hydrated before going to bed. Our discs need water and without enough, they don't provide as much of a cushion and I wake up miserable.

  • C, thanks for the suggestion. I will try it. But I have found that, even with a pillow between my knees, my leg starts hurting when I lie on my side.

  • I sleep pretty much the same way as C including the three pillows. I still have to change my position every couple of hours though, because I get so achy and stiff.

    Hope that you find a way to be comfortable while you sleep. :-)
  • It has been so long since I have been able to sleep without hurting, that I have basically forgotten what it's like. It is normal for me to wake up every few hours because I hurt and have to either walk it off and go back to bed, or try and change positions. Many times I just give up and get out of bed. My goal when I go to bed is to sleep a few hours then shift and sleep a few more. The weird part, is it really doesn't register to me that it is pain anymore, it just "is what it is" and I don't know any different. I hope that makes sense. So maybe in a way it is a blessing, because once it eases up, I can forget most of it and go back to sleep or get on with my day.

    I know that's way off the topic of pillows to sleep with, but at the time it seemed relevant. The pillow I use between my legs, must support not only my knees, but my ankles as well. Otherwise the pain in my hip and thigh starts up rather fast.

  • Thanks C. I am beginning to feel exactly the same way. And my pain has only been really bad for about six weeks! That's when the last ESI wore off. I usually get to sleep pretty quick, it's just staying asleep that is the problem. I have found the same thing about the pillows. Must support knees and ankles.
  • Since sitting in my recliner seems to help, thought I'd try sleeping in the bed sitting up, using pillows to prop me up, and a pillow to support my knees. It seems to be helping. My morning pain is not about a 7 instead of a 10.
  • ...sleeping. Yeah I know most of you have read sleeping on your stomach is bad. Well some docs disagree, so do I. I sleep on my stomach with a smaller pillow under my belly. No pillow under my head. I sleep more hours in a row like this than any position I can get in.

    I also sleep well on the couch in spells. The couch has recliners on the ends. The middle piece doesn't and is fairly firm. For some reason that transition if softer/harder/softer seems to work for a few days. I'll sleep great for several hours. Then a few days later it stops working and I go back to sleeping in the bed. Sitting and sleeping are still a problem for me. Even with the other issues resolved.
  • Thanks for the advice Z06. I have tried stomach sleeping too, with the support under my hips. It's not bad for my back, but not good if I have heartburn or develop a full bladder. I will try it again though. Side sleeping feels okay for a few minutes, then my legs start to ache, even with pillows supporting the top leg. Maybe I should replace my glider rocker in the bedroom with a recliner. I think I will do that!
  • Hey guys,

    I can agree with this one... I was advised by my physio to try lying on front with pillow underneath my hips for lumbar support (I had an L4, L5, S1 fusion 9 months ago) and sometimes it really does help. I'm currently having a bit of a setback and some horrible "referred" pain in my thoracic area and all round into my ribs that really burns, and sometimes, lying on my stomach with my fists digging into my ribs is the only way I can ride out the time waiting for the pain relief to kick in or til I can get back to sleep. When I first had my surgery they told me back sleeping only, but I now find 9 months on that I can't sleep or lie on my back for any long period at all as it makes the pain worse, and also sleeping on my side with knees tucked up can help. Funny how something that was the only way I used to be comfortable is now the only way I can no longer sleep! I'm currently back onto stronger meds while having this thoracic/rib pain setback but am hoping that in time all the physio, chiro, walking etc will strengthen my back up again and get it used to how it now has to work... fingers crossed. I hate being on all the meds but the pain is too unbearable otherwise, and in the meantime, stomach sleeping = helpful! Take care all :)
Sign In or Register to comment.