Why does Sciatic Nerve Pain always seem worse at night? Many people find it difficult to get comfortable and fall asleep because of this, so let us look at some ways to relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain so you can get a better night’s sleep.
Sciatic nerve pain is most commonly caused by a bulging or a ruptured spinal disk. Sciatica affects an estimated forty percent of the population at varying stages of life and is one of the most common ailments facing society today, especially as we get older.
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How To Relieve Sciatic Nerve Pain, Especially At Night
So why does Sciatic Nerve Pain get worse at night?
Let’s take a look at some Sciatic Nerve Basics first and see what the best management techniques are to find relief from pain at night.
What is Sciatic Nerve Pain?
The sciatic nerve roots originate in the low back or lumbar spine at the spinal nerve levels of L4-S1. It’s literally the largest nerve in the body. No wonder it can be such a pest!
Once the nerve roots leave their origin in the spine, they will form the actual sciatic nerve. The nerve travels down the pelvis and continues down the back of the leg.
Once it reaches the back of the knee, it will branch off into two additional nerve branches: the tibial nerve and the common peroneal nerve. These branches continue on their own pathways down the rest of the leg to the foot.
The sciatic nerve and its branches innervate a large number of muscles down the back of the leg and into the foot.
This nerve and its branches also allow for proper sensation down the back of the leg. This includes the areas of the back or posterior thigh, the back and outer part of the lower leg (posterior and lateral regions), and the top and bottom of the foot.
Symptoms Of Sciatic Nerve Pain
This is what can cause Sciatic nerve pain and what it can feel like:
Any pressure along any point of the Sciatic nerve and its branches can cause pain.
The causes can include spinal degeneration, and abnormal spinal alignment like, for example, scoliosis, a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, and muscle tightness. When pressure happens along the Sciatic nerve any of the following can occur:
- A shooting or electric-type pain radiating down the back of the leg.
- Numbness or tingling down the back of the leg.
- Muscle weakness anywhere along the back of the leg.
Sometimes Sciatic nerve pain will also come with lower back pain, but an acute episode of lower back pain will not necessarily mean you have Sciatic pain.
So What Causes Sciatic Nerve Pain To Be Worse At Night?
What happens is that during the day when we are upright, the intervertebral discs that cushion our spinal joints experience frequent compression forces due to gravity. This on spinal discs can cause loss of fluid and shrinkage of disc height.
Normally at night time our spine and the discs are allowed to decompress and recover from the forces of the day, so in this way, fluid is returned to those dehydrated discs and some of that loss of disc height is restored as we are lying down. So we should ideally wake up as good as new in a perfect world.
But if the compressive forces from the day are pressing on the sciatic nerve and they are not relieved at night during sleep, then your sciatic nerve pain can get worse and disrupt your sleep at night.
Another reason you could get Sciatic nerve pain is because of tight muscles.
What Will Help To Ease The Pain?
Stress and the position in which you sleep could also be causing pain. Try sleeping on your side in a fetal position with a pillow between your knees and see if this helps. A thick pillow will do the trick better than a thin pillow.
If you prefer sleeping on your back, then place two pillows underneath your knees to take the pressure off of your lower back.
Sleeping on your stomach is not good for Sciatic pain, but if you must try placing a pillow underneath your stomach so that your back is not arched.
If none of the above work, then try experimenting with different mattresses. Some will find relief with a softer mattress while others will prefer a harder one. Everyone’s body is different.
If you are looking at a natural way to get pain relief, Turmeric, which is a natural anti-inflammatory herb may be taken as a tea, and in liquid or capsule form, while Devil’s Claw has also long been used as an alternative treatment for pain and inflammation and has shown promising results. Both of these remedies have become very popular.
Topical treatments containing menthol, lidocaine, or herbal preparations can be massaged into the affected muscles for added relief. Ask your pharmacist for a recommendation.
Try some gentle stretching.
Lie on the bed and use a towel around your foot to hold your leg up one at a time for a good hamstring stretch. You could also use a friend to hold your leg up.
Hold this stretch for 50 to 60 seconds and do it twice on each leg.
You can also try lying down and bending your leg and pulling your foot across your groin. You can either pull your foot towards you with your hands or cross your foot over your other leg and then use your hands to lift up the bottom leg behind your thigh.
You should feel a deep stretch in the side of your buttocks. Once again hold this stretch for at least sixty seconds on each leg.
Getting into a good relaxing nighttime routine of a nice warm bath and then a good stretch before bedtime can do wonders for your back pain.
If however, you have tried all the methods above and you have any of these symptoms, it is time to get professional medical help.
- A loss of sensation in the area of the thighs and bottom that would touch a saddle if you had to sit on it.
- Extreme and unrelenting pain that won’t go away.
- Sudden weakness in the legs where they want to give way when trying to walk or stand.
- Loss of bowel or bladder control.
Please comment below if you have suffered from Sciatic nerve pain and share your tips on what helps you. It will help my readers immensely if you can give them another way to relieve sciatic nerve pain.