How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

May 23, 2024 | Pain Management

Sleepless nights are hard to endure, especially if you’re suffering from chronic lower back pain or sciatica. It can be difficult, if not impossible, to find relief from the searing pain that radiates constantly down the leg. It can be endlessly frustrating — and even hopeless — when the pain keeps coming night after night.

But there’s hope. As pain management experts, we’ve got some tips and insights into how to sleep better with lower back pain and sciatica. Below, we’ll explore various pain management options and highlight where to find the fastest, longest-lasting relief.

The Causes of Back Pain and Sciatica

First of all, know that you’re not alone. Lower back pain is remarkably common and affects millions of people each year. Sciatica is a specific type of lower back pain that travels down the sciatic nerve (the longest nerve in the body) from the spine to the buttocks and typically one leg.

Lower back pain and sciatica are usually caused by at least one of the following conditions:

  • Spinal disc herniation — When the soft cushion between vertebrae bulges or ruptures, it can irritate the sciatic nerve.
  • Spinal stenosis — Narrowing of the spinal canal can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves.
  • Muscle strain — Overuse or injury can cause muscle spasms in the lower back, leading to pain.
  • Arthritis — Degeneration of joints in the spine can cause pain and stiffness.

Tips for How to Sleep With Lower Back Pain and Sciatica

Getting healthy, restful sleep can be a challenge with or without back pain for many people. While these tips may not make your pain go away, they can increase your chances of experiencing longer, deeper sleep. 

Try optimizing your bedroom conditions with these suggestions:

Invest in a Supportive Mattress

A medium-to-firm mattress provides better support for your spine’s natural curve.

Embrace Pillows

Place a pillow between your knees when lying on your side, or under your knees when on your back, to maintain proper spinal alignment.

Adjust the Temperature

A cool room promotes deeper sleep, so aim for a temperature between 60-67°F (15-19°C).

Dim the Lights

Darkness signals to your brain that it’s time to rest. Blackout curtains or an eye mask can provide that extra layer of protection from the light.

Relaxing Bedtime Routine

Take a warm bath, practice gentle stretches, listen to relaxing music or sounds, or read a calming book before bed.

Pain Management Options

Getting good sleep is essential, but so is treating your pain. If you’ve experienced lower back or sciatica pain for longer than three months, it’s time to make an appointment with a pain management specialist. These medical practitioners are trained to identify the true source of your pain and create a personalized treatment plan to reduce your pain as much as possible. 

When visiting a pain management clinic, you can expect to receive one or more of the following kinds of treatment options:

Physical Therapy

Exercises and stretches are commonly prescribed for strengthening core muscles and improving flexibility, which can reduce pain and lower the chances of re-injuring the area in the future.


Physicians frequently recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, muscle relaxants, or prescription medications to provide some level of temporary relief.

Psychological Therapy

Chronic pain is an enemy of long-term mental and emotional health. Seeing a qualified behavioral therapist can equip you to handle the stress and anxiety that often accompany lower back and sciatica pain.

Minimally Invasive Procedures

  • Nerve blocks deliver anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medication to temporarily block pain signals
  • Trigger point injections target specific tight muscle knots (trigger points) that cause pain
  • Radiofrequency ablations use radio waves to heat and deactivate pain-producing nerves

HPM Can Help

HPM offers a comprehensive and proven approach to pain management at our network of clinics in rural communities across the country. Our team of board-certified pain specialists works with each patient to develop an individual treatment plan to reduce their pain and return their body to normal function. We use the latest advancements in pain management to get you back on your feet — and sleeping well — as quickly as possible.
Take the first step towards a better night’s sleep and a pain-free future. Visit the HPM website today to find a location near you.