Physical pain can be life-limiting. This is especially true of discomfort interfering with one’s ability to rest and obtain the sleep needed to ensure their body functions properly. A medical condition capable of producing such untoward results is sciatica.
The lower spinal region contains a large physical component known as the sciatic nerve. This largest nerve in the human body helps connect the spinal cord with other vital features, such as the legs, thighs, buttocks, and feet. The ailment sciatica occurs when this nerve is inflamed, injured, or impacted by some type of underlying disorder.
In many instances, sciatica’s direct cause is some type of damage to internal structures neighboring the nerve in question. Physicians and orthopedic specialists often attribute such occurrences to aging or faulty spinal discs or the overgrowth of adjacent bones.
One’s chances of encountering such unpleasant events increases due to the presence of concerns including:
Certain health maladies possess the capacity to precipitate nerve damage. One such ailment is diabetes. However, conditions like cancer and arthritis might damage structures close to the sciatic nerve and result in associated symptoms.
As individuals grow older, they are more likely to experience degenerative spinal issues like herniated discs and bone overgrowth manifesting in a condition called bone spurs.
The excessive weight obese subjects carry places tremendous undue strain on the bones, muscles, and nerves in and around the spine and lower back. Eventually, this pressure can result in physical injuries precipitating sciatica.
Sitting For Extended Periods
Researchers have found that individuals who do not obtain adequate exercise or are forced to remain idle for prolonged stretches stand at greater risk of developing sciatica.
Persons employed in certain occupations necessitating repeated, awkward back movements, bending, or sitting for long intervals might elevate one’s risk. Specific jobs include construction worker, livery driver, and cement hauler.
The most obvious sign potentially suggesting sciatica’s presence is physical discomfort. This pain often:
- Begins in the lower back
- Spreads to other locations, such as down the stricken subject’s buttocks, thigh, and leg
- Varies in intensity from mild to extreme
- Is accompanied by a burning sensation
- Can be worsened by various physical actions like sneezing, coughing, bending, or during extended periods of idleness
In many cases, this pain is only felt on one side of the body. Moreover, severer instances may also result in tingling sensations in an afflicted subject’s leg or foot.
An appreciable percentage of mild cases ebb over time. However, individuals are urged to seek medical attention when self-care efforts are unsuccessful, significant pain lingers for more than one week, the discomfort worsens, or limits one’s mobility.
Sleeping With Sciatica
As with many types of pain, sciatica tends to intensify during the evening and often adversely impacts one’s ability to enjoy a restful night’s sleep. Fortunately, influenced subjects might overcome this potential pitfall by adhering to suggestions including:
Adopting The Right Sleeping Position
Sometimes, identifying the proper sleeping position might provide needed relief. Positions preferred by medical professionals include:
- On one’s side
- In a fetal stance
- With a pillow between one’s knees
- On one’s back with a pillow beneath their knees
- With a pillow or some other supporting item placed under one’s back
Additionally, some impacted subjects find improvement by slumbering on the floor.
Using The Most Optimal Mattress
Orthopedic doctors and sleep experts strongly recommend using items containing at least medium firmness. Employing overly soft mattresses could cause one’s body to sink, which may result in spinal misalignment.
Stretching Prior To Bed
Occasionally, performing stretching exercises right before retiring for the evening relaxes lower back muscles, which might alleviate some of the pressure placed on the sciatic nerve.
Taking A Warm Bath
Bathing in warm water is believed to soothe aching muscles and compromised nerves.
Following Proper Sleep Hygiene
Those adhering to optimal sleep hygiene engage in habits, such as retiring at the same time each night, maintaining a comfortable internal temperature, and not indulging in excessive levels of caffeine, alcohol, or food before going to bed.
The best way to prevent sciatica during the evening or any other time is to prevent its onset. Though said undertaking is not always possible, one might lessen their risk through actions including:
- Exercising whenever possible
- Not sitting for hours on end
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Practicing optimal posture
- Ensuring the core muscles in the lower back and abdomen stay firm and strong
Sciatica could result in pronounced sleep loss interfering with one’s mood, mental state, and cognitive capabilities. Therefore, the problem should be addressed as soon as it becomes evident.
Individuals residing in Hoover or neighboring Alabama regions stricken with sciatica are encouraged to contact us. The team of professionals employed at Integrative Chiropractic possess significant experience diagnosing this condition and helping our patients find relief and return to productive, active lives. Call us at 205-637-1363.