How to Choose Mattress for Sciatica Sufferers

How to Choose Mattress for Sciatica Sufferers

Several different factors cause sciatica, but there’s one particular factor that can exacerbate the condition. It is when you had a bad sleep because of the mattress. 

A mattress that lacks support can significantly cause harm to your spine, and lead to chronic pain over time. 

Excluding all other factors, if the mattress is making you wake up miserable and pain in the back, it is a serious issue to be warned about, and it is time you should consider a new mattress. 

Today we will answer a list of important questions concerning how the mattress might affect sciatica sufferers, and if you still have questions after reading, feel free to reach out to us. 

What is sciatica?

Sciatica is a condition that causes pain when the sciatic nerve is either pinched or irritated. Along with the uncomfortable pain it causes, you might also experience symptoms including numbness, tingling, or other abnormal sensations that are common with nerve conditions.

These nerve conditions can be the result of spinal issues such as a slipped disc, a herniated disc, or general spinal degradation. All of the issues listed can be the result of or be exacerbated by a mattress that lacks support, therefore, does not adequately distribute the pressure off the hips or lower back. 

Do remember to add a sciatica pillow if you sit long hours in the office or chairs at home. 

How to select the mattress for sciatica chronic pain?

When choosing a mattress for Sciatica,  you should pay attention to pressure relief and spinal alignment first.

Pressure relief

When you suffer from any acute pain disorder, your priority is to reduce or eliminate the pain. 

First, you want to relieve pressure in the top layers of your mattress. If you’re a back sleeper that is sleeping on an old, firm mattress; you may be experiencing chronic lumbar pain. This will ultimately contribute to your spinal issues and sciatica. 

An ideal mattress should be able to cradle your body and let it sink slightly into the cushion, achieving pressure relief and zero pressure back. 

If a mattress is too firm for you, your hips, in particular, will stay above the surface of the bed causing lumbar curvature and a misaligned spine. This has signified that a mattress should at least allow contouring at the hip position. 

It should be springy enough to support the lumbar region. In this case, memory foam and latex perform the best.

Side sleep has a slightly different requirement. They need contouring at the hips and shoulders. These parts need extra cushion because the pressure is all being applied to one side of the body. 

Regardless of the sleeping positions, the goal is always to keep the spine straight and contouring at the right pressure points. 

Spinal alignment

As much as a soft mattress might provide a great cushion, it is not the final answer to relieve pain. Because pain relief is as much about cushion as about spinal alignment. 

If your pain symptoms are the result of spinal issues, you need to focus on finding a mattress that maintains spinal alignment keeping your body straight and long, rather than curved and crunched. We recommend people suffering from sciatica pain stick with medium-firm or firm beds. 

Some side sleepers need a mattress on the medium firmness level, but you should avoid medium-soft and soft cushion support. We have also covered this topic here

How do you sleep with chronic sciatica?

Lie flat on your back—keep your heels and buttocks in contact with the bed and bend your knees slightly towards the ceiling. Slide a pillow between your bed and knees for support. 

Slowly add additional pillows until you find a comfortable knee position. It's not uncommon to not find relief after a few days.

Can a bad mattress cause a pinched nerve?

One of the primary causes of pinched or compressed nerves is sleeping poorly, lack of adequate support, and sleeping on ordinary (bad) pillows that push your head into an abnormal and flexed position.

Best for adjustable firmness

Featuring a 2-in gel-infused layer, the Hesperis Mattress has three layers that can be switched upside down to achieve different firmness levels. Therefore, a person can sleep with the firmness or softness they need depending on the pain that their sciatica is causing.

How do you permanently cure sciatica?

Although the pain may be severe, sciatica can most often be relieved through physical therapy, chiropractic and massage treatments, improvements in strength and flexibility, and the application of heat and ice packs.

11 things to avoid if you have sciatica

  • Avoid exercises that stretch your hamstrings
  • Avoid lifting heavy weights before warming up
  • Avoid certain exercise machines
  • Avoid sitting for longer than 20 minutes
  • Avoid bed rest
  • Avoid bending over
  • Avoid twisting your spine

Does walking help sciatica?

Walking is a very efficient way of relieving sciatic pain because of a regular movement from walking spurs the release of pain-fighting endorphins and reduces inflammation. Do remember to walk in the right posture, however. 

What type of mattress is best for sciatica?

Out of all the mattress types such as innerspring, foam, airbed, and latex, the foam and hybrid are the best forms for sciatica, as their pressure releasing comfort layers are effective in cradling the body and easing pain. 

How your sleeping position affects sciatica

The path to alleviating pressure and improving spinal alignment varies for each sleep position, so it’s important to know which position you wind up in for the majority of the night.

Side sleepers with sciatica

If you’re a side sleeper and you suffer from sciatica, it is especially important to make sure you get the firmness right. Normally it is the firmness between soft and firm, somewhere in the middle of the 5/10 region. 

Another important consideration for those with sciatica is which side to sleep on. An expert reviewer Vivian explains, “If you’re in the majority of sciatica sufferers who experience nerve pain on one side of the body, sleeping on your side can worsen symptoms…we suggest you do not sleep on the affected side and consider putting a pillow between your legs.”

Back sleepers with sciatica

Similar to side sleepers, back sleepers also need a middle level between plush and firm. For side sleepers, it might be around 5 out of 10, for back sleepers, it might be 6 out of 10. That is because the side sleepers need a bit more cradling due to the higher pressure caused by shoulders and hips, their softness needs are higher.  

Stomach sleepers with sciatica

Stomach sleepers are among the least healthy types according to medical experts and doctors. It is also the one gesture that puts the most stress on the lower back. 

That said, if you are not willing to change your sleeping habits then choice-wise, consider a firmness level around 7, because the higher the firmness, the more support you can get around the hips to release the pressure around your lower back. 

Make sure you also do some research on the most suitable mattress for stomach sleepers as healthy sleep is vital to a healthy life. 

Combination sleepers with sciatica

Combination sleepers change positions frequently. What's important for them is not firmness but a mattress that is highly responsive to movement. Hybrid or foam beds are usually right. 

Final considerations

First, be very clear about your sleeping habits and needs, then together with your budget, you can narrow down choices to a few brands, the last move is just to decide among them the right mattress. 

If you still have doubts or worries, contact us or simply choose Hesperis Mattress which we designed for most sleepers regardless of their weight and sleeping positions.

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