Nothing can make a person feel quite as helpless as suddenly realizing they’re unable to move. Sciatica, a condition which arises from irritation to the sciatic nerve, usually manifests as lower back pain, but depending on severity can lead to sharp pain scissoring down your thighs down to your knees, effectively making walking a chore. And while there are plenty of remedies and lifehacks to alleviate sciatica, or avoid aggravating it, it becomes something of a problem when sleeping. Improper posture can keep you up from the discomfort or make the condition worse, while not accommodating sciatic nerve pain in your sleeping position can wake you up in the middle of the night with sensations of sharp or burning pain.
Don’t fret, though. Something as straightforward as picking the right body pillow can help you deal with sciatica at bedtime – so we’ve put together a list of our favourites for you.
Queen Rose U Shaped Pregnancy Body Pillow
Don’t be disheartened by the name – although designed primarily with expecting mothers in mind, this versatile body pillow has been used by many to combat conditions like sciatica, fibromyalgia, carpal tunnel syndrome etc. The U-shape of the body pillow ends with two ‘legs’, specifically designed to offer total body support – the shoulders fit into the ‘U’ bend of the pillow, whilst your back, legs, knees and feet are supported by the two branches or extensions leading down from it.
Designed to fit the natural contours of the body and provide lumbar support, the pillow can be used to elevate your upper or lower body, depending on your needs. Adding a little support under your knees if you sleep on your back can help relieve sciatic pain, while others find benefits in bringing their neck and spine level as they lie on their sides, with one of the legs of the pillow between the knees.
The pillow is constructed with comfort in mind, covered in a 100% cotton case which can be removed and machine-washed so you can get the best use out of it. The stuffing itself is polyester, a soft, pliant but highly durable material that can endure strains and resist tears, capable of giving you a cozy fit but also retaining its shape.
STAR BUDGET PICK
Cheer Collection Total Body Pillow
This oversized body pillow is built to let you cocoon yourself into its downy softness, supporting your body such to prevent sciatic or lower back pain, or help you cope with it. Tucked between the knees as you lie on your side, the pillow is big and pliant enough to let you support your head and neck on it too, to help keep everything level with your spine and relieve pressure on the sciatic nerve.
Perfect even for those who tend to be restless sleepers, you’ll find this body pillow soothes you into warm, cozy sleep without the need to toss and turn. The material is hypoallergenic, so you don’t have to worry about it irritating your skin or triggering any allergies, and with dimensions of 15” by 100”, the pillow is big enough to completely engulf you as you sleep. The pillow comes with a zippered cover, which can be removed, washed and reused at will.
Leachco Back ‘N Belly Contoured Body Pillow
The horseshoe shape of this pillow is designed to simultaneously support your back, neck, shoulders and hips with its inner hourglass contours. The long extensions or legs let you elevate your lower body to relieve sciatic nerve pain, automatically helping align your hips to alleviate pressure. The curves of this pillow are structured to provide whoever is using them with a custom fit, helping support your shoulders and aligning them to your spine, and bolstering up your knees not only to aid those suffering from sciatica but also conditions like gastric reflux, carpal tunnel syndrome or fibromyalgia. The pliable polyester also makes this a highly comfy, warm cocoon to snuggle down with for the night, moving slightly from side to side to get your custom fit.
The cotton-blend cover of the pillow can be zipped down and washed when needed, and the pillow itself can be reversed, the midsection or legs serving as double-decker pillows if you need to elevate your upper body.
Cheer Collection Total Body J Shaped Pillow
This J-shaped microfiber pillow is structured to completely hug you, melding into the contours of your body to support your head, shoulders, back and knees all in one go. Tuck yourself into this pillow, and you can use the longer hook to support between your knees, the elongated section bolstering your back, while the shorter hook is ideal for neck and shoulder support and keeping them aligned to your spine.
The pillow is also perfectly malleable, letting you fold it up and use as a double-decker pillow to elevate your upper body. Available with a zippered cover you can take off and toss in the washing machine, this pillow all but hugs you to sleep and helps soothe or ease sciatic nerve pains or pressures against your back.
Choosing the Best Body Pillow for Sciatica
The largest nerve in the body, the sciatic nerve extends from the lumbar spinal cord down to the lower limbs, branching into a network of nerve roots and endings to keep nerve signals flowing from the spine all the way down your legs. It’s hardly surprising, therefore, that any irritation, from a pinched nerve to pressures caused by pregnancy, can cause quite a bit of discomfort, in the most serious cases making it almost impossible to walk around without experiencing stinging pain in the lower back, buttocks, backs of the thighs and around the hips.
While doctors prescribe several remedies to sciatica, including yoga, stretches, bed rest and in more severe cases seeking professional medical help, how you sleep can have an impact on improving or preventing milder sciatic nerve pain cases.
Aligning your spine to your neck, as well as aligning your hips by tucking a pillow between your knees, has helped many suffering sciatica, relieving the pressure on the nerve and your lower back. For this, pliant, oversized pillows made of microfiber such as polyester, which is both comfortable but can conform to the natural contours of the body, are recommended. Curved pillows which can simultaneously let you rest your head and bring your neck level with your spine, support your back and bolster between your knees are great options.
For maximum convenience, pillows with removable, washable covers, preferably cotton or cotton-blend to be gentle to the skin and soft to use, are also recommended.