How To Sleep with Piriformis Syndrome?

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Piriformis syndrome occurs when the sciatic nerve gets compressed under the piriformis muscle. The piriformis muscle goes from the lower spine to the buttock to the top of the thigh. It extends to each side of the body and is responsible for lower body movement. It stabilizes the hip joint and aids in the movement of the thigh. The sciatic nerve is the longest and the largest in the body. It starts at the bottom of the spine and goes through the buttocks and the back of the legs to the feet. It is present underneath the piriformis muscle.

For people dealing with piriformis pain, sleeping can pose a real challenge. Hence it is important to learn how to sleep with piriformis syndrome and allow your body to rest comfortably. 

How to sleep with Piriformis Syndrome?

Getting proper and sound sleep is important, but if you suffer from piriformis syndrome, any movement that affects your hip muscle can cause pain, thereby disturbing your sleeping pattern.

Try to identify the positions that cause this pain, avoid sitting for an extended period, or take a small walk around the area now and then to keep your body active. Proper rest, ice, and heat application can also help relieve pain. A doctor can also suggest exercises to reduce the compression in the sciatic nerve. Treatments also include muscle relaxants, anti-inflammatory medicines, or injections.

Surgery is the last option for those who do not get any relief from pain despite medications and exercises. It may help decompress the nerve, but there is no guarantee that the pain will go away completely.

1. Mattress for Piriformis Pain Relief

A good mattress that provides adequate support and comfort is important for your spinal health. Medium firm foam mattresses help in keeping the spine aligned and reduce pressure point problems. These mattresses improve sleeping posture. They contour to the body to offer a pain-free and unperturbed sleep. Rehab Store offers some effective and affordable foam mattresses for a good night's sleep.

Lumex Select Series Foam Mattress, constructed of a durable and stretchable zippered vinyl cover, features comfortable high-density foam designed for pressure management and superior patient comfort. The mattress offers excellent airflow and can be compressed and rolled for cost-effective storage and freight.

Medline Gel Foam Mattress Overlay is a standard foam top layer that offers comfort and support. The horizontal chambers encapsulate gel with foam beads to conform to the patient's body. It is lighter than other overlays for ease of handling.

This bariatric therapeutic foam mattress, designed to meet the skin integrity challenges of bariatric patients, has 800 independent support cells to protect against the damaging effects of friction and shearing. Beneath it, three high-resiliency layers offer progressively firmer support. The multi-tier design puts the most patient-friendly surface directly next to the skin and the dense material farthest away.


2. Pillows for Piriformis Syndrome

Pillows are crucial to ensure that the cervical region is protected and supported while one sleeps. For piriformis pain relief, pick a pillow that is soft and supportive. Cervical pillows come with various levels of firmness and density that you can choose depending on your needs and wants. 

Regular use of cervical support pillows can decrease the chances of lower back pain, nerve pain, and chronic muscle pain. These pillows ensure that the hips are properly aligned and that the sciatic nerve is not compressed as you sleep. A positioning pillow is also considered helpful in weight distribution and positioning the body for sciatica nerve pain relief at night.

Therapeutica Sleeping Pillow is a non-allergenic foam pillow designed specifically for those who sleep on their back or side. It offers comfortable yet firm support to help restore the neck's natural curve. Moreover, the orthopedic neck pillow incorporates two correct pillow shapes into one pillow with varied heights for back and side sleepers. The surface channels of the neck pillow provide air circulation and are soft, and the molded foam is extremely environmental-friendly. Ensure a better sleeping experience with the Therapeutic Pillow, eliminating sore and stiff neck problems and reducing snoring.

The Tri-Core Pillow alleviates neck pain and properly aligns the spine while supporting its natural position. It has comfortable but firm side lobes to keep the head while you sleep. Interestingly, the trapezoid-shaped center of this pillow delivers other orthopedic benefits for back sleepers.

Roloke 4-in-1 Neck Pillow provides four different support combinations while the person sleeps. It is designed to help with neck pain and soreness and offers a comfortable sleeping experience to the user with proper spinal alignment. It reduces neck and back pain and consists of 4 regions to provide an adequate neck support.


3. Heat Therapy for Piriformis Muscle Pain

Heat soothes the aching muscles and improves blood circulation, which helps curb the pain and help you fall asleep. If you experience hip pain at night, put on a heating pad over the painful area for 10-15 minutes and then put it off for half an hour or so. Avoid using the heat pack directly on the skin. Find Rehab Store's top-selling heating packs - 

Thermophore Moist Heat Pack offers quick-acting therapy that relieves pain and stiffness. It has three temperature settings - low, medium, and high strong sweltering heat, available on the constant-comfort switch. This heating pad is intended for usage at home and provides prompt, efficient pain relief. Thermophore heat pad provides powerful moist heat without adding water. 

Polar Thera-Temp Moist Heat Wrap offers temporary pain relief from arthritis and rheumatic pain, sciatic nerve pain, muscle strains & spasms, and more. It is microwavable and provides convenient, effective, and deep-penetrating moist heat therapy. Polar heat wrap uses therapeutic, non-organic beads to collect and hold moisture from humidity. No water needs to be added.

Core MicroBeads Moist Heat Pack is a natural and drug-free method used to relieve piriformis pain relief, muscular pain, arthritis, fibromyalgia, cramping, headaches, sciatica nerve pain, and more. Additionally, MicroBeads absorb moisture from the air and release it once heated to deliver soothing moist heat. It can be warmed in a microwave to the desired temperature and remain warm for 20-30 minutes.


4. Massage for Piriformis Pain

Massaging has many benefits, including therapeutic and pain relief, and is widely accepted as an effective treatment method for several muscle conditions, including piriformis syndrome. Massaging loosens the tensed and sore muscles and aids in regaining range of motion. Massage therapy also reduces muscle spasms and releases endorphins to minimize the effects of pain.

Norco Mini Vibrator Manual Massager helps in muscle stimulation, oral stimulation, and sensory re-education. It desensitizes the painful area and provides quick and effective pain relief. 

Infrared Hand Held Massager provides therapeutic massage and relief from piriformis muscle pain. The infrared heat penetrates deep below the skin's surface to soothe and comfort the nerves.

Pain Management Neck Massager is a wonderful tool for quick and effective neck pain relief. It can be used as a light massage or a deep tissue rub. The special rolling wheels have a knuckle-like pattern that works like no other tool on the market to loosen up those tight muscle knots.


5. Sleeping Positions

Sleeping on the back is ideal for piriformis or sciatica nerve pain relief at night because it completely supports the neck, back, and hips. If you are a side sleeper, keep a pillow between your legs. This will remove the pressure from your legs and relieve the hip pain. You should avoid sleeping on your stomach as your head is turned in one direction, putting much pressure on the spine.

Tips To Prevent Piriformis Pain At Night

Here are some tips to prevent piriformis syndrome -

  • Exercise regularly.
  • Maintain a good posture, especially while walking, running, and exercising.
  • Avoid engaging in activities that cause pain. 
  • Don’t walk or run on uneven surfaces.
  • Warm up before exercising.
  • Be careful when lifting heavy objects. Don’t overdo it!

If you have to sit long, take breaks to stand or go for a walk.

Is walking good for piriformis syndrome?

Long periods of sitting can also cause pain in the hip area. It is advisable to indulge in walking if you experience pain in the buttocks, as aerobic exercises are important for the hip muscles and overall health. You can also jog if it doesn't cause pain. Proper movement of the hip muscle may help decompress the sciatic nerve and relieve symptoms. 

How to sit with piriformis pain?

An improper posture can add to the pain due to piriformis syndrome. Bad posture puts pressure on your lower back, hips, or legs. Whether you are driving or sitting in a car, make sure that you sit with your back straight. If you keep your wallet in the back pocket, it is better to remove it before sitting. Keeping a cushion in your car to support your lower back can also relieve pain.

Piriformis Muscle Pain vs. Sciatica Nerve Pain

Although both terms are used interchangeably, there is a slight difference in both conditions. Piriformis syndrome causes the sciatic nerve to compress and affects the buttocks and the hip area. The pain, in this case, is muscular. This syndrome may also be caused because of anatomic anomalies. Lifestyle problems like sitting for longer duration also lead to piriformis syndrome. 

Sciatica, on the other hand, is caused when a herniated disc or spinal stenosis affects the spinal nerve roots in the lower spine. The pain, in this case, is related to the nerve. In sciatica, leg pain is greater than back pain and may also reach the toes. Raising the affected leg while keeping the other one stable increases the pain.

If the piriformis pain does not subside through these methods, please consult your doctor and consider a clinical treatment for piriformis muscle pain or sciatica nerve pain


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