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Best Sleeping Position for Back Pain, Sciatica, & Leg Pain (Great Tips)

Best Sleeping Position for Back Pain, Sciatica, & Leg Pain (Great Tips)

♪ Bob and Brad ♪ ♪ The two most famous
physical therapists ♪ ♪ On the internet ♪ – Hi, I’m Bob Schrupp, physical therapist. – Brad Heineck, physical therapist. – Together, we are the most
famous physical therapists and, probably, the most
ugly physical therapists on the internet. – Oh, Bob. In our opinion, of course, in his opinion. – Alright, today, we’re
going to talk about the best sleeping position for back pains, sciatica, leg pain. We’ve already done one on, basically, kind of, the waist up, more the neck. – And the upper trunk. – Upper trunk and the arm. So I’ll link to that at the end. If you can wait all the way to the end, I’ll show the link to that. – Sure. – See how I did that, Brad? – Yeah, you’re working on it, Bob. – Okay, today, these
are a lot of great tips. So you want to pay attention, and we’ve got a lot of them. So let’s start off with, first off, you want to make sure
your back is lined up well when you’re sleeping. You want to make sure you’re not in a rounded-out position like this. So you want to make sure
your mattress isn’t saggy. – Right, if you’ve got a big hole in it, it’s a really soft mattress and it’s used, a number of years old, you know, you probably know if you have it. – And so, if you want to see if it’s gonna feel a lot better
to get a firmer mattress or a new mattress, you
might take your mattress and put it on the floor,
because that would kind of give it a solid. – Right. – Or you can do what my
wife and I did when we first were married and we didn’t have money, is we took a piece of
plywood and we put it between the box spring and the mattress and that took the sag out of it. – But you did put the mattress back on. – We did put the mattress back on. And we didn’t break the bar. But that worked out really good actually. – It’s a family show, Bob. – All right, the next
thing you may want to try, is when you’re sleeping on your back one thing that some
people have recommended and Mulligan was one of them again, is to actually take a sheet cause you want to keep again the back in a neutral position, you don’t want to round out like this so for some people especially if they’re having back pain, are in the throes of back pain they might want to try this. You take a long sheet and
you roll it up like this, you start in the front like this, I don’t want to get my microphone. And then you go around like this and it actually doubled up in the back a little bit. You see that Brad? – The whole idea is you
wanna make some cushion here to take up that space to support that low back so it doesn’t go into
that hole, if you will. – Right, it keeps the arch. And so you can pin this in place, or tape it in place. So let me show you here when I’m laying on my back, it provides
my back some support. But beyond that even is
when I lay on my side. Especially if you have wide
shoulders and wide hips the back is gonna sag down like this. – You’re gonna get that sag, there’s gonna be that hollow spot there. – Right, if this isn’t in place this sheet keeps your back
aligned nice and straight while you’re in this position. – Now, the thing about sheets is they’re not very soft, if you
actually, they make them and they work I think a
lot better than a sheet, but you can– – You can start with this,
if it works out well, then our camera woman– – Come out, Lonnie. – Lonnie, come on down
to the Price is Right. So this is tied in place. – This is actually, can
you lift that arm up? This is a McKenzie Lumbar Sleep Roll. – Oh, Sleep Roll. – It’s a Sleep Roll, exactly. And we got it wrapped around you tie it in the front like this. It does not need to be in the front like the sheet does, just on the sides and the back. Why don’t you lay down once Lonnie? And Lonnie has never
tried one of these before and she laid down with it just a little bit ago and she immediately said… What did you say? – Good! – Yeah, good. – So then you can roll
on your side, Lonnie. And the same thing again, keeps your back nice and straight when she’s on her side. – Right, it fills in that hollow spot to support that lumbar spine. – You can actually do that even if you sleep on your side all the time, you could actually just
put a small pillow there. I mean that would do the job. – You’ll know, cause if it’s the right size it’s gonna feel good. – Thanks Lonnie. She likes it so much, she’s gonna wear it all day she said. She’ll be the talk of the town. All right, the other thing that works out quite well especially for people who are having kinda severe back pain is to sleep on your back and to put a pillow underneath your legs or a wedge. So let’s do… Should we do the pillow first? So I’m sleeping on my back, I would have a pillow here too. – We’re gonna give you the deluxe. – You might need it under my legs, though. Oh there we go, yeah. – I knew you’d like that. – So a pillow underneath the legs, it takes off some of the… The hip flexors aren’t
pulling on the back now like they were, and so you’re not getting as much stress on your back. It would be better probably with two. – Depends on how thick your pillow is, how big your body is. Bob’s a tall guy, he probably needs two. – Yeah, I need two. And that actually does
feel really good Brad. Really does take some of
the stress off the back. But let’s show the deluxe
position here, Brad. – And this is something I use a lot with patients, and most
of them are very happy. – I was really shocked about this. How good this feels. It’s like you said, even if
you support the legs like this, this does not feel nearly as good as if he shoves that… Right up against the buttocks. – It touches the hamstrings and there’s something about that that helps relax and support the pelvis. – This is very comfortable, back pain or no back pain, and this is gonna stop you from sleeping on your side too. – I have one of these at home and when I have a back problem, If I’m out working in the yard or doing some stuff that I shouldn’t be
doing, I got a backache, I use this, I put a cold pack under my bed under my back, and then I fall asleep. I wake up later and take the cold pack out and sometimes I’ll take this
out and sometimes I won’t. – And if you want to try to simulate that at home without one of the wedges you could lay on the floor, put your feet up on the couch, it wouldn’t be quite the same but it would still take some of the stress of the back and you could put your hot or cold pack you could put a hot pack
I guess on that too. – Sure, some people prefer that. – Cold packs I think
are quite often better. When you’re sleeping on your side Brad, do you need that yet or? – Well I was just gonna say if you want it there it’s called a
leg wedge and just Google leg wedge and you’ll see
many pictures of them and you can buy them. – We actually did a
video on just that alone. – We did. – All right when you’re
sleeping on your side what you may want to do is actually use a pillow between the legs. This is what we call the stacked position, so my legs are stacked
on top of each other and the pillow again keeps the spine aligned and stops the spine from rotating so it works really well with that. If you’re a person that likes to sleep with a leg a little bit forward, then you may want to actually use two pillows and get it up a
little bit higher like that. – Then you got no pillow
for your head, Bob. – I know, that’s a problem. – You gotta go buy some more pillows. – Yeah you’re gonna need lots of pillows. – The other thing about this is it takes stress of the hip. – Yes it does, yeah. – If you’ve got hip bursitis or hip arthritis this can be– – Very good point, Brad. And what’s nice about this you know ’cause on the upper
extremities we talked about giving the arms support like this you actually can flip
around like this, Brad. I mean it’s not that hard to do. You could switch positions. – And this way, if my wife is mad at me and she’s not sleeping in bed with me, then I got something to hold on to. – Aww, isn’t that sweet. I think there’s a lot of nights like that. We did all that. Oh, the one thing I was gonna mention and I don’t know why this is but Brad confirmed this too
there is a lot of people that when they’re having
the throes of back pain and they’re really
having a lot of back pain they sleep in a recliner. I’ve had people that… And the thing that we want to remind you if you’re sleeping in a
recliner, I don’t want you sleeping kind of in a
humped position like this. Put a throw pillow or
something behind your back so you’re nice and straight and then back like this in the recliner. – Back it up as far as you can go, have that lumbar support there I just don’t feel, I don’t feel confident in saying sleep in a recliner, but there are people they are going to sleep in the recliner. – And that’s what I mean. There must be some merit to it because I’ve had people,
I mean a lot of people and they probably discover it because they aren’t able to sleep so they get up and watch TV, and then they find out they can sleep in the recliner. And I’ve had people even years later that had to continue sleeping in a recliner because it brings on pain if they don’t. So there’s not much you can do if that’s the issue. – I’m not gonna advocate it, though, unless that’s what works I guess. – All right, the final
thing is we talked about is it okay for you to
sleep on your stomach A lot of people think
you know you can’t sleep on your stomach it puts
your back in too much of a swayback, that’s
usually not the case. Quite often if you’ve been
sleeping on your stomach and you don’t have back pain, I’d go ahead and keep doing it. Wouldn’t you, Brad? – We’re always concerned about the neck cause your head is
twisted one way or another so we oftentimes say avoid sleeping on your stomach because of the neck not so much the back unless you got a big saggy bed and you’re sleeping in kind of a hole in reverse maybe that would be undesirable but– – You might try sleeping with a pillow underneath your stomach. Again if you’re having a lot of back pain sometimes it’s weird the
positions that help you. – Sleeping on the floor, I’ve had people with back pain sleep on the floor cause
it’s a firm surface gets that spine in line. I had this one woman,
she slept on the floor for over a month and
she felt better sleeping on the floor than in her bed. – Did she use a foam
mattress, or anything? – No, it was carpeted. – It was carpeted. Mulligan recommended that too. To go ahead and sleep on the floor. – McKenzie will work
with that sometimes too. – All right, lots of tips lots of things you can think about, and please comment below cause we always
like to hear from you. Right Brad? – Well yeah but there’s one other thing that we’re going to work on, and we’re still having is that broken heart. Can you get that to come up there? – Here’s the broken heart and now we’re gonna fix it with
our mind, telepathically. – You’re gonna make it
go together aren’t ya. It’s all digital.

100 thoughts on “Best Sleeping Position for Back Pain, Sciatica, & Leg Pain (Great Tips)

  1. I’ve had thoracic back pain for over 6 years when I first became pregnant and became a side sleeper. I’ve seen Physiotherapists, exercised, massaged and even tried antidepressants to try and ease the pain.

    Now a simple sheet around my waist while I sleep has been an absolute game changer. THANK YOU!!! I’m now waiting for the McKenzie night Roll I’ve ordered to arrive.

  2. Thanks for the great video! Do you guys recommend a firm mattress for lower back pain or is medium soft ok with pillow top to sink in at hips and shoulders to keep spine straight. Thanks again!

  3. I literally sleep with 3 pillows and a body pillow… I have a misaligned pelvis and left inner-rotating hip due to my 26 year old horse throwing me 6 years ago. As well as a car accident that was a rollover mva and i was left hanging upside down by just my seatbelt. Anyways, I am a side sleeper.

  4. I deal with every spinal issue u can think of at 45yrs ol(Spinal stenosis w/facets, herniated & degenerative disk, degenerative coccyx bone, sciatic, and arthritis . I've been to many PT sessions but they've NEVER ordered or suggested any of those foam assistants for me to sleep…I just wonder why and how can I get them? Finally will insurance cover some of the cost since its medically necessary? Thanks

  5. Sir i m very critical position disk problem I m not want to opretion any skim tell me I not know good english sorry Sir help me I m very painful

  6. I had an episode of sciatic 2 years ago,and after a minor car accident and then a fall,it recurred with a vengeance. ! my physical Therapist has me doing exercises at home,but the pain in my leg is excruciating. I am changing how I sit,send sleep hopefully it will help.thanks for all your tips ! [÷)

  7. We can't stress more on the posture and how it affects our back and spine health. Great video here Bob and Brad!

  8. this is the first time I have watched you gentlemen I have to say you are so cute chuckled all the way thru it is good to have a laugh and I totally support osteopaths thankyou for your exercises and good advice I shall follow thru and watch more of your u tubes take good care from downunder jb

  9. Where can I get the sleep roll you are showing? The one on Amazon is made of firmer looking foam. Not soft like the one you are using. Thanks for great videos.

  10. I have severe pain in my left leg starting from lower pain. I cant stand for more than a minute. Doctors said that there is a disk problem. What can i do?

  11. I have to use a wedge pillow between legs and sleep on my back because of hip revision surgery but have just been diagnosed with a herniated disk. Any recommendations for pillows and best position? used to be a stomach sleeper and never had any lumbar pain in past. Thanks

  12. My left sacrum is sticking out far and killing me. How do I. sleep with the pain? Plus I torn my pectoralis too, so this is torment

  13. I have an adjustable bed for my head and feet. It’s the only bed that will help my pain because I can adjust positions. Do you think I need any pillows for my lower back?

  14. I am currently at the moment in pain! I cannot get comfortable. I have aching pain in both legs. I've had pain in my mid, lower back for almost 2 months. I woke up fine with no back pain today! Then I fell asleep and woke up with my normal achy back. Normally ibuprofen usually takes the pain away for a while because it wasn't that painful. So I sneezed twice and threw off my back. I started spasming and my legs started aching more than usual, I can barely walk. No matter how I sit by or lay I'm in pain. The only time I'm "pain free" is when I am soaking in hot water or have a hot bottle of water on my back. Ibuprofen doesn't work anymore. I do not have an appointment until the 30th 😢 every where is booked solid. And idk if urgent care will be able to do anything.

  15. I have DDD in my neck and in my lower lumbar. My lower back pain is always present. Sleeping in a recliner or an adjustable bed makes my pain worse, much worse. The times I've had to have same day procedures done in hospital beds have been extremely painful on my lower back because their beds are junk and being in that elevated position adds to my lower back pain, like I mentioned. I also have sleep apnea so I should benefit from being elevated but since it hurts my back so much, I'm more of a side sleeper.

  16. 2019 COMMENT:
    I tried most of these they kinda worked but not really.
    Position that I found helped me the most in being able to catch some "Z's" is:
    Laying on your side like in the above video with the pillows and everything as said, but pop out your bottoms (Butts) a bit more so push it more outwards and learn upper body the opposite side from your bottoms.
    TRY THIS AT YOUR OWN RISK. I am not a professional. Just stating what helped me get by the first few days of inflamed sciatic nerve pain.
    REMEMBER, everyone is different but if you ran out of options knock yourself out. Hopfully this help.

    Thank you for reading my comment. Best of luck to everyone!

  17. This sleeping position justtt instantly relieved my mom's sciatic pain… she was crying because of the pain,i was searching for sleeping position and massage video and i found out this video… I'm so thankful that i got this video… thanks alottt for the video..

  18. Hi, I'm 35, construction worker. Have pain in my right leg. Went to chiropractor he adjusted me and said I'll still have pain in my leg for quite some time do to sciatica inflammation on muscles. But it's been almost a month and it still hurts. Like an on going cramp through my whole leg. Can't sit can't sleep, can only walk. No exercise, no rub, sea salt soak, nothing is helping. Don't know what to do anymore. How it happened I think do to cold weathers/rain and heavy lifting and I topped it off by side kicking an object really hard without a proper warm up first. Then week later pain came in at full blast, then after chiropractor it got better, then 3 weeks later it got worse, sometimes it seems to get better but then back to strong pain. Not all excersices I can do, only make things worse. No sleeping position works, 2 hrs into my sleep when somehow I fall asleep, I get up from electricuting excruciating pain through my leg, I get up and go move around for several hrs, then go back to sleep, and in 2hrs again, and so on. It's hell

  19. Thank you I'm going to use pillows tonite, I am having severe sciatic pain. It's unbearable, for 2 weeks now. It's driving me to take narcotics .iam starting PT next week Betty

  20. I can fall asleep easily in my recliner watching tv or youtube, not because it makes my back feel better but because it empties my brain!

  21. I’ve had to buy an adjustable bed as I cant sleep on my side. If I do I wake up crying and unable to get up without tremendous hip pain. I had to sleep on a recliner until my adjustable bed arrived. My legs are all the way up but it’s not enough. Had to add two more pillows under my knees. But I had to buy a soft mattress due to feeling my scar tissue and hip pain. Medium was to painful.

  22. Love this sciatica pain guidebook, ( 7sciatica.com/14tv ) ! I was a little doubtful but used it yesterday and woke up with a more relaxed back. Since I am satisfied with the final results, I also forwarded the guideline to my mom and dad. They said they can`t imagine how really good was it. Perfect for sciatica pain

  23. Any suggestions for me? I been having screaming sciatic pain in my left leg along with lower back pain. Found out that I have a L6 and fused on the left side. I’ve tried these sleeping positions but it doesn’t feel comfortable at all, makes the shooting burning pain down my leg and into my ankle. I don’t mind the tingling and numbness, it’s that painful radiating burning pain that I can’t stand and making me want to scream in tears.

  24. Am I able to get a question answered? Yes you guys gave me some ideas to try and I will share with daughter. I need help with how to sleep using a coccyx cushion for tailbone pain. They seem to be all about sitting but I need to try using it while I am sleeping. Is it possible to use it while I am sleeping to give relief for pressure on tailbone? I am not sure how it would work if you put it under your bottom and then lie back.
    Thank you!

  25. The recliner helps with getting up easier in the morning. The way you showed how to get up out of bed is great, but what happens when you cant even flip sideways in the morning because its very painful? Pain from lower back muscle sprain??

  26. what helps my back is better sleep and what rly helps me sleep better is to go do some pushups or run for 5 to 10 mins with some rock music like deltaparole. the getting out of bed and doing smth and music is important cuz that takes ma mind off of sleeping and relaxes me and when i start sleeping relaxed, i sleep better. just dont think about sleeping in bed. best of luck fellow sleep warriors

  27. This video helped me reduce low back pain and piriformis aches at night.
    Thanks so much. I LOVE using towels! I love the firmness and I can roll as thick or thin as I want and it softens if i loosen it. I have wide wide hips so I really benefited from this.
    Also no idea why someone said you’re ugly?! You guys are adorable. Ignore the haters!

    😘 love from NY

  28. I have the worst sciatica pain starting in my tight side love handle and going into where my bone in my butt cheek feels like very painful. I landscape for a login and every morning I wake up it hurts so much. Going to bed as well. Walking all day no problem. Sitting is painful and during up with my legs outward is intense pain. Any help?

  29. I’m really enjoying your You Tube Videos I was recently told my osteoporosis has gotten worse (4 years since last bone density) and don’t want to get injections, so I’m going to try these tips. So THANK YOU!!

  30. Grammar errors make you look uneducated and hurt your credibility. Chickens lay eggs. Masons lay bricks. People lie down.

  31. I've had 3 lower back surgeries and I can only sleep on my side. I can't sleep on my back, even with supportive wedges, pillows, etc under my legs.

  32. Been watching your videos, got some great tips. My problem is I sleep in an adjustable bed, on my back, and I have to elevate the head really high due to breathing issues. I do elevate the FOB also. I sleep very well without pain, but it returns when I start walking, back pain and sciatica. FYI I'm 72, have slept this way for 20 plus years. Suggestions?

  33. My dad has lost movement of his right leg and arm (stroke), we managed to get the leg working again but its not strong enough to stand on yet, when it will be strong enough, how will I hold him up while walking with him if the right arm is still not working?

  34. You mentioned the worst kind of problems you could have a sciatica tingling in your foot. That’s from minus I tried Physio. Cairo, acupuncture and massage nothing is helping. When I walk I get Tingling in my foot and then my leg in either my chin or my thighs burning.
    I had back surgery for nerve pain going to burn the back of my legs in 2012. I have rods L3, 4 and 5. But the nerve pain it’s different then into thousand 12 I can sit I can be down if I set a certain way I can change my position to the tingling in my foot stops but the burning when I start walking doesn’t stop until I sit down and change my position again. I’m very proactive in everything that I do to make my body strong. Any suggestions you could give me would be great. I did have a nerve conduction test doctor thinks it’s going to be outside he has ordered an MRI which is scheduled scheduled for it in two weeks time I can’t go anywhere cause I can’t walk I walk for five minutes and that’s it.
    Any suggestions are welcome. Thank you Ashley

  35. Hello…..
    I am more comfortable sleeping with Stomach and it doesn't pain.
    Is this OK.
    if I slept at others position I feel pain.
    Any solution…

  36. i like the suggestion for people who like to sleep on their side with the top leg forward: use another pillow to support the top leg so that your back doesn't twist.

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