How can you get better sleep if you have piriformis syndrome?

by | Oct 23, 2023 | Physical Therapy | 0 comments

Does a pain in the back of your buttock that goes down the length of your leg keep you up at night? Perhaps this pain is making it difficult to lie down comfortably. Maybe you’re uncomfortable when you toss and turn in your sleep. Does this sound like something you’re struggling with? You may actually have piriformis syndrome.

Piriformis syndrome is a condition that affects nearly 2.4 million people in the U.S. each year. It’s often a cause of lower back pain but can cause pain and discomfort along the length of your sciatic nerve. This condition results when the piriformis muscle in your buttock compresses the sciatic nerve that runs underneath it. The resulting pain from the nerve compression can be felt from the lower back all the way down to the legs. Piriformis syndrome and sciatica are often confused, but there is a key difference. Sciatica can result from a herniated disc and other factors. Piriformis syndrome is the direct result of the piriformis muscle compressing the sciatic nerve. 

If you’re struggling to get enough sleep at night because of piriformis syndrome, you can find help here. We’ll go over some of the most common symptoms and discuss how physical therapy treatment can help improve the quality of your sleep with piriformis syndrome. 

What are the symptoms of piriformis syndrome?

There are several symptoms of piriformis syndrome that can negatively impact a person’s quality of life. It’s important to reach out to a professional who can help you relieve or manage your symptoms as soon as you first notice them. Treatment can be the difference between living comfortably and living in discomfort.

  • Having poor-quality sleep — One of the most common symptoms of piriformis syndrome is getting too little sleep or poor-quality sleep. The pain or discomfort that is felt in the sciatic nerve can interfere with your ability to sleep comfortably through the night. 
  • Having aches or pains in one buttock, one leg, or the lower back — It is another indicator of piriformis syndrome if you experience aches or pains in your buttock, leg, and lower back. These aches and pains may make performing daily activities and even sleeping feel difficult to complete. 
  • Having worsened pain when sitting or lying down for long — Someone with piriformis syndrome is likely to experience heightened pain or discomfort when they sit down or lie down for extended periods of time. 
  • Having trouble using your hip without discomfort — You may find it hard to use your hip without feeling pain or discomfort. Hip discomfort is one of the reasons why someone with this syndrome will often have trouble getting to sleep.

How can you get better sleep with piriformis syndrome?

There are a few ways that you can try to get better sleep with piriformis syndrome. These include:

  • Use a pillow for support — If you’re struggling to get good sleep because of your piriformis syndrome, it’s a good idea to try using a pillow for better support. You can use a pillow under your head or knees to provide support to the rest of the body and reduce pressure on your back. If you’re a side sleeper, try a pillow between your knees to better support your back and hips. 
  • Avoid sleeping on your stomach — Another method for getting better sleep is by changing your sleeping position. If you’re a stomach sleeper, we recommend trying something different. Stomach sleeping can exacerbate back and neck problems. 
  • Visit a physical therapist — A physical therapist has the potential to help someone with piriformis syndrome get better sleep. They can use a variety of exercises and techniques to improve the condition of your sciatic nerve and promote healing.

How can physical therapy help someone with piriformis syndrome get better sleep?

Physical therapy can be a useful tool for someone struggling to get sleep due to piriformis syndrome. A therapist can help you develop muscle strength, improve range of motion and reduce inflammation. They’ll also help you relieve some of the compression that has built up on your sciatic nerve from the piriformis muscle. Your physical therapist  can teach you what movements to avoid so that your muscles and nerves don’t become even more irritated. Over time, regular sessions that emphasize strength building, inflammation reduction and patient education can potentially help you improve how much sleep you’re getting. 

Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can help you learn how to get better sleep with piriformis syndrome

Our team at Forever Fit Physical Therapy & Wellness can offer you a unique and customized physical therapy experience. We value our patients so much that we strive to provide each one with a personalized treatment plan that caters to their individual lifestyles, habits and future goals. If you’re wondering why you’re feeling so much pain or discomfort when you sleep, we can guide you through the treatment plan you need to treat your piriformis syndrome. Our team will work toward effectively managing your compressed nerve and achieving the relief you’re looking for at any one of our several locations. We can help you perform the movements and exercises that will promote recovery and improve sleep habits.

During our physical therapy sessions, our physical therapists will guide you through your treatment with the utmost care and compassion, making sure that you’re completing your exercises with efficiency for positive results.

Are you ready to take the first step toward getting better sleep with piriformis syndrome? Do you want to learn more about sciatic nerve pain and how to find relief from it? Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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