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How to Sleep with Piriformis Syndrome

by Patty Weasler, RN March 31, 2022 0 Comments

Woman sleeping

Piriformis syndrome can seriously interfere with your sleep. The pain and aching in your lower back, lumbar, buttock, and leg will have you tossing and turning all night. Learning how to sleep with piriformis syndrome to support your back and hips can make sleeping easier and allow you to rest comfortably. Here are some things you can do to relieve pain and get a good night’s sleep.

Sleeping Positions

When lying down, it’s easy for the sciatic nerve to become compressed which can exacerbate symptoms. The best sleeping positions for piriformis syndrome maintain proper spinal alignment and also let you rest comfortably. The problem is not everyone finds the same sleep position comfortable. Here we’ll cover all sleep positions, let you know which ones are best for piriformis syndrome and how you can modify them for your condition.

Piriformis Pain When Sitting? Check Out This Article

Back Sleeper

The best sleeping position for piriformis syndrome is on your back. It keeps your neck, back, and hips aligned and supported. It also gives the best distribution of weight over the mattress. Just make sure to add a pillow underneath your knees for support, especially if you have lower back pain.

Side Sleeping

The second best way to sleep with piriformis syndrome is on your side. Side sleeping keeps your spine in alignment but you can have pulling on your lower back from your legs. To avoid the pulling, side sleepers should put a pillow or wedge between their knees. This will help avoid hip pain and irritation along the piriformis muscle.

Reclined Sleeper

Reclined sleeping is a great option if you feel better when you bend forward than when you stand straight up. To sleep in a reclined position, you can prop your upper body with pillows or a bed wedge pillow. If that doesn’t seem to help a reclining chair will do the trick.

Stomach Sleeper

Sorry stomach sleepers, laying on your stomach is the worst position for piriformis syndrome and actually for any spinal conditions. When you lay on your stomach you have to turn your head to one side which takes your spine out of alignment. Sleeping on your stomach also causes your shoulders to hunch forward and adds a lot of pressure to your spine.

Improve Sleep with Better Posture

Pillow Choice

Now that you know which position to sleep in it’s time to make the right pillow choice. If you’ve ever slept with a flat, unsupportive pillow you know how it can affect your sleep quality. An orthopedic pillow is the best choice for those with piriformis syndrome. Since there are various levels of firmness and density you’ll need to test out a few orthopedic pillows to see which type is right for you.

Positioning pillows can also be extremely helpful to distribute weight properly and position the body so that the sciatic nerve is not compressed and the hips are aligned. Using these pillows you may notice an overall decrease in low back pain, muscle spasms, and nerve pain related to piriformis muscle pain.

See Pillow Options Here

Mattress Quality

The best mattress can help bring pain relief when you suffer from acute or chronic pain related to piriformis syndrome. There is no one right type of mattress that will suit everyone with piriformis syndrome but sleeping on the wrong mattress can rob you of quality sleep. For most people, a medium-firm mattress will help maintain spinal alignment. Also, the best mattress will have plenty of support and padding to keep you comfortable.

Find More Ways to Help Relieve Pain from Piriformis Syndrome


Stretching is a great way to get ready for bed. It will reduce tension, stiffness, and can help keep your back aligned. An effective piriformis stretch will incorporate your lower back, hips, buttock, and legs. All this stretching should also help your body get ready to sleep comfortably all night long.

Try These Stretches

Heat Therapy

If hip pain flares up at night, try placing a heating pad over the affected area. Heat can soothe achiness and increase circulation of blood flow which help the body repair and recover.

Using Heat for Injury

Massage Relief

If you’ve been experiencing hip pain caused by the piriformis muscle at night, massage therapy can help to relieve muscles that become stiff overnight. Massage can be performed at any time. You can seek professional help or you can use self-massage techniques and tools to target areas. Targeting the right areas can improve blood flow and help restore muscles.

Massage for Piriformis Syndrome

Improving Piriformis Pain at Night

Piriformis syndrome is a painful condition that is often confused with sciatica pain. But in this condition, it is the piriformis muscle that is irritating the sciatic nerve. Many people find that getting a good night’s sleep is tough but the right sleep position, mattress, pillow, and a little stretching can make a huge difference. Always talk to your doctor before you begin a new treatment and learn how to make the right choices for your specific condition.


Products for Hip Pain


Patty Weasler, RN
Patty Weasler, RN

Patty Weasler is a freelance health writer and nurse. She is certified in critical care nursing and has been practicing for over 10 years. Patty lives in Milwaukee, WI with her husband and three children. She enjoys spending her time with family and educating people about their health.

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