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Sciatica is a medical condition characterized by chronic pain that radiates along the sciatic nerve, which travels down the lower back, hips, buttocks, and legs. Most people with sciatica experience pain most prominently on one side of their body, although both sides may be affected. In addition to chronic pain, sciatica patients routine experience numbness and weakness on their affected side(s). More serious complications include loss of bladder and bowel function.
As with chronic back pain and other painful disorders like scoliosis, choosing the right mattress can significantly improve sleep quality and duration for people with sciatica. According to customer and owner experiences, people with sciatica typically prefer mattresses made of materials like memory foam and/or latex that conform closely and provide above-average pain and pressure relief. Additionally, mattresses that isolate motion and produce little to no noise are often most suitable for people with sciatica that need to frequently visit the bathroom during the night.
This guide will explore common causes and symptoms of sciatica, discuss unique sleep considerations linked to the condition, provide some tips for mattress buyers, and list our picks for the best mattresses for sciatica sold today.
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common causes of sciatica include:
Additionally, the Mayo Clinic identifies the following risk factors for sciatica:
The most telling symptom of sciatica is radiating pain that travels down the lower back and hips, then the buttocks and leg on one side (if not both). The pain may range from light to severe, but in most cases the condition will cause moderate discomfort or worse. Burning and shooting sensations in the affected areas often accompany the pain, as well as numbness and weakness. Some sciatica patients lose control of their bladder and bowel functions, but this symptom is less common.
Mild sciatica may not necessitate medical treatment. For more serious cases, the following treatments may be used:
In order to reduce your risk of developing sciatic nerve pain, the following preventative measures can be taken:
People with sciatica can also address their condition by improving their sleep. For many, a new mattress brings about positive changes in comfort, support, and sleep quality. In the next section, we’ll look at some mattress factors to consider for those affected by sciatic nerve pain.
When shopping for a new mattress, people with sciatica are urged to inquire about the following qualities and characteristics:
Next, let’s look at some key variables for people with sciatica to consider when comparing different brands and models.
The average mattress costs more than $1,000 in a Queen size. However, some mattress types (such as memory foam and innerspring models) have lower-than-average price-points compared to other types (such as latex, hybrid, and airbed models). If you order your mattress online, also take shipping costs into account — especially if you live outside the contiguous U.S., since most U.S.-based brands will only ship mattresses for free within the lower 48 states.
Memory foam, latex, innerspring, hybrid, and airbed mattresses all have unique pros and cons. For people with sciatica, it’s important to consider factors like support, durability, motion isolation, and noise; memory foam and latex mattresses tend to outperform other mattress types in these categories.
If the answer is yes and sleep with someone else, then a mattress that isolates motion and produces little to no noise will likely be the best option. Memory foam and latex mattresses typically earn the highest customer ratings for motion isolation and noise potential.
Thicker comfort layers — especially those containing memory foam and/or latex — tend to conform the closest, which helps align the spine and alleviate pressure in areas affected by sciatica.
The vast majority of today’s mattress brands offer sleep trials, which allow customers to test out the mattress for a given length of time (typically 90 nights or longer) and then return the mattress for a full or partial refund if they are not satisfied. Sleep trials can be a useful way to try out a mattress before committing to a full purchase — but beware of hidden costs, as some brands charge expensive return fees.
The mattress warranty is an important consideration, even though most owners never have to use it. Most mattress warranties span 10 years or longer, and some surpass 20 years in length. However, the length of nonprorated coverage is more important than the overall length. During nonprorated coverage, mattress owners pay little (if anything) to have their bed repaired or replaced when defects occur. When prorated coverage kicks in, they must pay a percentage of the original price for repairs and replacements, and this percentage often increases with each passing year — resulting in hundreds of dollars in extra costs for some. Some mattress warranties last 10 or more years, but only provide one to two years of nonprorated coverage.
Now, let’s look at the best mattresses for sciatica according to people who use them. The following five models have earned the highest satisfaction ratings from sleepers with sciatica. To read our reviews of these brands, please click the links found in the top row of the table.
|Brand||Layla Sleep||Nectar Sleep||Nest Bedding||Purple||Saatva|
|Model||Layla Mattress||Nectar Mattress||Alexander Signature||The New Purple||Loom & Leaf Mattress|
|Price (Queen)||$799||$824||$1,199||$1,599 to $2,799||$1,099|
|Mattress Type||Memory foam
|Memory foam||Memory foam||Buckling column gel hybrid||Memory foam|
|Comfort Layer||1″ to 3″ memory foam
2″ polyfoam (Side 1 only)
|4″ memory foam||2 1/2″ to 3 1/2″ memory foam
|2″ to 4″ Buckling column gel||4 1/2″ memory foam|
|Support Core||4 1/2″ polyfoam||7″ polyfoam||6″ to 7″ polyfoam||7 1/2″ pocketed coils||7 1/2″ polyfoam|
|Firmness Options||Side 1: 4 (Medium Soft)
Side 2: 7 (Firm)
|6 (Medium Firm)||5.5 (Medium)
|4.5 (Medium Firm)
6.5 (Medium Firm)
|Sleep Trial||120 nights||365 nights||Lifetime guarantee
Free returns within 100 nights
|100 nights||120 nights|
10 years nonprorated