If you suffer from painful sciatica, you know how uncomfortable it can make you in everyday life.
You’ve probably spent time searching for solutions that will relieve your aching back and legs but may find yourself coming up short. Over-the-counter medications and ice or heat therapy can only get you so far in managing your symptoms.
If you’re still experiencing pain from sciatica, you have a few options to help you recover and feel more comfortable. One possible treatment option is to use a sciatica pillow in your seat at work or car.
But what exactly is a sciatica pillow, and how does it work? Let’s take a look at the science behind sciatica pillows and how they can help you manage that sciatica pain.
What is Sciatica?
First, we need to know the basics. What exactly is sciatica?
Sciatica is the word for pain experienced in the sciatic nerve. It arises when you experience either a herniated disc or bone spur along the spine. Occasionally, sciatica can be caused by a narrowing of the spine that triggers a pinched nerve.
This causes inflammation and pain that radiates along the entire sciatic nerve, causing severe discomfort.
The Sciatic Nerve
Where is this sciatic nerve located, and why is it such a big deal?
The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body. It begins in the lumbar spine and reaches down below your buttocks and down the back of your leg. It’s notoriously difficult to stretch since it reaches so far down your leg.
What Does Sciatica Feel Like?
People experience different types of pain with sciatica. It ranges from a constant, dull ache in your lower back and leg to a sharp electric jolt of pain that shoots from your lumbar down.
In some instances, sciatica can lead to a tingling or numbness or even muscle weakness. It usually worsens with activities like coughing or sitting for a long time.
What Is a Sciatica Pillow?
So then, what is a sciatica pillow? Well, it’s pretty much just what it sounds like: a pillow that provides relief and comfort for those who suffer from sciatica.
It’s a pillow that comes in a few different forms. It’s intended for use in office chairs or car seats. It usually comes with a strap that allows you to attach it securely to the seat of your choice and adjust it to where you want it to stay.
But how can a pillow help keep your sciatic nerve from aching? Let’s get into it.
How Does it Work?
Sciatica pillows essentially work by redistributing your body weight. They provide cushion and softness where you need it while providing extra support where you need it, too.
It does this through a few different methods, but the end goal is the same: to keep your buttocks and lower back in a position where it will remain safe and protected from fatigue and strain. This ultimately causes less pressure on your sciatic nerve, relieving those sciatica symptoms.
What Can It Do for You?
What does a sciatica pillow actually do for you?
By keeping your lower back in a safe position, the sciatic pillow actually helps you maintain a good posture. Not only will you feel less pain while sitting down in a sciatica pillow, but you’ll also reap the benefits of better posture all day, even when standing.
The pain in sciatica is caused by inflammation, which can be reduced by healthy blood flow. The good posture that a sciatica pillow encourages allows healthier circulation to that aching nerve.
Types of Sciatica Pillows
When it comes to sciatica pillows, you have a few different options. Sciatica pillows offer variety in material and well as shape and placement.
Here are a few of those.
A common material for sciatica pillows is a gel version. Gel sciatica pillows are great at forming to the body as it moves, providing support where you need it and when you need it.
Another thing that people love about gel sciatica pillows is that they offer a cooling sensation. We all know how sweaty and overheated our backsides and lower backs can get when we’re working a long shift or driving a long distance.
Unfortunately, gel sciatica cushions and pillows tend to be the most expensive of the bunch, making them a bit too pricey for some sciatica sufferers.
Foam or Memory Foam
Some of the most common materials that sciatica pillows can be made out of are either foam or memory foam.
Memory foam is something that most of us know and love. From mattresses and pillows to shoes, memory foam is a comfortable material that provides specific support. It retains the natural shape of your body so that when you return to it, it fits the contours and curves of your body.
It’s actually a material that is considered somewhere between a solid and a liquid due to the way that it’s made. It’s poured into molds, where it then creates that elastic, sponge-like texture that we know and love.
Sciatica pillows are no exception. Memory foam sciatica pillows are affordable, thick, and comfortable. This means support where you need it that is also delightfully soft and cushiony. Memory foam helps improve your posture and evenly distribute your weight.
Sciatica Pillows Could Help Reduce Sciatica Pain
If you suffer from sciatica pain or know someone that does, try using a sciatica pillow at your desk chair or car seat.
A high-quality sciatica pillow or cushion, like the memory foam coccyx seat cushion from Everlasting Comfort, can make all of the difference in your daily sciatica pain.
Sciatica - Symptoms and causes | Mayo Clinic
Lumbar Spine Anatomy and Pain | Spine Health
What to Look for in a Pillow if You Have Sciatica | Spine Health