When it comes to chronic pain, many patients attest the symptoms can seem especially heightened at night.
There are several reasons why your chronic pain may seem much worse when nighttime rolls around, and it’s time to head to bed.
For one thing, during the day, our lives can be brimming with distractions such as work, chores, kids, and other tasks, so it’s much easier to concentrate on your pain when these distractions are done for the day, and your pain becomes your point of focus.
For another thing, certain types of chronic pain can be exacerbated by not moving and sticking to a single position – which can certainly occur when you are fast asleep.
So how can you get through these difficult nights, and mitigate your chronic pain long after your eyes are closed? It starts with these tips that can help you sleep better, and wake up feeling more like yourself.
Try Deep Breathing
Deep breathing exercises and meditation can go a long way in shifting your focus away from your pain and allowing your mind to relax.
Try inhaling and exhaling at specific intervals by counting to five, or try utilizing a meditation or breathing video before you head to bed. Studies have also shown that meditation before bedtime can lead to a deeper sleep, which will reduce your chances of waking up throughout the night due to your pain.
Depending on the type of chronic pain you have, a little heat can provide instant relief and can keep the pain at bay in the hours to come. Try a disposable heat wrap or a small electric blanket near the source of your pain for a little soothing relief before you go to sleep.
Use Gentle Distractions
While studies have shown that watching TV or perusing your laptop can keep you up longer than expected due to electronic or “blue light,” there are other and safer distractions that you can use before you go to bed.
Bring along a good book, or listen to a quiet podcast or noise machine to provide a gentle distraction away from your pain that won’t interrupt your rest.
Your sleeping position may be putting added pressure on your joints and muscles, and can actually be making your chronic pain worse.
Try varying sleeping positions to identify what feels the best, and don’t be afraid to toss and turn a little throughout the night to keep things moving. Sometimes sitting or lying in a position for too long can make you extra sore in the morning.
Be Sure It’s Chronic Pain and Not Something Else
Chronic pain has been called the silent disability, simply because its causes and treatments can be so difficult to identify. Occurring in all parts of the body, and stemming from a range of underlying issues – like an old injury or an ineffective surgery – chronic pain requires the assistance of an experienced interventional pain management specialist to fully address and effectively treat.
But one of the more troubling aspects of chronic pain is that it could be a subtle sign that there’s a larger problem at play. Pain that lasts for days or weeks isn’t normal, even if it is not consistent or debilitating, and is something that should never be ignored.
The main reason why you should seek professional help and assistance is so that you’ll feel better and can get back to your everyday life, but a secondary yet equally important reason is so you can ensure your chronic pain isn’t a warning sign that there is another medical problem or condition present.
So always consult your interventional pain management specialist if you have pain that is not going away, and keep an eye out for these specific types of pain that can indicate a larger issue on the horizon
Pain that starts in your shoulder and which radiates down the arm may be an early warning sign of a heart attack, especially when coupled with an upset stomach or nausea, and especially in men.
Heart attack signs like shoulder pain can occur hours, days, or even weeks before the attack occurs, so any pain in this region of the body should be examined immediately.
Leg Pain and Swelling
Pain in the leg, ankles, and knees is a common form of chronic pain, but when it is accompanied by swelling, it could be an indication of heart failure, as the heart is unable to pump as much blood as the body needs. This is especially true if you notice other signs of heart issues, such as chest pain or tightening.
Stomach pain can be tied to a wide range of issues, from gas to heart attack, stroke, or heart disease. Be especially vigilant if you have sudden or severe abdominal pain that is sporadic and which seems to come out of nowhere, as this could be an indication of gallstones, kidney issues or other more serious conditions.
Talk to Your Interventional Pain Management Specialist
If you find that your pain is noticeably worse at night or when you first wake up in the morning, your interventional pain management specialist can help! And the only way to ensure your chronic pain is not tied to another medical condition is to dive deeper into the issue.
Talk to Dr. Rich about the unique attributes and aspects of your specific chronic pain condition, and we’ll work together to find solutions that work for many nights to come.
Your interventional pain management specialist will go well below the surface and will take a variety of factors into consideration – such as the history of your pain, your genetics, and your personal medical history – to determine the exact cause.
By examining the source and exploring all of the medical information that matters most, you and your pain management specialist can concretely identify the cause, and best treatment, of your chronic pain.