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How Does Pain Affect Sleep?

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Suffering from pain can affect your sleep.

At Homberg Chiropractic and Wellness, your Knoxville chiropractor, we restore the curve in your spine getting you back to your normal routines, allowing you to live a pain-free life. Pain can affect everything you do, from getting out of bed to showering to driving to work and can even affect how you sleep.  How does pain affect sleep?

When you were in pain, do you remember not being able to find a comfortable sleep position, ultimately waking up feeling as if you got no rest? In addition to preventing a person from falling asleep, pain also results in difficulty staying asleep. And once pain keeps you awake one night, it is likely to do the same thing again and again.

The cycle continues because being sleep deprived makes you more sensitive to pain. A study in the April 2009 issue of Sleep Journal showed that normal, healthy individuals are more sensitive to pain when they are low on rest.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the types of pain that most commonly cause insomnia are back pain; headaches; and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome, which causes pain around the ears and jaw muscles. Musculoskeletal pain, including arthritis and fibromyalgia, can also cause sleep problems.

Chronic arthritis pain appears to interfere with circadian rhythms. A recent Japanese study found a relationship between a person’s body clock and arthritis symptoms. More specifically, researchers discovered that certain genes affecting circadian rhythms may activate a molecule that sparks inflammation in people with arthritis. The relationship between this molecule called TNF-alpha, and circadian rhythms may explain why people with arthritis have worse joint pain in the morning.

So you can’t sleep when you are in pain, and not sleeping can make that pain worse. What can you do to help you get to sleep?

  • Cut back — or cut out — the caffeine. If you’re overtired, coffee, tea, and caffeinated sodas may help you get through the day. But in all likelihood, they’re just worsening your problem, since they disturb your sleep at night. So struggle through a few days without your dose of caffeine and see how you do.
  • Avoid long naps. 20-minute naps are refreshing but should be avoided within six hours of bedtime.
  • Exercise, but not too late. While physical activity is good for everyone, intense exercise — especially in the late afternoon and evening — can rev your body up and make sleeping at night difficult.
  • Don’t overeat in the evening. A stuffed stomach may make it harder to sleep, says Lavigne.
  • Make your bedroom a calming place. It’s very easy to have your bedroom become a multipurpose dumping ground. It might be filled with baskets of laundry, your kids’ toys, and a blaring TV. Get rid of the distractions.
  • Relax before bed. Don’t do anything before bed that could get you anxious or excited. Avoid doing work in the evening or even getting into serious discussions with your spouse. Instead, try focused relaxation or breathing exercises.
  • If you can’t sleep, don’t lie awake in bed. Willing yourself to sleep won’t work — you’ll probably just make yourself anxious. So if you’re not asleep within 15 minutes of lying down, get out of bed and do something else. Read a book. Take a bath. Listen to soft music.

Last, but certainly not least, call us today at 865-679-2225 to schedule your appointment at Homberg Chiropractic so we can help you get rid of the pain.

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