Chronic pain and sleep hardly make for a happy relationship.
Sleep is necessary for immune function and fighting pain, but the pain itself prevents you from finding sleep. This cycle perpetuates itself because sleeplessness further adds to anxiety which makes dealing with pain even more difficult. Anyone who struggles with chronic back pain, headaches or autoimmune disorders such as arthritis can tell you that on the worse days, sleep can feel like an impossibility. With this in mind, there are still ways you can make sleep easier when dealing with chronic pain.
Sleep gear: think of your mattress and pillow as equipment. Are they working for or against you? A pillow that doesn’t fit will add stress to your neck, while a sagging mattress will hardly support the proper curvature of your body as you sleep. Use that ill-fitting pillow as a prop underneath your legs to take pressure off your spine.
Progressive relaxation: focus on deep breathing and purposeful tensation/release of different muscle groups to influence calm. Anxiety and pain tend to make us tighten up and letting go of this tension is a key way to fall asleep.
Supplements of magnesium and calcium can further help influence muscle relaxation and decrease the stress hormone cortisol.
Don’t defeat yourself by drinking caffeine late in the day or alcohol and a meal right before bed. Exercise yes but not in the 2 hours leading up to bed.
Chronic pain is already causing enough problems during the day, let alone if it stops you from sleeping at night. Try to use the factors you have control over to set yourseful up for sleep success. If you have been dealing with chronic pain with no reprieve, give our office in Hackensack a call to schedule an appointment today. We are specialists in treating your pain at the source to effect large improvements in pain.
Dr. Albert Stabile, D.C.