If you have chronic pain, getting a good night’s sleep probably seems like an impossibility. Tossing, turning, and repositioning yourself over and over again has perhaps become a regular part of your nightly bedtime routine. Without a good night’s sleep, you can wind up feeling exhausted and cranky the next day — and you could be increasing your risks for serious medical problems, too.
At Vulcan Pain Management, Victor Mendoza, MD, and his team use a patient-centered approach to provide effective, customized pain management solutions for patients of all ages. Here’s how you can manage your pain symptoms so you can enjoy deeper, more restful sleep.
Chronic pain and sleep problems
More than 20% of American adults have chronic pain, and it’s a good bet most of them have some trouble sleeping due to their symptoms. About a third of those men and women have also been diagnosed with sleep disorders, including clinical or chronic insomnia that interferes with sleep regularly.
Chronic sleep problems can increase your risks of serious health problems, like heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, obesity, and depression. Plus, when you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you’re more prone to accidents, and your immune system can suffer, which means you’re more likely to catch colds and other infections.
Chronic pain affects sleep in different ways:
- It can be hard to fall asleep
- It can interfere with your ability to stay asleep
- It can decrease the quality of the sleep you do get
It doesn’t matter what type of chronic pain you have, either. Arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, neck or back pain — any chronic pain can make getting a good, restful night’s sleep difficult.
Managing chronic pain for better sleep
Chronic pain and sleep problems are so interlinked they form a cycle that’s hard to break: Chronic pain makes it hard to get restful sleep, but when we don’t get enough rest, our pain symptoms can worsen. The cycle can be hard to break — but fortunately, with professional pain management combined with a few simple lifestyle changes, getting high-quality, pain-free sleep is possible.
Make pain management a priority
Dr. Mendoza is skilled in customizing pain management therapies to suit each patient’s symptoms and other needs. Seeing him regularly ensures your treatment stays optimized, so you can relieve your symptoms all day long — and at bedtime, too.
Avoid caffeine and alcohol
Both caffeine and alcohol can interfere with sleep, and they could make your pain symptoms worse, too. Forget the nightcap, and have a couple of chamomile or lavender tea instead.
Get more exercise
Exercise during the day can help reduce pain symptoms by keeping your joints mobile and lubricated, plus routine exercise keeps your mood elevated, too. Of course, being active makes you more likely to be ready for sleep when bedtime rolls around.
Use ice and heat
Ice helps reduce inflammation, while heat can help relax muscle knots that cause all sorts of musculoskeletal pain. Dr. Mendoza can give you some tips to get the most from these simple home remedies.
A little light stretching before bed can help release muscle tension before you lie down. Don’t do any strenuous exercise — just a few gentle stretches like these can promote better relaxation without overexerting yourself.
Employ relaxation techniques
Deep-breathing exercises and visualization techniques like these suggestions from the Sleep Foundation have been proven to promote better sleep. Like any habit, these routines take practice — and what better time to practice than while you’re lying in bed?
Don’t let chronic pain rob you of the sleep you need to stay healthy. Call our Birmingham, Alabama, practice or book an appointment online, and let Dr. Mendoza and his team design a pain management solution just for you.