When you spend your nights tossing and turning and cursing your pain, there’s bound to be some repercussions. Each stage of sleep is important to feel properly rested, energized, and on your game. On average, we go through four to six cycles of sleep stages per night: light sleep, deep sleep, and REM (rapid eye movement) sleep. However, if you wake up multiple times throughout the night due to pain, you spend too much time in light sleep. Shortened REM cycles may increase your sensitivity to pain, which in turn worsens the situation.
Back pain, headaches, and temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome are the types of pain that most commonly cause insomnia or sleep disruptions. Arthritis, fibromyalgia, and post-surgery pain can also keep you from having a good night’s rest. Another culprit could be the way you’re lying down. Incorrect sleep positions can cause muscle cramping and impair circulation, and if you already experience back pain or aches in your joints, a wrong sleep pose can exacerbate the pain. It’s a vicious cycle.
So, what can help?
There are a few techniques that can help soothe your pain at night. Meditation and other relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing exercises, tai chi, and yoga, can help your mind ignore the pain. Regular exercise can also help, but if you’re in pain, low-impact exercise is key. You could also try changing up your sleeping position to help decrease your pain. Sleeping on your side is usually the preferred sleeping pose because it keeps the spine in the best alignment. The spine should stay in a neutral spine alignment, so make sure you don’t curl yourself up too much. Try placing a pillow between your knees – it helps keep the spine and pelvis aligned. In addition to these techniques, seeing a Main Line chiropractor regularly will correct any misalignments you may have and restore proper function to your nervous system, which helps your body heal naturally.
Unfortunately, some pain medications, such as codeine, can cause insomnia. These medications can also cause apnea – brief pauses in breathing – during sleep, so people who take these kinds of medications for chronic pain are more likely to have sleep issues. Conservative methods of treatment are always encouraged, but if your pain persists, consult your doctor.
When in doubt, and when in pain, see a Main Line chiropractor for your back, neck, joints, headaches, and more! Johns Chiropractic and Rehabilitation offers quality chiropractic care, decompression therapy, and gentle massage therapy. Give us a call at (610) 265-0220 and visit us at 206 Allendale Rd in King of Prussia. We look forward to meeting you!