Saturday, January 28, 2023

Why does chronic pain worsen at night?

Chronic pain frequently varies throughout the day, and for some people, it gets worse at night. Why is this?

According to a recent survey, up to 50.2 million people in the US—one in five—experience chronic pain. These people typically have varying levels of pain throughout the day; occasionally, it gets better in the morning and worse in the afternoon, or the reverse.

But what occurs after sunset? Many people with chronic pain agree with some studies that suggest that chronic pain is worse at night.

What causes chronic pain?
Chronic pain is described as pain that persists for at least two to three months, frequently long after the initial injury or sickness has healed. The discomfort could possibly persist indefinitely. It can affect a single joint or muscle, or it can exclusively impact certain parts of the body, such as the neck and back. Diffuse, persistent pain may result from diseases like fibromyalgia or arthritis.

Chronic pain can range from a dull ache to pain that shoots, searing, stabs, or feels like an electric shock, as well as tingling and numbness.

Why does chronic pain sometimes get worse at night?
There are a number of reasons why pain may get worse at night. Hormones may play a significant role. The anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol is produced least frequently at night.

Additionally, recent studies have raised the possibility that pain may have a circadian rhythm similar to the 24-hour internal clock that governs our sleep-wake cycle. This helps to explain why some people frequently experience more pain at particular times, such as at night, according to Slawsby.

There is never a good time for chronic pain, but the night is particularly bad since it interferes with sleep. Lack of sleep impairs our capacity to control discomfort. And those who have chronic pain frequently experience sleep issues. The majority of patients who are diagnosed with insomnia, the most prevalent sleep disorder, experience chronic pain.

Sleep loss brought on by insomnia can boost the release of cytokines, which are involved in the body's inflammatory response and increase pain sensitivity.

Getting the rest you require if nighttime pain is a problem
Trying these methods may help you sleep better if nighttime pain has been keeping you awake.

Do a relaxing ritual before going to bed.
Photo by Matteo Milan: https://www.pexels.com/photo/shirtless-man-lying-in-bed-looking-through-window-14353713/

After a busy day, a relaxing transition can help your body and mind get ready for bed. Spend at least 20 minutes relaxing before bed to help the heart and breathing rates settle down, lower cortisol levels, and reduce the likelihood of flare-ups, advises Slawsby. Take a warm or cool shower, for instance.

Practice a sequence of relaxing yoga poses or stretches, followed by several minutes of deep breathing.
Photo by Mikhail Nilov: https://www.pexels.com/photo/a-woman-in-white-long-sleeves-meditating-on-her-bed-6931891/

Establish a restful sleeping environment. Keep your bedroom cool (the ideal temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit) and as dark as you can. Think about a device that emits soothing white noise or natural noises. Use soft pillows and supports for sore spots, such as the area beneath your knees if you have back pain. You can also get better sleep by maintaining habits and using techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia.

Rephrase your ideas. Chronic pain sufferers frequently worry about when their pain may strike, which adds to their stress and anxiety. If you worry that your pain may prevent you from sleeping, tell yourself that you've previously slept soundly and that you can do so once more. "If you experience chronic pain at night, just like during the day, just keep telling yourself that it will pass. Although it might be challenging, adopting a more optimistic outlook is crucial for reducing pain. 

Allow your body to heal if pain wakes you up so you can sleep again. Read or listen to relaxing music, but preferably avoid using laptops, tablets, or smartphones that emit blue light, as they interfere with sleep cycles. You could also keep track of your breath. Simply breathe in while counting to one, exhale while counting to two, and repeat this cycle until you reach ten while keeping your eyes closed. Repetition is required. This can help you relax, take your mind off the pain, and fall asleep.


No content on this site, regardless of date, should be used to replace direct medical advice from your doctor or another trained practitioner.
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