Millions of adults in the United States, approximately 51.6 million, experience chronic pain. These feelings of pain can fluctuate during the day, with it getting better in the morning or worse in the afternoon and vice versa.
One would think that the end of the day when you are relaxing and gearing up to go to bed, would be solace from the pain. Instead, it can be the opposite. Pain may worsen in the late hours of the day. Unfortunately, this can cause individuals to, in addition to chronic pain, suffer from insomnia.
What is chronic pain?
According to the Cleveland Clinic, chronic pain is pain that lasts for over three months. It can come and go and occur all over the body.
Depending on the severity of the pain, chronic pain can interfere with your routine activities like working, hanging out with friends and family, and simple tasks necessary for taking care of yourself or others. Because of the constant pain, some individuals may begin to suffer from depression, anxiety, and trouble sleeping, which may make the pain worse.
Chronic pain may feel sharp or dull, causing a burning or aching sensation in the affected areas. Some of the most common types of chronic pain can include:
- Lower back pain
- Arthritis pain
- Neurogenic pain (caused by nerve damage)
- Psychogenic pain (pain not caused by disease, injury, or damaged nerves)
Social media discussions between people who suffer from chronic pain have coined the term “painsomnia”. The combination of the words ‘pain’ and ‘insomnia’ sum up the experience that individuals may deal with at night when their pain keeps them awake.
Now why can your pain get worse at night?
There are a few different reasons why your pain flares up in the late hours. Common causes of pain at night are:
- Hormone Levels – cortisol, the anti-inflammatory hormone, drops to a very low production point around midnight, so this could cause some discomfort.
- Body Temperature – musculoskeletal inflammatory pain responds well to heat, so keeping your bedroom cool at night for better sleep is recommended.
- Sleep Position – sleeping in a single position throughout the night can cause stiffening of your joints. Meanwhile, sleeping on your stomach can put a strain on your back.
How Can You Help Yourself?
If you are suffering from the increasing pain that comes at night, there are plenty of ways you can help yourself get more, better-quality sleep, such as:
- Participating in relaxation techniques before bed
- Creating a regular sleep schedule
- Finding the necessary firmness for your mattresses and pillows
- Consuming foods that promote sleep
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