Chronic pain frequently varies throughout the day, and for some people, it gets worse at night. Why is this?
A recent survey found that many people deal with 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 happens when the sun goes down? Numerous people with chronic pain agree with certain studies that suggest that chronic pain is worse at night.
What is 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 might 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 symptoms and intensity can range from a dull ache to shooting, searing, stabbing, or electric shock-like pain, as well as tingling and numbness.
Why does chronic pain sometimes get worse at night?
There are a number of causes why pain may get worse at night. Hormones may play a significant role. The anti-inflammatory hormone cortisol is produced least frequently at night.
Chronic pain can occur at any time, but the night is particularly bad since it interferes with sleep. Our capacity to control pain is impacted by sleep deprivation. Additionally, chronic pain sufferers frequently experience sleep issues. Most often diagnosed sleep disorders are insomnia, which affects at least 50% of patients.
Sleep loss brought on by insomnia can increase the secretion of cytokines, which are involved in the body’s inflammatory response and enhance pain sensitivity.
How to get the rest you need if nighttime pain is a concern
Trying these methods may help you sleep better if nighttime pain has been keeping you awake.
Do a relaxing ritual before going to bed: After a stressful day, a calm transition to sleep can benefit your body and mind. “Spend at least 20 minutes before bedtime focused on relaxation, which helps reduce the heart and breathing rate, decrease cortisol levels, and lessen the likelihood of flare-ups developing.
- take a warm or cool shower
- perform a series of gentle stretches or yoga poses
- do several minutes of deep breathing exercises.
Create a healthy sleep environment: Maintain a cold temperature in your bedroom (65 degrees Fahrenheit is best) and make it as dark as you can. A device that emits soothing white noise or natural sounds is a good example. For painful regions, such as under your knees if you have back pain, use supportive pillows and cushions that are comfortable for you, advises Slawsby. Additionally, you can get better sleep by following regular routines and using techniques like cognitive behavioural therapy for insomnia.
Rephrase your ideas: Chronic pain sufferers frequently worry about when their pain may strike, which adds to their stress and anxiety. “Remind yourself that you’ve slept well in the past and can do so again if you worry about not falling asleep due to your pain.” If you experience chronic pain at night, just like in the day, just keep telling yourself that it will pass. Though it can be challenging, adopting a more optimistic outlook can help you cope with suffering.
If pain awakens you, give your body time to heal before attempting to go back to sleep. If possible, avoid reading or listening to gentle music on computers, tablets, or cell phones that emit blue light because it interferes with sleep cycles. Counting your breaths is an additional choice. Do a quick breathing exercise with your eyes closed: inhale while counting to one, exhale while counting to two, and repeat this sequence until you reach ten. Continue as necessary. “Most of the time, you will fall back to sleep within a short while,” says the expert. “This can help relax the body and shift your concentration away from the pain.