Chronic pain is one of the most common causes of insomnia, and with some 50 million chronic pain sufferers nationwide, that’s a lot of sleepless nights. It’s a catch-22: Pain causes and worsens sleep patterns, while sleep disturbances worsen your pain. This vicious cycle is pervasive. Some 40 percent of chronic pain patients — whether suffering from a spine condition, arthritis, or headaches — also struggle with insomnia.
There are multiple reasons for this double whammy. Here are the most common.
A lack of comfort
A sore back, shoulder, or hip can make it challenging to find a comfortable position and therefore fall asleep. Others may be able to fall asleep but wake up throughout the night. If you have joint pain, for example, and you roll or move in a way that hurts, you’ll likely wake up.
Pain is felt when nerves are stimulated to an intense degree. This brain activation keeps you awake. In addition, the same area of the brain, the hypothalamus, is involved in controlling both sleep and pain. Research also suggests that the brain chemical dopamine is involved in sleep regulation, pain, and mood.
Anxiety and depression
Pain often causes anxiety, stress, or depression, which are among the most common causes of sleep problems in their own right.
Medication side effects
Medication for pain or a chronic illness may have side effects that include sleep disruption. For this reason, it’s essential to seek treatment from a board-certified pain specialist, such as Dr. Carden, and to relay any sleep issues. Your doctor should be able to prescribe medication that offers relief without a loss of your all-important slumber.
Treating chronic pain improves sleep quality
Adequate sleep is vital to helping chronic pain patients cope with daily discomfort. Studies show that a lack of sleep lowers an individual’s pain threshold.
As an experienced and innovative interventional pain management specialist, Dr. Carden, assesses sleep quality in his initial assessment of all patients. He provides individualized pain management treatment plans that ensure patients also get a good night’s sleep. In some cases, programs may take a multidisciplinary approach and enlist assistance from additional specialists, such as cognitive-behavioral therapists or a physical therapist.
To learn more about the connection between chronic pain and sleep disruption and how it can be stopped, call Dr. Carden at 310-842-8668, or book online now.