Sleep loss due to chronic pain can interfere with everything from appetite control to your relationships. While getting better sleep might seem like a luxury, it’s actually essential to your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. If the pain keeps you from getting the full night’s rest, it might be time to see a chiropractor to bring pain under control.
The Effects of Sleep Loss on Pain
Sleep loss and pain are more interconnected than many people realize. The average adult needs seven to nine hours of sleep, but without that time, pain perception and tolerance changes. A study published in Sleep compared sleep time to pain tolerance, finding that cutting sleep time in half (going from eight hours to four) decreased pain tolerance by 25 percent. At the same time, extending sleep time to nine or even ten hours can reduce pain sensitivity, making you less susceptible to chronic issues. Sleep’s powerful impact on pain tolerance makes it essential to pain management.
How to Address Sleep Issues
Aspects of the sleep environment can make or break your ability to sleep. For example, the right mattress can help you reduce nighttime pain. Those with low back pain usually do better with a medium-firm mattress and sleeping on their backs. Side sleepers who may have hip or shoulder pain may need a softer bed to prevent pressure on pain points. Height and weight can also make a difference in the mattress style and support level you need.
Light is another aspect of your sleep environment that can help you sleep. Light contributes to the correct timing and release of sleep hormones. However, light streaming in your window at night can cause sleep disruptions. Blackout curtains, heavy drapes, or blinds can all help keep you on a regular sleep schedule.
Improve Sleep Quality with Good Pain Management and a Chiropractor
While sleep helps control pain, pain often makes getting uninterrupted sleep nearly impossible. A licensed chiropractor can be invaluable in finding the source of your pain rather than just treating the symptoms. After a thorough history, a chiropractor will take a whole body approach to identify your pain points and the imbalances that could be causing them. Depending on the source and pain area, treatments may include:
Spinal Manipulation: Spinal manipulation has been shown to be an effective treatment for low back pain. Manipulation can not only lead to less pain but better mobility for up to six weeks or longer.
Massage Therapy: Many chiropractors also offer massage therapy as part of their treatment plans. Massage helps remove lactic acid from muscle and relieve tension-filled knots.
Ultrasound Therapy: Sonic waves reach deep into muscle tissue to treat the damaged area. These treatments are painless yet improve blood flow to reduce healing time.
Exercises and Stretches: Chiropractors can often provide information on exercise techniques and stretches to target your specific type of pain because some pain is a result of injuries that can be aggravated by movement. With the recommendations of a professional, you can be sure to help strengthen your body rather than prolong injury.
With consistent efforts to improve both sleep and pain management, you can get better sleep and have the active lifestyle you want.