We’ve all had mornings where we wake up, and we’re just plain uncomfortable. If you’ve slept funny for one night, you might wake up with a crick in your neck, or an aching lower back. Being uncomfortable when you are trying to rest can cause sleep deprivation, which is very bad for your overall health. If you find yourself waking up in pain consistently, you may need to change something about the way you’re sleeping. There are options for you, like updating the kind of mattress you sleep on, your pillows, or finding a chiropractor. But it is incredibly important to avoid losing sleep on a regular basis because chronic sleep deprivation will cause problems in your daily life.
We knew that losing sleep can make you more irritable. What scientists are still learning about is this: Losing sleep reduces your pain tolerance, according to the New York Times, as well as your response to pain medications, according to a study by the National Institute of Health. These studies suggest that sleep-deprived people may have more pain for longer, and not be able to do as much about it with medication.
Scientists theorize that loss of sleep affects the body by increasing inflammation throughout the body, which could have an impact on the treatment of patients with chronic pain.
“These two vital functions, sleep, and pain, interact in complex ways that ultimately impact the biological and behavioral capacity of the individual,” the abstract of a 2005 study states. "Polysomnographic studies of patients experiencing acute pain during postoperative recovery show shortened and fragmented sleep with reduced amounts of slow wave and rapid eye movement (REM) sleep, and the recovery is accompanied by normalization of sleep.”
One way to deal with chronic back pain from your sleep environment is to improve it by buying a mattress with the right amount of support, firmness, and durability. Experts generally recommend a medium-firm mattress for back pain. Sleeping on a bed that is too soft, or has lost its support from use, will increase your chances of being too uncomfortable to sleep well. Slipping a disk in your back or having your spine become misaligned is not comfortable in the least, and you should avoid it at all costs.
You should also make sure you’re using the right kind of pillow for the way you sleep, and see if adding additional pillows for body support will help with the aches and pains.
Another way to deal with the problems is to work with a chiropractor to figure out a better way to sleep and get the kinks worked out in your body when the pain meds just aren’t cutting it. A chiropractor can help you find the perfect solution for your body’s specific needs. They can teach you exercises to reduce pain in a certain area, or stretches to avoid having that pain in the first place.
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Thomas R. Pellatt, DC
Chiropractor and Owner of ChiroElite Chiropractic + Rehab in Altoona, WI