Monday, November 28, 2011

How to Deal With Insomnia Caused by Chronic Pain by Paul Stevens

At one time it was thought that the link between chronic pain and insomnia had more to do with the pain than with the insomnia. The thinking was simply that it was the pain causing the insomnia, so by treating the pain you would solve the problem with lack of sleep.

Further studies have shown instead that both chronic pain and insomnia work together and that both must be treated to get the best result. Yes, chronic pain, such as from fibromyalgia, can make it much more difficult to sleep, but lack of sleep can increase pain as well.

When one is not getting the rest that they need, it impairs the ability to tolerate pain. Those with chronic pain and insomnia are stuck in a cycle of pain causing lack of sleep and lack of sleep increasing pain.

For this reason, doctors have started to treat not just the pain, but the insomnia as well. By helping you to get more sleep you will be better able to deal with the pain.

That does not necessarily mean that you will be prescribed sleeping pills. Treatment for insomnia may instead involve relaxation techniques or lifestyle changes.

If you are being treated with prescription pain medication then it is not likely that your doctor will be too quick to write a prescription for sleeping pills as well.

Once the pain is brought under control and you are sleeping properly again, it is important to take steps to make sure that you do all you can to avoid falling back into the cycle of chronic pain and insomnia.

Of course, you will not always be able to stop the pain from coming back or increasing, but you do have a bit more control over the sleep aspect of the cycle.

Here are some things to consider:

Caffeine should be limited, and you should not drink caffeine in the late afternoon. Even if you think that you are one of the people on whom caffeine has no effect, studies show that caffeine can hinder the quality of sleep, even if it does not stop one from falling asleep.

If you are overweight, you should consider taking steps to shed those extra pounds. Studies have shown a link between being overweight and suffering bouts of insomnia.

Exercise has been shown to help with insomnia. Talk to your doctor about whether it is safe for you to embark on an exercise program.

Do all that you can to manage the amount of stress in your life. If you have trouble in this area, talk to your doctor about getting help learning techniques that can stop the stress from building.

The link between chronic pain and insomnia is clear. They each enhance the problem of the other, so keeping both under control as much as possible is vital.