Sleep Hygiene

Chronic Back/Neck Pain and Insomnia

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Individuals with chronic back and neck pain often have sleeping problems/disorders because of their pain. This is usually the case as the connection between chronic pain, and the inability to sleep goes hand in hand. However, it goes a bit deeper than that. People with chronic back or neck pain and struggle with sleep assume it’s the pain that keeps them from a sound sleep.

Around two-thirds of individuals with chronic pain have sleeping problems that usually lead to sleep disorders. Research is finding that pain and insomnia have a mutual relationship.

 

 

Managing chronic back pain is a tough challenge. Add to that poor sleep, and your quality of life decreases. Here we explore the relationship between chronic pain and insomnia and offer strategies to get proper sleep while managing your pain.

 

Insomnia #1 Sleep Complaint

Insomnia is the number one sleep problem, but there is some misunderstanding as to what it is.

  1. Insomnia is not just about not being able to fall and stay asleep.
  2. Insomnia is not an isolated condition/disorder but a symptom.
  3. It is characterized by waking up throughout the night.
  4. It causes troubled sleep.

Understanding the root cause is the way to approach the problem.

About half of insomnia cases result from a mental or emotional condition, like anxiety or depression; both are common in people with chronic back or neck pain. Insomnia affects sleep quality and the U.S. health care system. In the United States, lost work productivity brought on by insomnia is estimated to run around $63.2 billion per year, as the journal Sleep reports. According to the Archives of General Psychiatry, it also takes a toll on work accidents at around $31 billion per year.

Insomnia and Chronic Pain

Researchers have found it’s not as simple as chronic pain-causing insomnia but play a significant role. Here are findings from three studies to illustrate the connection between chronic back pain and insomnia.

Chronic pain and insomnia are close.

Addressing your back pain early will benefit your spinal and body health tremendously. A study published in the Journal of Orthopaedic Surgery found that nearly half of the individuals had chronic back pain and insomnia. They recommended early back pain treatment to avoid worsening the injury and serious complications from insomnia.

Does poor sleep equal more pain?

It is not the pain but the feelings of pain. A study in the journal of Sleep found that insomnia can intensify your perception of how the pain will be the next day. Poor sleep does not cause added pain but can make you highly sensitive to the pain sensation.

Can cognitive behavioral therapy work?

A study in Sleep Medicine followed patients who had chronic pain and used cognitive behavioral therapy for their insomnia. The results found that cognitive-behavioral therapy can effectively treat sleep problems in patients with chronic pain.

Being Able to Sleep with Chronic Pain

Insomnia treatment is broken down into two categories that are behavioral therapy and prescription meds. Behavioral therapy is preferred because it provides a long-term solution without harmful side effects. If a doctor recommends prescription medications, it will more than likely be for treating occasional bouts of insomnia.

Cognitive behavioral therapy has become a first-line treatment for those struggling to get proper sleep with chronic back or neck pain as it addresses the thoughts and feelings that block restorative sleep. Chronic pain, anxiety, and other worries can keep you awake at night. That is why this therapy can improve sleep as the behaviors and negative thoughts that interfere with sleep are changed.

Regular behavioral therapy has shown positive results, with as much as 80% of patients finding the ability to go to sleep and stay asleep. As a bonus, the Annals of Internal Medicine reported that people who underwent behavioral therapy could fall asleep nearly 20 minutes faster. They had 30 minutes less of being awake at night compared with those who did not utilize the treatment.

Another technique is being used to help insomnia, called relaxation training. In relaxation training professional trains you on how to relax your muscles and meditate to distract you from negative thoughts.

More get to sleep tips

  • Use the bedroom for sleep and sex only.
  • Television, reading, office work, and other activities keep to other rooms/areas of the house.
  • Wait until you feel sleepy before going to bed.
  • If you cannot fall asleep in 20 minutes, go into another room until you feel drowsy.
  • Keep a set waketime regardless of when you fall asleep.
  • Stop napping until you can sleep through the night.

Chronic Pain and Proper Sleep Is Possible

Anyone with a pain condition will tell you that it is not just physical but mental and emotional. The relationship between chronic pain and sleep becomes more complex as it worsens and affects the other. Behavioral therapies are here to help break the cycle of negative thoughts and feelings that don’t allow the sleep needed. Talk to your doctor about the options available.


Chronic Pain Chiropractic

 


NCBI Resources

Pain can prevent you from getting a decent night’s sleep, especially if you have chronic pain that lasts for three or more months. In fact, one study shows that 20 percent of people with chronic pain experience at least one symptom of insomnia, compared with only 7.4 percent of people without chronic pain. Chiropractic can alleviate pain associated with backaches, headaches, whiplash, migraines, and more to help you get the sleep you need.

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Professional Scope of Practice *

The information herein on "Chronic Back/Neck Pain and Insomnia" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional or licensed physician and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.

Blog Information & Scope Discussions

Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, acupuncture, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.

We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from various disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.

Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and directly or indirectly support our clinical scope of practice.*

Our office has reasonably attempted to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.

We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez, DC, or contact us at 915-850-0900.

We are here to help you and your family.

Blessings

Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, RN*, CCST, IFMCP*, CIFM*, ATN*

email: coach@elpasofunctionalmedicine.com

Licensed as a Doctor of Chiropractic (DC) in Texas & New Mexico*
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