Chronic pain is a severe condition that affects millions of people around the world. It is difficult to get through life with chronic pain, and it can be even more complicated when sleep is impacted. People with chronic pain often experience reduced quality of life and even dangerous side effects due to inadequate sleep.
Sleep deprivation is a trigger that worsens the physical and mental well-being of people living with chronic pain. A lack of sleep can lead to a decline in overall health, making it more challenging for someone with chronic pain to manage their symptoms effectively.
If you suffer from chronic pain, you may wonder if there is a relationship between your sleeping habits and how you feel. This article answers likely questions you may have about your pain outlook and sleep patterns. Continue reading to learn more.
Is there a relationship between pain and sleep patterns?
People who suffer from chronic pain often experience insomnia, and this is why it may be difficult for doctors to say with certainty which is causing the other. Lack of sleep may worsen pain symptoms, and pain symptoms may cause a sufferer to find it difficult to sleep. The pain may inhibit a patient’s ability to get a full night’s rest. This creates a vicious cycle of sleep deprivation.
While the relationship between sleep patterns and pain isn’t simple, poor sleep can be linked to worsened pain.
In some cases, chronic pain may not be the direct result of inflammation or damage to a nerve point. Chronic pain is how the body responds to stress factors like injury. It signals that your body is under pressure. This is why the intensity of chronic pain may worsen due to stress factors such as lack of sleep.
How does Poor Sleep Impact Pain?
- Effect on physical health
When your body is tired, it cannot efficiently process pain signals. This will mean heightened pain sensitivity. In general, poor sleep worsens your physical health, and this has an impact on pain. Sleep also helps keep your immune system strong and your metabolism high. These two are necessary for your physical health, and poor sleep comes in the way of this
- Mental Impact
While there is no question that chronic pain can negatively impact your life and your physical health, the truth is that there are many more ways that it can affect your mental health. Poor sleep can worsen your symptoms because it causes anxiety and depression and decreases your ability to deal with stress, further increasing your sensitivity to pain signals from your brain. This means that when you sleep poorly, even if nothing seems out of place, you may experience more pain than usual.
- Effect on quality of life
As mentioned earlier, poor sleep can trigger feelings of anxiety and depression. This can make you feel like you have less control over your life than you really do, which is a difficult thing that comes with living with chronic pain. Your perspective on your pain can improve or reverse your progress on your pain management journey.
Chronic pain and poor sleep have a negative relationship. The effects of this on overall health have been well documented—and this is almost as burdensome as the pain you are experiencing. This is why it is essential to speak to your pain specialist about your sleep patterns. The better your sleep, the better your ability to manage pain.
Read our blog to learn insights on pain management, and consult with our pain specialist here.