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Posted on 07-18-2018

Is Sleep Deprivation Increasing Your Back Pain?

Do you sometimes wake up hating your mattress? Morning stiffness can be painful. Many people who have back pain target their bed as a likely culprit for increasing their pain. They replace their bed with a firmer mattress or spend thousands on custom inflatable mattresses. While studies do suggest that these custom mattress can help with sleep quality and spinal alignment, updating your mattress is only one step in dealing with chronic pain.

Some studies suggest that sleep itself could be used to reduce your perception of pain. A study published in Sleep in 2012 asked eighteen volunteers to maintain their normal sleep durations or extend their sleep by a couple of hours. On the first and fourth night, each volunteer was asked to hold their finger to a radiant heat source, which is a way to test pain tolerance. The volunteers that extended their sleep hours were able to withstand the pain for longer than those who hadn’t extended their sleep. While this is a small study, it implies that extending sleep may reduce the perception of pain. This finding aligns with other studies that have shown that a lack of sleep increases people’s perception of stress when encountering a minor stressor.

Chiropractic care more long lasting with sleep

Sleep could have another benefit, enabling your spinal care with your chiropractor to be more effective and lasting. Sleep also allows your body to heal itself and repair cells and organs. Without adequate sleep your body puts off repair of your body and slowly and gradually your body begins to break down.

If you are constantly in pain, it may be challenging to get sufficient sleep. Discomfort can easily wake you in the night or prevent you from falling asleep. It may be best to take a two-pronged approach to your pain management. Work on reducing your pain so that you can sleep better, which, in turn, can also relieve your pain. Some methods that may reduce your pain and improve your sleep include:

Chiropractic care

A chiropractor uses spinal (adjustment) manipulation to ease back pain by improving joint movement and taking stress off of your nervous system allowing full expression of your brain body connection. Many people report pain relief after seeing a chiropractor.

Hot and cold treatment

Cold compresses can help to reduce swelling. A hot bath, on the other hand, can help relax muscles. The right one to use depends on the location and nature of your back pain. Talk to your chiropractic doctor or family doctor if you’d like to use these treatments but you’re not sure which will be effective.

Improvements to your sleep hygiene

Lifestyle changes can also help you improve your sleep quality, which may help relieve your pain. A good night’s sleep starts with a consistent sleep and wake schedule. A regular bedtime trains your body to recognize that it’s supposed to feel tired at that time. When you have different sleep schedules on the weekend, your body may be confused about when to be sleepy or awake. Schedule eight consistently-timed hours of sleep every night to reap the benefits.

Sleep deprivation and pain may be interrelated. Addressing one may help the other. Take steps to relieve your pain and improve your sleep, and you should start feeling better soon.


Ellie Porter
Managing Editor | SleepHelp.org
[email protected]

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