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Can Sleep Deprivation Affect Your Pain?

It’s a known fact that we all need sleep. It helps us function and keeps our organs healthy.

When we deprive our bodies of sleep, the consequences can be dangerous. Sleep deprivation can cause migraines, make you more susceptible to infection, affect your mood, impair athletic performance, and contribute to chronic conditions such as obesity and type 2 diabetes, among other things.

Another thing sleep deprivation can affect is pain. Not getting adequate sleep literally hurts you. Let’s find out why that is so and how to improve sleeping habits to reduce your pain.

Relationship Between Sleep, Pain

The relationship between sleep deprivation and pain is a complicated one. Does sleep deprivation cause or worsen pain; or is pain causing you to lose sleep? Or is it a combination of these things?

If you’re in pain, that can certainly make it difficult to fall asleep or stay asleep. Conversely, a lack of sleep can contribute to pain in several ways, such as lowering your pain tolerance level, making pain feel more intense or uncomfortable than usual, or raising the risk of developing chronic conditions that are accompanied by painful symptoms.

What we do know is that lack of sleep and pain interact with each other in negative ways and exacerbate one other.

Several studies have shown that sleep deprivation produces an increased sensitivity to pain (hyperalgesia). A study published in Arthritis and Rheumatology found that the best predictor of widespread pain is lack of restful sleep. As a result of that study, experts urged that one of the most important ways to reduce the risk of pain as you age is to consistently get plenty of high-quality sleep.

Research that studied people with fibromyalgia (an illness characterized by chronic pain) showed that not sleeping was one of the biggest factors that aggravated their pain. Other studies have shown that chronic back pain and sleep deprivation are related. New research out of the UK suggests a lack of sleep plays an even more significant role in the risk for widespread pain among adults age 50 and older.

What You Can Do

Sleep deprivation can come in many forms, all of which can have an effect on pain. Non-refreshing sleep, insufficient sleep, short sleep duration, and insomnia are all conditions associated with pain. Together, pain and a lack of sleep can hinder your health and negatively impact your quality of life.

Thankfully, there are promising new treatments for people who suffer from both poor sleep and chronic pain. The first thing that can help is moderate exercise that is done on a regular basis. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has also proven effective in improving sleep and reducing pain. With the proper help and training, you can live pain-free and sleep like a baby.

Don’t let pain or lack of sleep rule your life. The highly trained doctors and staff at Lynx Healthcare can help manage your pain and get to the root of what is causing you to lose sleep. We offer a variety of medical care services by a friendly staff who look forward to serving you.

To make an appointment at one of our Lynx Healthcare clinics in Oregon, Yakima, Tri-Cities, or Goldendale, call us at (509) 591-0070, or contact our Spokane clinic at (509) 321-4575.

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