14 Apr Are You Suffering From Joint Pain at Night?
If you have trouble sleeping due to joint pain at night, you’re not alone. According to the National Sleep Foundation’s “Sleep in America” poll, 72% of American seniors with osteoarthritis and other types of arthritis claim to experience problems sleeping due to pain. Many people with fibromyalgia and lupus also have trouble falling asleep and staying asleep due to joint pain and stiffness.
Not getting enough sleep at night can cause extreme fatigue in muscles and joints, resulting in pain during the day. It’s a vicious cycle, and not knowing how to solve the problem can be frustrating and exhausting. Here is an explanation of why pain may be more severe at night, and what you can do to control it.
Why Does My Body Ache and Suffer From Joint Pain at Night?
Throughout each day, the movements we make cause stress on our hips, knees, spine, hands, feet and other joints. By the end of the day, even some of us without any medical conditions can feel the results of overusing our joints and muscles. In osteoarthritis, joint cartilage is broken down quickly as the day wears on, leading to inflammation in these joints and causing arthritis pain. During lupus flare-ups, daily movement can be painful due to increased swelling and inflammation. People with fibromyalgia experience deep muscle soreness and body aches, with localized areas of tenderness around their joints.
All of this joint stress, muscle soreness, and inflammation rears its ugly head at night when we quiet down to rest. Not only have our bodies been battered by everyday use, but when it’s quiet, and we’re not concentrating on anything else, pain becomes much more prominent.
Painful, Restless Nights Lead to Exhausting Days
When we’re tired from a sleepless night, we’re more sensitive to pain, to begin with. On top of that, the fact that muscles normally recover during deep sleep and aren’t able to do so leads to even more painful, fatigued muscles and joints during the day. And some researchers believe a lack of sleep may trigger inflammatory pathways that make arthritis pain worse. The only way to reduce pain during the day is to reduce pain at night, and vice-versa.
Try These Tips to Avoid Joint Pain at Night
If you take medication for your condition that causes joint pain and stiffness but you still aren’t sleeping well, talk to your doctor about a change in medication. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs) can ease joint pain and make it easier to sleep, but certain medications such as prednisone, a corticosteroid, can actually disrupt sleep, so make sure you’re taking something that isn’t making your sleep problem worse.
There are natural ways in which you can reduce inflammation that causes pain as well as ways to reduce the pain itself. Try some of these and hopefully you’ll start to get some relief.
- Eliminate foods that cause inflammation. Eating certain foods can increase inflammation that causes arthritis pain. So try removing corn and corn products, gluten, yeast, eggs, eggplant, peppers, potatoes and sugar and processed foods from your diet. Add foods that fight inflammation such as omega-3 rich salmon, nuts, berries and leafy greens.
- Get moving. It may not seem like the best idea when you’re hurting, but moving your body can actually reduce pain. Thirty minutes of low-impact activity such as swimming or walking will keep your muscles warm, while strength-training using small weights or your own body weight can keep your bones and muscles strong. And if you want to increase mobility and reduce the pain you feel when you bend over, regular stretching sessions such as yoga can work wonders.
- Take a hot shower. If you feel achy before bed at night, hop into a hot shower. Moist heat is great for relaxing muscles and joints.
- Sleep with a pillow between your knees or buy a body pillow. Keeping your spine in a neutral position is important for reducing joint pain. So if you sleep on your side, place a regular pillow between your knees or snuggle up next to a full body pillow. If you are a back sleeper, place a pillow under your knees to ease strain on your back.
- Replace your mattress or buy an adjustable base. Especially if you have osteoarthritis, sleeping on a stiff sleep surface can cause way too much pressure on the joints. Try to find a mattress that conforms to your body and relieves arthritis pain and stiffness. An adjustable base allows you to lift the upper part of your body, keeping your spine neutral, and bend the knees, taking pressure off of the lower back.
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