Wednesday, September 30, 2020

How do you sleep when you have chronic pain?




Remember the days when you could just go to bed, put your head on your pillow and drift off to sleep. You'd wake up the next morning feeling refreshed and ready for the day? Me neither. Does that really happen? 

Even if it wasn't the best, sleep used to come much easier to me than it does now. I've tried almost everything. My doctor and I have tried to adjust my medications so that we can take full advantage of those that might be sleep-inducing. It turns out, those only make me sleepy if I take them during the day. I started showering at night instead of the morning. It was nice, but didn't do much for my sleep. My pillows seemed like they weren't cooperating with me, so I bought new ones, including lots of different support pillows in case I need to elevate part of my body. Finally, we took the plunge and bought a Sleep Number bed. It is great and I don't wake up with hip pain anymore, but still sometimes struggle to sleep.

When you have chronic pain, it's just not easy to sleep. My recent wrist surgery made it even more difficult. We had a big thunderstorm last night. I could feel it in my fingers and toes. It felt like I had burning lava in each of them and, at any moment, it was going to erupt. When my fingers and toes feel this way, it feels as though my skin might not be strong enough to stay in place.  My low back was on fire with tennis ball sized pain points shooting down my legs. On top of these symptoms, I could suddenly feel the titanium rod in my hand and just wished everything would settle down in my body.

Sleep is the thing that my body needs. It will help my wrist to heal. It will soothe my joints affected by psoriatic arthritis. Knowing this, I try harder to sleep. The harder I try, the more frustrated I get, until I finally decide to get up and see what's on tv. All I can find are clips of the presidential debate, and that is not relaxing, trying-to-get-some-sleep TV. When I finally go back to bed, I have a bit more success, though my bed tells me that my sleep wasn't very restful. (How cool is it that my bed can tell me this?)

So now, I'm still in pain today. I'm in this cycle and I know I'll need a nap today. I'll try to fight it so I can sleep tonight, but I'll probably give in. But sleep is what I need the most. 

I keep thinking about what I might do to resolve this sleep situation. It makes me think about who determined this sleep time that I'm imposing upon myself. If I can't sleep at night, should I stay in bed and try to force it, or just let sleep come where and when it is willing? I think I'm going to give option two a try.

Surely I'm not the only person with chronic pain who battles sleep. How do you sleep? Please share your secrets to a good night of sleep with me!!



2 comments:

  1. Got a prescription for Ambien a couple of weeks ago. I am now sleeping better and feel it is more quality of sleep. I have used CBD oil in the past too. Everything is worse when you don’t sleep. And I haven’t slept very well in a long time. Still trying to decide about the Sleep Number bed too.

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    1. The Sleep Number particularly keeps my hip and back pain down. My problem lately is with my hands and feet, and I guess a bed can't do much for that. I'd love to hear more about your experience with Ambien. I've heard so many strange stories about people taking it that it scares me a little. I haven't had much luck with CBD oil in the past, but have had a lot of success with cannabis balm. It makes me feel that NC needs to legalize medical marijuana. Glad to know you're sleeping!!

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