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Pain-induced sleep deprivation?

I swear I have not had restful sleep since my back really started dilapidating (osteoarthritis in lower 3 vertebrae of upper thoracic). When I go to sleep at night, I'm in constant agony to the point that it feels like I just cannot attain a state of REM sleep. I go through every night completely absent of dreams, writhing around in agony, feeling constantly locked within reality thanks to the constant pain (as well for entire duration of wakefulness). As a result, I always feel like I'm locked into a constant "haze" - a state of exhaustion that persists through the day and cannot be remedied by any amount of coffee or energy drink.

So, is this the case with others? Has your sleep been particularly interrupted by your pain, to the point that you are always feeling a little bit asleep? I'm curious if anyone has found something successful in addressing this. For me thus far, the most effective treatment lies in full-surge shock treatment by the hands of the STEM machine at the chiropractor, with some spinal adjustment and light cardio exercise combined.


  • Peter BPPeter B Posts: 511
    edited 04/25/2013 - 5:46 PM
    It is a constant problem with chronic pain.
    I have very restless nights with very frequent wake ups, and long periods of just lying there.
    You need to find suitable painkillers for nighttime. I use slow release paracetamol, with 50mg tramadol as a top up. I also take an OTC muscle relaxant, usually a half tablet, to help me relax and get to sleep.
    Several times a week I will also take a mild sleeping tablet. Even with all this I will still get only 3-4 hours of broken sleep.
    You have to learn how to manage your medications so that you get a bit of sleep but don't become a zombie in the morning.
    No magic solution, I'm afraid.
  • KeeperKKeeper Posts: 20
    edited 04/26/2013 - 1:05 AM
    Talk to your doc about it. When I mentioned that I could not sleep due to pain I was prescribed something to help me sleep. At first I was waking up after about 4 hours, so he upped the dose and now I sleep a solid 7+ hours a night.

    Just make sure when you go you let them know exactly what meds you are taking. I caught an issue with tramadol I was taking at the time, that had a potentially serious interaction with the meds I was given to help me sleep.

    You just need to keep working with your docs and find something that works. It may take a bit to sort things out, but once you find the solution, you will forget all the testing.
    Fusion L4-S1, T8-T9 herniation.
  • I had that. I didn't realize the toll it was taking on my, my health, my mind and my well-being.
    I was just 'dealing' with it. I tried medication, I tried slow release meds, I tried just dealing with it. I mentioned it to my husband that my back was hurting at night and I'd have trouble getting up. I down-played it. The reality was that I was in agony and had to grit my teeth to move. I could sleep about an hour and if I needed to move, I couldn't. Not moving was a struggle b/c I was not comfortable.

    Then, to get up, well, that was a 20 min process. I would try walking around in the middle of the night, different beds, a couch, more meds. Nothing. My husband saw me one night after 6 months of dealing with it. He said "not acceptable way to live....he had no idea how bad it was" He encourage me to call my neurosurgeon. My NS wouldn't see me until I went to my GP (he was worried insurance would decline me). My GP sent me for MRI and confirmed scar tissue and arthritic type build up was probably causing my issue. He and I decided not to waste time with just PT. He sent me to physiatrist (who had a PT team) - for me, I lost a lot of mobility and all my muscles were just tight. It probably took 4 months before they finally got me to where I got a good night sleep. I remember it so well. I didn't want to jinx it so I didn't say much but over 7 days, I got 4 actual nights sleep and I couldn't believe how amazing I felt. I was alert, able to think, and able to 'deal' so much better with my daytime pain.

    Do not under-estimate sleep. Talk to your doctors to see if they can find something that works for you.
    I was honestly almost ready to try regenerative stem-cell replacement on my own dime because I couldn't take no sleep anymore. Luckily the PT, physio, trigger points, and continued exercise (PT Stretches) have kept me sleeping for a year now.
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