Pain and Sleeping Problems Need to be Treated Together

A sleeping disorder associated with chronic back pain should always be addressed as part of a multi-disciplinary, chronic pain treatment approach.

As with any symptom of a chronic pain syndrome, one should not attempt to treat the sleep disruption in isolation without taking into account proper treatments for the chronic back pain problem that is part of the cause of the sleeping problems. Many behavioral and psychological approaches to chronic pain treatment will also help with the symptoms of sleep disorder, and one should not be too quick to rush to medication solutions for insomnia.

Behavioral approaches can be quite effective in helping improve the quality of one's sleep when they are practiced on a consistent basis. Certainly, these methods should be attempted first since they are safe and without adverse side effects. If they are not completely effective, then it may be appropriate to consult with a physician about medications as an adjunctive measure.

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When choosing a medication to help with sleeping problems, it is important for patients to talk with their doctor about other medications that they are taking for the chronic pain problem as well as other medical conditions.

Treating a sleep disorder involves attacking the situation from a number of different standpoints, including:

  • Pain and other physical symptoms. Addressing the source of the pain.
  • Sleep hygiene. Practicing behavioral techniques that can help improve an individual's sleep.
  • Psychological approaches. These may include techniques such as relaxation training, hypnosis, and deep breathing.
  • Sleep medications. Appropriate medications specifically designed to help with sleep.