How Can Sleep Help Your Pain?
In this 2nd episode of our 4-part series on pain, Les and I talk about an article on pain relief. Did you know that sleep also helps with dementia? When it comes to easing pain, It will depend on what the pain is. If the pain is caused by inflammation, it tends to go down as you sleep because your body is trying to heal itself. But there are other things that cause pain in your brain. For example, neuro pain. Your brain is running during the day on full but in sleep, your brain is resting so oftentimes the neuro pain also rest along with your brain. This is a combination of healing and calming your body when we’re talking about not skimping on sleep.
If you’re working while you’re sick your sickness is going to last longer. You’re going to feel horrible longer because you didn’t give yourself time to heal. That is why, in any case when it comes to chronic pain sleep is really important.
Combining the Treatments is the Key to Ease Pain
In the last episode, Les touched on the fact that he’s been having pain at night and he’s been taking Ibuprofen so that he can sleep. It’s been helping him wake up with no pain. Also, removing some devices like cell phones, lights, before you sleep, helps. Sometimes when Les is in pain he just gets up and walks around. But a lot of people don’t want to move because it hurts to move. Oftentimes people would have pain and they’ll not use that area of your body that has pain and that is when atrophy comes in. Maintaining an active lifestyle or being proactive will help you feel better if you want to ease the pain.
Physical Activity Can Ease Pain and Improve Your Ability to Move Through the Day
A physical therapist can help you with this, it doesn’t have to be lifetime physical therapy but they can help you. They can offer strength and stretching exercises that are tailored to your own needs and on your own abilities. There are also certain posture improvement programs such as the Alexander Technique and Feldenkrais. These posture improving programs can really help ease the pain. Because as you get older a lot of the pain is in your back and it’s usually because of the bad posture. When Les tries to improve his posture even when he’s walking, it makes a difference.
The article talks about Tai Chi and yoga and how it helps manages pain. But what we’re doing is Qigong, it’s kind of like Tai Chi but it’s more on meditative movement. The article talks about the mind, body connection. That’s what that kind of movement with meditation does, it connects the body and mind. It’s definitely relaxing and you feel less pain after the session.
Typically, in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, you get 7-10 sessions and the therapist can teach the patient to identify thoughts and behaviors that actually worsen pain and replace them with a new thought pattern designed to calm the nervous system and ease the pain. You can ask your doctor for a referral and you can look for a therapist that has training on this kind of therapy.
When you go to a massage therapist it’s helpful to know what kind of training they’ve had. A chiropractor, for instance, would be helpful because they understand anatomy and physiology. It’s important to pay attention to that because you go to a massage therapist that doesn’t help you might be because they don’t understand your body that well.
Acupuncture also helps with pain but you have to go to somebody who knows what they’re doing and that’s not easy to find necessarily.
Acupuncture, massage therapy and the type of chiropractic that Les was doing are not covered by Medicare. Sometimes when we're dealing with our health, we don’t necessarily want to just do things that are covered by insurance. We have to take upon ourselves to go outside of what is covered by insurance and we’ll be better and healthier in the long run.
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