A: The answer to that is “probably.” Pain can, and often does, affect our sleep patterns. Pain can keep us from falling asleep, wake us during the night and even prevent restful sleep. The interesting thing is that pain can cause some to sleep longer, while others cannot sleep very well at all. When our sleep is disrupted our pain seems to intensify, often creating a vicious cycle that can get progressively worse. The best place to start is at home. Try to identify the culprit(s) causing the sleep disruption. Ask yourself questions such as “Are all lights switched off?” “Have I had a caffeinated beverage late in the day, or am I eating a big meal shortly before going to bed?” “Do I watch television before turning off the lights?” “Have I read a book, or spent time on the Internet?” These habits are easy to change and may make a helpful difference. Once you have considered these things, a physical therapist may be the next best option. A physical therapist is trained to identify the underlying cause of pain and create a plan for relief of both pain and the associated sleep disruption. The physical therapist will use hands-on techniques to reduce muscle tension, re-educate the muscles to work properly and will also teach the patient to use a home exercise program to work in conjunction with physical therapy treatments for long-lasting pain relief. As the patient and the physical therapist work together, often the patient’s pain is reduced and sleep patterns improve.
Information provided by Mike Burggraaf, PT, DPT, LAT, Core Physical Therapy Inc., 516 Nile Kinnick Drive S., Suite B, Adel, 993-5599.