Managing Your Chronic Pain
“That’s the thing about pain. It demands to be felt,” at least according to Augustus Waters, the protagonist of John Green’s record breaking novel, The Fault In Our Stars. And boy, do the people suffering from chronic pain understand this all too well. For chronic pain sufferers, pain is an absolute. Pills and anti-inflammatories only offer mild relief, while their nerve endings continue to burn and singe with an unyielding force. Even that ancient remedy, the one that solves nearly all problems—emotional and physical—cannot help. I’m of course referring to sleep, and if you’re a chronic pain sufferer, then you can agree that a solid eight hours of sleep is in no way a guarantee.
A successful night is classified as being filled with a solid 8 ½ to 9 ½ hours of uninterrupted slumber. Research shows that in the different phases of sleep, our body undergoes muscle repair, memory consolidation, and hormone regulation for growth and appetite. Sleep, however, when constantly interrupted, not only results in our body failing to recoup, but potentially leaves your body worse than it began. Imagine your last sleepless night, recall the way you’d fall asleep only to thirty or forty-five minutes later be woken by a sharp pain running through your spine. Now I want you to think about the next morning. How was your mind? Groggy, lethargic, unable to function at full speed? And what about your body? Sore and Swiss-cheesed with pain? In all likelihood, your sleepless night has given way to an even more painful day than the one you had tried to escape the night before.
While chronic back pain sufferers can attest that a lot of the time anti-inflammatories and over the counter pain relievers can stifle their pain, it typically does not hold the pain at bay forever. So for those sufferers unable to fall asleep, even when aided by pharmaceuticals, here is a list of five tips to help you fall asleep, and stay asleep longer. Continue reading