Do you have pain in your back, hips, legs, or feet that’s robbing you of much-needed sleep at night? Lower extremity pain can be hard to deal with during the day and much less at night. If you’re not getting the sleep you need due to pain, it can be downright exhausting. However, some pain reduction remedies do exist to help you get a good night’s sleep.
The Connection Between Pain and Sleep
According to the International Association of the Study of Pain: “Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience that is associated with actual or potential tissue damage.” In other words, pain acts as an early warning signal to tell you that something is not right with your body. Within your pain, pain involves a complex interaction between specialized nerves called nociceptors, your spinal cord, and your brain.
When your nerves are stimulated to a certain degree, your brain is activated, which disrupts your sleep and keeps you awake.
How Pain Can Affect Your Sleep
Some of the ways pain can alter your sleep, include:
- Pain at night can disrupt the sleep cycles. The sleep cycle stages include light sleep, deep sleep, and Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep. To feel rested, you need a certain amount of sleep during each stage. Normally, each night, we can go through 4 to 6 cycles of these stages. However, if pain wakes you up too often, you’ll spend too much time in the light sleep cycle.
- Pain can affect how you position yourself during sleep. Pain from certain medical conditions, like arthritis, fibromyalgia, and other musculoskeletal disorders, may prevent you from finding a comfortable position in which to sleep. Therefore, you may have problems with staying asleep. Once pain keeps you awake for one night, pain-related insomnia will only get worse over time.
- Sleep deprivation increases pain sensitivity. When you don’t get enough REM sleep, you become more sensitive to pain. Studies show that sleep deprivation can increase your production of inflammatory chemicals in your body.
- Some pain medications can cause sleep problems. Codeine and morphine can cause insomnia. Opioid pain medications can cause apnea, which is brief pauses in your breathing while sleeping.
- Pain can affect your ability to exercise which affects your sleep. A lack of exercise due to lower extremity pain can lead to weight gain. Additionally, excess weight can cause more lower extremity pain and keep you from exercising. Excess weight can lead to sleep apnea, which can keep you from getting a restful night’s sleep.
If Pain Affects Your Sleep, You’re Not Alone
If lower extremity pain keeps you awake at night, take comfort in knowing you’re not alone. According to research from the National Sleep Foundation, two out of three people with chronic pain have problems sleeping. Those individuals who suffer from severe, chronic pain only get about 6.8 hours or less of sleep per night. Additionally, their quality of sleep is poor as well. Furthermore, people with chronic pain are more likely to be diagnosed with a sleep disorder compared to those without pain.
Why Is It Important to Get Your Lower Extremity Pain Under Control?
If you suffer from chronic pain and sleep problems, you’re more likely to have worse health and greater stress. Additionally, pain can interfere with your mood, daily activities, enjoyment of life, relationships with other people, and ability to work, do chores, take care of your children, and perform other duties. Overall, pain lowers your quality of life.
How You Can Reduce Your Lower Extremity Pain
If pain is keeping you from getting a restful night of sleep, it’s time to see your doctor. Your doctor can determine what exactly is causing your lower extremity pain and make treatment recommendations. Treatment may include medication, physical therapy, foot orthotics, and/or surgery.
Furthermore, you may want to schedule an appointment with a certified pedorthist like Kathy Carandang at the WalkEZStore. Kathy can evaluate your feet and gait to identify foot and lower extremity problems. Also, Kathy is the inventor of the ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotic. These custom orthotics help support the arches of your feet to provide you with better biomechanical alignment. Every step you take will be controlled as you walk.
Additionally, ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics absorb the shock forces inflicted upon your feet as you move to reduce the stress and strain on your feet. Therefore, your foot and lower extremity pain will be reduced – giving you pain relief.
Visit the WalkEZStore to learn more about ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics. Kathy can cast your feet for your custom orthotics during your appointment. However, if you’re not able to travel to the WalkEZStore, you can purchase your ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics online by clicking this link. You’ll receive a kit with detailed instructions on how to properly cast your feet to make your custom orthotics.
If you have any questions about how ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics can help reduce your lower extremity pain, please contact us at 1-888-392-5539, ext. 1.
ezWalker® Custom Fit Orthotics – Because … when your feet feel good, you feel good.®
Disclaimer: The information included in this article is for educational purposes only. It should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Cover photo: 123RF / Antonio Guillem