Why Do My Bones Ache At Night
Have you ever woken up in the middle of the night and experienced severe pain or aches in your bones? Maybe it was just a minor twinge in your knee that went away when you got out of bed, but then later in the day, you notice it’s not gone, yet the pain persists. It could be a sharp stab of pain from a pinched disc in your back, or something more serious like arthritis. Whatever it is, night time often brings about a higher level of discomfort for many people who have these types of health issues. If you suffer from chronic pain or have any type of bone issue, such as osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, you know how uncomfortable sleeping can be without proper relief. The good news is that this discomfort doesn’t last forever, because there are natural solutions to help ease your pain during sleep at night.
There are several reasons why people experience increased pain levels while sleeping. One reason is that our bodies naturally slow down their activity during the evening hours. We’re normally asleep during the day, but we also need downtime to rejuvenate ourselves. This process is called “sleep debt.” When we don’t get enough sleep (or sleep well), we start to feel tired throughout the day. And if we continue to miss out on sleep, this condition becomes worse until we finally get adequate rest. In fact, lack of sleep may lead to weight gain, depression, memory loss, high blood pressure, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other illnesses. So, getting quality sleep each night is essential for optimal health.
Another reason why some people experience more pain while they sleep is because of hormonal changes that occur at night. Cortisol, one of the major hormones involved in regulating metabolism and immune system function, plays a key role in how much pain someone experiences while sleeping. During the day, cortisol helps regulate blood sugar by controlling insulin production. But during the night, low doses of cortisol help suppress inflammation and maintain healthy joints. So, when you wake up in the middle of the night because of pain, your body produces more cortisol to cope with the new inflammatory state. Since your body needs to produce cortisol overnight, it results in excess amounts being produced over a long period of time. Over time, this constant release of cortisol can be harmful to the body.
For example, in patients suffering from osteoarthritis, excessive levels of cortisol can cause cartilage breakdown and contribute to joint destruction. Pain signals sent to the brain increase during the night, which causes us to wake up and try to find relief. However, since most of the joints and muscles are inactive while we sleep, the pain signal gets amplified even further once we become awake. As a result, we begin to focus on the pain instead of recognizing its source – the inflamed area.
Other factors that influence how much pain we experience while sleeping include genetics, exercise habits, sex, age, height, weight, diet, and amount of alcohol consumed. For instance, if you drink alcohol late into the night, it may keep you awake longer, causing more pain. Similarly, eating spicy foods before going to bed may cause stomach cramps that make it difficult to fall asleep. Lastly, having a regular sleep schedule can reduce the number of times you wake up during the night. Sleeping too much or too little can both affect the way your joints respond to pain.
So what can you do to relieve pain while you sleep? First, take note of the activities that bring about pain. Are they related to movement, exercise, or simple daily tasks? Next, consider whether the pain occurs only after performing certain movements, or does it happen all the time. Also, pay attention to the location where you feel pain. Is it in one specific part of your body, or does it move around? Finally, think about lifestyle factors such as smoking, drinking, weight, and physical activity. You might want to consult your doctor or pharmacist to determine if medical intervention is necessary.
Since different individuals experience pain differently, it’s important to discuss your symptoms with your healthcare provider. He or she will likely recommend using nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or corticosteroids to alleviate inflammation and pain caused by various diseases. These medications work best when used together to achieve maximum effectiveness. Your physician can prescribe topical treatments such as NSAIDS or steroids to treat painful areas. Physical therapy can also help you improve mobility and range of motion. Some exercises, such as yoga, tai chi, meditation, walking, stretching, and swimming, may also provide mild relief from pain. Stretching exercises may be especially helpful for reducing muscle spasms and increasing flexibility.
If taking prescribed medication isn’t providing sufficient relief, talk to your healthcare professional about trying biofeedback therapy. Biofeedback uses technology to monitor physiological functions and teach relaxation techniques to control them. By learning to relax your mind and body, you can minimize pain sensations and create a sense of inner harmony. Other options include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and herbal remedies.
In order to prevent pain that occurs while sleeping, here are some tips to follow:
Avoid lying down immediately after meals
Drink lots of fluids to avoid dehydration
Do not smoke
Restrict alcohol consumption
Take calcium supplements
Eat right and manage stress
Reduce noise in bedroom
Maintain a consistent sleep cycle
Sleep eight hours every night
Losing weight may lessen the intensity of pain
Try heat pads or warm clothing to decrease swelling
Keep emotional distress under control
Practice deep breathing to calm yourself
It’s easy to forget about relaxing when we engage in stressful activities throughout the day. Stress management techniques can help you better deal with everyday life. Learning to relax requires practicing self-care skills such as meditation, visualization, progressive relaxation, guided imagery, prayer, and laughter therapy. Meditation involves focusing inwardly and clearing your thoughts to allow space for peace to enter. Visualization involves imagining scenes to distract your mind from stressful thoughts. Progressive relaxation teaches you to tense and loosen different parts of your muscles slowly. Guided imagery focuses on positive memories or goals to induce feelings of happiness, contentment, hope, and faith. Prayer allows you to express your concerns to God and receive his guidance. Laughter therapy encourages you to practice laughing at situations that make you happy and laugh at yourself to develop a humorous outlook.
When you learn to relax, you’ll discover that it’s easier to handle stressful events. Many people feel more relaxed at home than in the office. Try visualizing a peaceful place that makes you feel calmer. Focus on a comfortable chair, soft lighting, pleasing surroundings, and soothing music. Once you’ve achieved a feeling of comfort, ask yourself, “What am I doing today that feels challenging?” Then, spend five minutes thinking about ways to resolve the situation. Take a few moments to imagine a solution to whatever problem arises. Imagine how you would act if the situation were resolved. Repeat this three times per week. You can also use guided imagery CDs to listen to soothing sounds and images whenever you wish. After listening to your CD, try writing down your feelings regarding the scenario.
Biofeedback therapy is based on the theory that the human body possesses feedback mechanisms that alert it to bodily problems. Through biofeedback training, practitioners instruct patients on how to obtain internal information through monitoring systems such as electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalogram (EEG). Patients are taught how to recognize patterns within their own data to identify potential problems early. They then learn how to control those processes through relaxation techniques.
Biofeedback therapists guide patients through sessions lasting between 45 minutes and two hours. Sessions usually involve watching films, recording readings, and receiving instruction on how to perform biofeedback exercises. The therapist monitors patient progress by measuring skin conductance, respiratory rate, heart rhythm, respiration volume, pulse wave velocity, blood flow, and galvanic skin resistance. Based on the measurements taken, he or she determines whether biofeedback training is effective.
A trained biofeedback practitioner can work with patients to improve health, restore normal functioning, reduce disability, and return to work. With biofeedback, you won’t just feel better; you’ll also be healthier and live happier lives.
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