Joint pain is a common condition that has many different causes. Almost 15 million Americans live with the severe discomfort of joint pain each day, and the figure is rising. Joint pain has a variety of causes – injuries such as sprains and strains, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, fibromyalgia and gout can all be responsible for joint pain. Regardless of the cause, if you suffer from joint pain, it’s likely that you are familiar with sleepless nights. Below are some tips on how to sleep with joint pain.
Joint Pain Therapies and Remedies
There are a number of different therapies and remedies for managing joint pain. Medications that can be taken in pill form or applied as a cream to the afflicted area may provide some relief. However, our bodies can build a resistance to painkillers, causing us to require higher doses and risk addiction or worse.
Gentle exercise, such as swimming or other aquatic exercises that use water to provide resistance as well as supporting our body weight can be helpful. A scientific review in 2015 found that participating in 40 – 60 minutes of aquatic exercise three times a week helped to improve coordination, range of motion and mood while also reducing pain and body fat.
Tai chi and Yoga have also been found to be beneficial in the management of joint pain. The low-impact, slow, and gentle movements of these practices improve muscle strength, balance and mood along with reducing pain and helping people manage the symptoms associated with joint complaints.
Some joint pain is caused by a malfunctioning immune system that attacks otherwise healthy parts of our systems. This is the case with Rheumatoid arthritis and fibromyalgia. In these cases where the person is experiencing severe chronic pain, alternative therapies such as transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) or radon therapy may assist.
Radon therapy involves the inhaling low-dose radon gas, drinking or bathing in radon imbued water. While research is ongoing, radon treatment has been available in Europe and other parts of the world since the early 1900’s. This exposure to low doses of radiation stimulates cells into performing functions including DNA repair and the suppression of inflammatory reactions.
Managing Joint Pain at Night
Often it is night time, when we’re trying to rest, that joint pain can become unbearable, inhibiting sleep and causing the next day to be difficult if not unmanageable. It is hardly a surprise that people who experience chronic joint pain have difficulty sleeping.
If joint pain makes it difficult to sleep at night, exercising through the day, two or more hours before bed can help you fall asleep and enjoy a better night’s sleep. Even the gentle exercises described above will stimulate endorphin production – the hormone that subdues our pain perception and is associated with feelings of ease and happiness.
Rather that heading to bed with joint pain, try to manage it before your retire. This can include a pre-bed massage, hot or cold therapy or a warm bath that relaxes muscles and joints.
Consider the firmness of your mattress and sleeping position. If the pain you experience is more intense when upright or extended, it is recommended that you adopt a fetal position, or sleep on your side with the assistance of pillows to help you maintain comfort. Medium-firm mattresses have been found to improve non-specific low back pain. If you find it difficult to get comfortable at night, try shopping around for a mattress that supports you where needed and eases the discomfort of joint pain.
In many cases, it is a combination of therapies and changes to bedtime routine and furniture that provide the greatest relief from joint pain throughout the day and into the evening. It is wise to try a number of different remedies and solutions to help you discover the perfect combination for you.