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    Sleep Problems
    Munner2010 posted:
    I have a great deal of difficulty sleeping due to constant, chronic pain. Getting into a comfortable sleeping position is a minor miracle. If I do not fall asleep withing a few minutes, my mind starts to wander, and I cannot focus on sleeping. I a at present 3 hours past the time I would like to fall asleep, as I must get up at 6:30 AM. So I begin worrying about my day tomorrow. Meanwhile, my lower back and neck are screaming for mercy, even though I have taken strong pain killers, which really help very little.

    I am at a loss as to what to do. I have tried self hypnosis, have tried what I thought were great apps on my Ipad, have tried sleeping pills-all to no avail. I am 63 and retired, so there is nothing of a work nature keeping me awake nights. The only thing I can think of tonight is that I slept 1 1/2 hours later this morning, but considering that I have only been sleeping 2 or 3 hours a night, I felt I deserved that. But sleep is not something you can store for later use!! Darn it!!

    Dazed and confused and VERY tired!!
    Toni48003 responded:
    Munner2010, I also have chronic pain that has kept me awake for about 20 years. I was getting a total of 1 to 3 hours of interupted sleep a night. It caused a lot of trouble with depression and on and on with more pain. About 3 years ago a psyciatrist suggested that I try Trazidone and it has helped me alot. I still don't get a full night of uninterupted sleep but I can now sleep about 3 hours straight without waking up. This is an old antidepressant that I was told is used more for help in sleeping now than for the antidepressant effect but has seemed to help me a bit with both. You might try talking to your Dr about it. Hope you find some relief.
    vesuvius13 responded:
    You are describing a symptom many chronic pain people deal with as it is hard to get comfortable enough to sleep. I don't have a good answer but wonder if you have tried sleeping in a recliner as many times it is more comfortable than being in bed. If you don't have a recliner then use pillows under your knees to help with the pain in your lumbar spine.

    The medication I take is very sedating so sleeping pills don't do anything for me either. Unfortunately many of us can't do anything about our sleep or our pain levels but I hope you can find something that works for you.
    little_ezzy responded:
    Having constant, chronic pain keeps many individuals up both day and night and it seems like there isn't the right answer. I have chronic insomnia along with chronic pain from severe arthritis and being front seat passenger in a train/car accident. I'm 22 with arthritis of at least a 50 year old person. What have I done to help me sleep at night? My physical medicine doctor had me go to physical therapy for a little bit until I knew therapies to do on my own at home. I also was prescribed different pain medications until they found one that actually helped me. I am also on a sedative after going through many different sedatives. Everyone's different, never know which medicine(s) you can fully benefit from and/or therapy/exercises until you take your time to test things out.

    Sometimes people ask their doctors something and his/her doctor only makes things worse. It's a very good thing to research everything you question or have a slight doubt upon. If and when you look things up, look to see if there's a limit to how much you should do something with what kind of pain you have or over counter medicine/vitamin because you never want to push things too far. An old physical medicine doctor told me to just try to work with my back and arms as much as I could so I told my therapist and he told me my arms may even go numb if I kept pushing things to the limit. I just found out I have 2 herniated disks in my back along with one in my neck. Be sure to keep your scans up as much as possible because it took 4 CT scans to find that. In the end of it all, my general medicine doctor figured everything out as far as medicine went with chronic insomnia and severe arthritis. You could need a sleep medicine/sedative to help you not think more and more about pain. Or even a mood stabolizer. Which isn't necisarrilay for only depression, ADD, ADHD, or things like that. It may help you look beyond wat you feel at night. Any pain or sleep problem/insomnia has a great deal to do with how your brain in functioning.Isn't that you have an 'off' brain or something, has a lot to do with everything in your brain- neorons, molecules, etc. So lastly, listen to a doctor or doctors you trust and they may help the most. So I guess Exercise, Listen, Research, and Test yourself with anything and everything that will help you for more than just a short run, the long run is what you will most likely benefit from the most.
    OH.. Need to add this one.. Haven't tried this just yet but I am trying in very soon. YOGA- will help both Mind and Body - Physical and Mental.
    patsydell responded:
    I have the exact same problem. I have gone as long as 72 hours without sleep. I take a natural sleep aide called Solaray melatonin and drink a tea called nighty night,which is at most groceries. This helps sometimes to get me sleepy enough to fall asleep. If you find any other solutions please let me know and I will do the same.
    candlemaker2 responded:
    To Munner12010
    I have severe chronic pain from a number of problems, starting w/fibromyalgia 30 yrs. ago, when I was put on an antidepressant for sleep. As I got worse over the years, I take over a dozen meds (changing them over and over since my system is so sensitive). But I slept pretty well.

    That is, until 2 yrs. ago when I started staying up late on the computer (the light keeps you awake for hrs., even if you turn the computer lighting down) and reading catalogs, which is apparently stimulating for me. Now my circadian rhythm is so screwed up after so long going to bed at 3:30 or even later.

    For some reason I have less pain at night and am usually more relaxed then, but I still kept up those bad habits - I could easily stay up all night, sleeping in 'til 11 a.m or later. Very bad for my body and esp. my mind - extremely poor memory, concentration, confused thinking, etc., and more pain. Finally, after withdrawal from Serorquel, I went a week of being sick,dehydrated, in great pain, and my sleep got down to 2 hrs/night; eventually I could hardly stand up, so went to ER. They rehydrated me and put me on Ambien in addition to what I was taking at night - a very strong drug which finally let me sleep.

    Once I turned 60, got arthritis and erosive arthritis, had to be taken off anti-inflammatories 'cause of an allergic reaction which gave me Stevens-Johnson syndrome. Also had 2 tooth abscesses, one of which put me in hospital.

    I'm in PT now which, without antiinflammatories, is going very slowly and causing me great pain. I have my husband take computer upstairs at his bedtime but kept reading catalogs. Have to stop that.

    I now take 2 Benadryl an hour before bedtime, then at bedtime a Xanax and an Ambien. Problem is, my body can't seem to get out of the late bedtime habit. And when I do finally get sleepy, I only sleep hrs., wake up after 4,5, 6 hours during the time I should be getting deep REM sleep, which heals small muscle tears, etc, that happen every day. Reading a book used to work but not as my pain and consequent anxiety and depression have worsened, no longer works.

    Tonight I'm going to make myself lie down on my 3" deep memory foam mattress topper on the floor (for exercises), turn out lights, and set my cellphone alarm to wake me up if I fall asleep (which I've done many times). This should make me sleepy, at which time I'll go to bed. (I think I developed a fear early on, when I couldn't fall asleep, of going to bed when I'm not sleepy. That's why I don't just go to bed. Also, if my opiate wears off, my pain keeps me awake for hours, so it's important I either don't take it too late (its a stimulant for me) or, if I have to take it, lie down on the mattress topper in the dark by, say,(let's be reasonable here, going slowly), about 1:30 a.m.

    You might try talking to your dr. about adding benadryl before or at bedtime. Last night, in desperation at 3:30, I took a 3rd one, and finally got sleepy. I'll talk to my pain mgmt. dr. about it this week.

    Good luckE!
    CAMMSNNP responded:
    Sleep Positions

    I would suggest a full body pillow and sleeping with a good quality head and neck pillow that are supporting whether lying on your back or side. Keep a regular pillow handy if you are lying on your stomach.

    What has worked for me is lying on my side, but rotated over and forward onto a full body pillow from the chest to the hip. Alternately rolled backward onto the pillow. This position relieves the pressure of lying directly on you side which can distort the spinal column. Vertebral pain for me manifests most strongly lying properly on my back or either side. this would make sense as spinal damage manifests when vertebra shift forward / backward / sideward.

    On a slight angle rolled over the full body pillow your spine may shift less and at an angle or direction it is not normally stressed at. This may lower your pain level.

    I have also succeeded in sleeping face down on the floor with my head supported at the forehead by my hands, where the thumb and first finger are used to make the letter O as a cradle for my head, which allows a vent space for breathing. My thumbs of that O rest in the bridge of my nose, and the index fingers sit just beyond my front hairline.
    CAMMSNNP replied to CAMMSNNP's response:
    Per response above, pls review this link

    from truContour dot com
    Yellowbird5411 responded:
    I am 65, have chronic low back pain, sciatica, and fibromyalgia. I have done my "research" on what works for me, and would like to make some suggestions to try for others.
    Pain in bed: To get the pressure of the mattress off my body, I covered my sleep area with ten pillows, which have a thin foam pad underneath to keep them from slipping. I butt them together, and cover with a pillow-top mattress cover, then the sheet. The pillows can be any bed pillows you like, even the cheaper ones that you can buy for $5 each. Rotate them every few weeks as they can get flattened. It is like sleeping on a cloud. A hard or uncomfortable bed interferes with sleep and increases pain.
    Pain Meds: I hate prescription pain pills, as they don't work for me, and cause constipation, loss of appetite and make me feel sick. I have found some amazing relief using occasional anti-inflammatories (prescription and natural). The health food store has some herbs and formulations for inflammation. One is called Inflamend. Some foods also reduce inflammation, and if you Google it, you will find a list of them.
    Sleep Problems: Melatonin is a natural hormone that our bodies make naturally, and it can be found in the drugstore or health food store. 3 mg or less (start with 1/2 tab) should help considerably, but take at nighttime, as driving when sleepy is never good. Also, DHEA (a master hormone that is excellent for those over 50) will help with energy, pain, and sleep. Also available OTC. Ask your doctor to do hormone levels that may indicate they are low, a cause for depression, anxiety, sleeplessness and hot flashes.
    Bedtime Habits: Don't drink stimulants after 4pm. No coffee, tea, chocolate or pills containing caffeine. Sugar in the evening is not good, either, due to the extra energy it gives. Going to bed earlier (no later than 10) helps reset our wake/sleep cycle, and can help reduce pain. I am a night bird, and going to bed early is hard for me, but I have to force myself. Even if I don't go to sleep right away, the body is resting, and eventually I will sleep. I always feel better the next day. Forcing the body to keep functioning hours into the night goes against what your body is wired to do naturally.
    Hydration: Always make sure you are getting 6-8 cups of water a day. Dehydration increases pain sensitivity and can actually cause joint damage over time, not to mention other chronic illnesses.
    Stretching: As you are able. Find a good book on stretching exercises and check with your doctor that they are OK to do.
    Massage: If massage is available and your doctor agrees to it, massage can help relax those muscles that are strained or attached to joints/nerves that are stressed.
    Vitamin D3: Many pain syndromes are caused by a lack of sunlight. Vitamin D3 is not a vitamin at all, but a steroid/hormone. It has always been mislabeled. Your doctor can do a blood test to determine your level. Over 80% of us are low on this "vitamin" and fibromyalgia and other autoimmune disorders as well as a list of other diseases respond beautifully to treatment (injections for a time may be needed). The Vitamin D Council has a website that can help you as well as articles on how lack of sunlight is killing us slowly, and arthritis/lupus, etc. are the results.
    Good luck to everyone.
    Caprice_WebMD_Staff replied to Yellowbird5411's response:
    Hi Yellowbird,

    Thank you so much for taking the time to share your tips here. I hope you'll keep looking in on this community.

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