Beat Nighttime Pain

Pain not only interferes with your ability to get a good night’s sleep, it actually disrupts the sleep you do get by encouraging your brain to wake you up throughout the night. That’s because pain and sleep share common biological pathways, says Julie K. Silver, M.D., an assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School. So even if your eyes remain shut most of the night, chances are your brain still isn’t getting the deep, restorative sleep it needs. As a result, you wake up in the morning feeling far from refreshed. Also, sleep deprivation actually increases your sensitivity to the pain. Yeah, you read that right. So pain = less sleep = more pain.

Want to escape from that nasty little loop and get some sleep? Here’s what Dr. Silver prescribes.

     

  • 1.

    LISTEN TO YOUR BODY.

    When pain first raises the alarm that something’s wrong, pay attention. Precisely where is the pain? On a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being no pain and 10 indicating the worst possible pain imaginable, where is your pain? What makes your pain worse? Do any other symptoms accompany it?

  • 2.

    TRACK YOUR PAIN.

    If the pain’s not severe—and remember, severe pain requires a doctor’s immediate intervention—keep a pain log and track the pain for a month, says Dr. Silver. Jot down when it occurs, its rank on a scale of 1 to 10, and what makes it better or worse.

  • 3.

    MEDICATE.

    Whether it’s delivered as a pill, patch, cream, or injection, medication can be God’s gift to the hurting. Ranging from acetaminophen and lidocaine patches to low-dose antidepressants and muscle relaxants, the arsenal is awesome. But every one has side effects, and not every one works in every situation. Work with your doctor to find the best approach.

  • 4.

    ENLIST YOUR DOCTOR'S HELP.

    There is no virtue in bearing pain. Its your body’s alarm system that something is wrong. So get to the person who can help you figure out what your body’s trying to say: your doctor.

  • 5.

    DON'T DO ANYTHING STUPID.

    While you’re waiting to see your doctor, don’t aggravate your pain. If you have hip pain every time you run, don’t run. Walk instead.

  • 6.

    HEAT IT UP.

    Try applying a hot pack to the area in which the pain occurs for 20 minutes a day.

Want to stay smart and healthy?

Get our weekly Health Reads newsletter

how we use your e-mail
We will use your email address to send you the newsletter each week, and we may also send you occasional special offers from Reader's Digest. For more information please read our privacy policy.

Some people like to travel by train because 
it combines the slowness of a car with the cramped public exposure of 
an airplane.

Dennis Miller

I think my pilot was a little inexperienced. We were sitting on the runway, and he said, “OK, folks, we’re gonna be taking off in a just few—whoa! Here we go.”

Kevin Nealon

“I can’t wait until your vacation is over.” 
—Everyone following you on Instagram

@kristencarney

A man knocked on my door and asked for a donation toward the local swimming pool. So I gave him a glass of water.

Comedian Greg Davies

Funny Jokes

Just found the worst page in the entire dictionary. What I saw was disgraceful, disgusting, dishonest, and disingenuous.

@sixthformpoet

Funny Jokes

Client: We need you to log in to the YouTube and make all our company videos viral.

From clientsfromhell.net

Funny Jokes

My cat just walked up to the paper shredder and said, “Teach me 
everything you know.”

@NicCageMatch

Funny Jokes

“Just because you can’t dance doesn’t mean you shouldn’t dance.” 
—Alcohol

@yoyoha (Josh Hara)

Funny Jokes

My parents didn’t want to move to Florida, but they turned 60 and that’s the law.

—Jerry Seinfeld

Funny Jokes

Q: What do you call an Amish guy with his hand in a horse’s mouth?

A: A mechanic.