Can't Sleep Because Of Your Back Pain?

By Dr. Richard E. Busch III

Have you been up most of the night because of your back pain? Are you desperate for a decent night of sleep? Back pain can cause you to have insomnia. Many patients I have were suffering from this problem. Many patients I personally have treated used to try everything and had bought many products, in the hope they could be comfortable enough to sleep. They were actually praying to be able to sleep, but they could not because their sleep was interrupted because of their back. Some told me they felt like "Goldilocks" because they slept in all the beds in their house. Patients have also told me they had been sleeping on their couches or in their recliners for years, instead of sleeping in their beds. Sadly, they had not been able sleep with their spouses, for years, because of their back pain.

It is not unusual for people to sleep on the floor or put a board under mattress. They will buy body-pillows to prop up their legs or place between their knees. They try all types of pillows: memory pillows, contour pillows or even expensive down pillows. It could drive a spouse crazy because back pain sufferers often lay awake at night channel-surfing and ordering products from infomercials. They might buy sleeping aids, inversion tables, Ginsu knives, diet programs, and exercise programs, just to list a few. And it is understandable, as they are really ordering the promise of the hope to get better. It is a never-ending cycle with back pain and not sleeping. Many try heating pads, electric blankets, and soothing music.

Some back pain may resolve in a short time, and there can be temporary reasons for the pain. However, it can be a more serious problem, if the symptoms persist. Back pain and interrupted sleep can become a cycle, even though back sufferers try so hard to get some sleep. Many of my patients told me they had slept in every bed in the house, just like Goldilocks. Because they cannot sleep, they keep their spouses awake by tossing, turning and having the television on, or playing soothing music. While they are surfing late-night television, it is common that they watch infomercials and buy things such as inversion tables, aids for sleeping, diet, or exercise programs; all for the hope of pain relief and sleep.

If you are suffering with back pain to point you are not able sleep, then you should see a doctor. Sleep loss and back pain affect your whole life, and you need to find out the cause. It is normal to be given pain pills, anti-inflammatory medications, and muscle relaxants when you first go to see a doctor for back pain. In the beginning, many doctors do not want to take too much time examining you, and they may give you a diagnosis of "nonspecific" back pain.

If you have suffered through long and agonizing, sleepless nights due your back pain, you know just how miserable this can be. If back pain is affecting your life and keeping you awake at night, you should see a doctor and find out what exactly is causing your pain. If you see your medical doctor, he or she will most likely prescribe pain medications and muscle relaxants. If your pain continues and you return to a medial doctor, then you most likely will be sent out for physical therapy. Then if your pain continues, you will be directed to finally have X-rays or an MRI to look into an actual diagnosis, or cause, of your pain.

First visit, you could get pain pills and muscle relaxants, and you will have a "nonspecific" back pain diagnosis. If the pills do not help, on the second visit, you may be sent to physical therapy. If that does not help, on your third visit, the doctor may order X-rays or MRIs and direct you to a specialist (an orthopedic or neurologist). If you have a problem such a herniated disc, degenerative disc, spinal stenosis or facet syndrome, the doctor will probably have you get an epidural. This is a temporary pain blocker and may last a while or only a few days, if at all.

There may come a point, where your specialist recommends back surgery. Some surgeries are successful - while others are not, and without saying, these patients are extremely disappointed. If you need to continue to take pain medications long-term, then you will be under the care of a pain specialist. At this point, you would have a diagnosis of "failed surgery syndrome". - 30540

About the Author:

Sign Up for our Free Newsletter

Enter email address here