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What To Do If Pain Is The Reason You’re Not Sleeping Well

What to do if pain is the reason you're not sleeping well

Is pain during the night making you toss and turn and wake up each morning feeling less than refreshed? Even minor body aches can interfere with sleep. If you're wondering what might be keeping you awake at night, use these tips to help figure out the cause of your pain.

"Even minor body aches can interfere with sleep."

If your back hurts:

Back pain can have a variety of causes, including a muscle or ligament strain, a bulging or ruptured disk, arthritis, scoliosis, or osteoporosis. Back pain that lasts fewer than six weeks may be due to an injury, a fall, or lifting something awkwardly (especially if it’s heavy).

If your head hurts:

It could be a cluster headache, a tension headache, a migraine, or a secondary headache caused by another condition. A throbbing, intense migraine can last anywhere from four to 72 hours and you might have symptoms other than pain, such as sensitivity to light, sounds, smells, and touch; nausea and vomiting; blurred vision; and lightheadedness or fainting. Possible headache causes include alcohol (particularly red wine), certain foods (like processed meats that contain nitrates), a lack of sleep (oh, the irony!), poor posture, skipping a meal, and stress.

If your neck hurts:

This might be caused by bad posture during the day or the way that you're sleeping at night. Avoid using a pillow that's too stiff or too high because that could be flexing your neck and causing stiffness in the A.M. And try not to let yourself fall asleep while sitting up and reading—that may cause your head to drop and hang in an uncomfortable position. If you're a frequent traveler, invest in a portable, inflatable neck pillow.

If your joints hurt:

Joint pain has dozens of potential causes, such as hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, psoriatic arthritis, Lyme disease, tendinitis, and more. See a doctor urgently if you notice any swelling, redness, tenderness, and/or warmth on or near the joint area, as well as if you can't use the joint, the pain is intense, or the joint looks deformed.

If another body part hurts:

There are plenty of reasons that you may be experiencing pain. For instance, women might notice abdominal pain either just before or during menstruation each month. When you're getting back into exercise again after a hiatus or if you worked out especially hard, you might develop sore muscles or shin splints. An illness like the flu can also make you feel achy all over. Think about any hormonal or lifestyle factors that might be making you feel uncomfortable.

What you can do:

It's always a good idea to see your doctor whenever you experience a symptom like pain. A physician can help you figure out the root cause of the problem and come up with a treatment plan. And ask your doctor about taking an over-the-counter medication like Advil PM, which contains a pain reliever and a non-habit forming sleep aid to help you fall and stay asleep.


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