Living with arthritis and joint pain can change an individual’s life, from inhibiting hobbies to creating challenges in daily activities, including the development of sleep problems.
Aches and pains can keep a person with arthritis up at night and force them to toss and turn to find a position that is more comfortable.
Studies indicate 50 percent to 90 percent of people suffer from chronic joint pain and have trouble sleeping, Cleveland Clinic reported
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“Joints swell at night, and motion gradually lubricates them and keeps the fluids moving round,” said Michael Schafer, director of Musculoskeletal Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Cleveland Clinic. “When you stop moving, they can swell more.”
According to the University of Washington’s Orthopedics and Sports Medicine
, trouble sleeping is a result of too much stress being placed on the body.
Fortunately, there are suggested methods to make sleeping easier and hopefully lessen the pain.
Cleveland Clinic dissuades individuals from sleeping on their backs. Instead, it recommends an individual sleep on their side with a pillow between their legs.
The university, however, recommends patients avoid inserting a pillow underneath their knees.
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When sleeping on the side, Washington University suggests relying on body-size pillows to support arms and legs.
If a person does sleep on his or her back, the university suggests sleeping with a small roll inside of a pillowcase or to use a cervical pillow. This should reduce the amount of stress placed on the neck.
Placing pressure on places with aches can also help. The Cleveland Clinic said wrapping a sore shoulder or body part in a bandage or sling can do the trick.
The clinic also stresses the type of mattress on which a patient sleeps can make for a better night of rest. It recommends a firm mattress with a foam pad to assists in distributing weight evenly.
If pain continues, pain-relief medications may need to be altered. The Cleveland Clinic recommends talking with a doctor about a long-lasting drug that works for 12 to 24 hours. It is, however, suggested that people limit the amount of over-the-counter medications they take because they could develop a tolerance level, requiring a higher dosage
Moderate exercise during the day can also promote a better sleep, and turning off electronics before heading to bed can lessen distractions that could be keeping an individual up at night.
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