Top Ways to Reduce Pain and Get ZZZZ’s

July 31, 2015

The 2015 Sleep in America Poll, conducted by the National Sleep Foundation, found that 21 percent of Americans experience chronic pain and 36 percent have had acute pain in the past week. Those combine to a majority of the nation’s adult population, 57 percent, leaving only 43 percent who report being pain-free. The Sleep Foundation reports that “pain is a key factor in the gap between the amount of sleep Americans say they need and the amount they are getting – an average 42 minute sleep debt for those with chronic pain.” So what can pain sufferers do to ensure they can experience restorative sleep?  Salonpas interviewed doctors and wellness professionals about how pain sufferers can overcome their sleep disorders.

“The body can’t rest and repair without deep sleep,” says Dr. Carolyn Dean, author of “The Complete Natural Medicine Guide to Women’s Health.”  “Many people sleep on the surface in a constant hyper-vigilant state whether due to pain, worry, anxiety, noise or electromagnetic fields (EMF) in the environment.”

“The sleep and pain problem is significant because when you are in deep pain because sleep deprivation can make pain worse because your brain is not getting the rest it needs,” says Nancy Smithers, wellness expert and founder of Nova Scotia Organics.

What are the primary types of pain that keep people tossing and turning?  “Any pain can cause a problem,” says Dr. Dean.  “The pain could be acute pain from a recent injury, surgery or chronic pain from musculoskeletal conditions or muscle spasms, leg, foot, thigh, hamstring or calf muscle cramps.”

“Desk jockeys” toiling away at the office also suffer from pain that interferes with sound sleeping. “Neck pain from computer overuse and back pain are increasingly common,” says Smithers.  “Pain from inflammation, cancer and osteoarthritis are also common sleep disrupters.”

Should insomniac pain sufferers reach for prescription sleep aids to find relief?  “’Prescription sleep aids are addictive and should be avoided if possible,” says Smithers. “My first recommendation is Epsom salt baths,” says Dr. Dean.  “Warm to moderately hot Epsom salts (which include magnesium sulfate) baths will help chronic back pain.  The magnesium is absorbed into the tissues which creates muscle relaxation.  Oral magnesium citrate powder, mixed in water, before bedtime can help a pain sufferer fall asleep faster as it acts as a natural sleep aid,” adds Dean, who is a Medical Advisory Board Member for the non-profit Nutritional Magnesium Association.

Salonpas receives many emails and calls from people who turn to Salonpas® to ease muscle aches and pains that disrupt their sleep patterns as the Pain Relief Patch is a 12-hour OTC topical pain reliever clinically proven for mild to moderate pain relief.  “The Salonpas Pain Relief Patch helps me sleep and make it through the night with less pain,” said Linda Bergener on the Salonpas Facebook page. 

“If the pain is due to a recent injury, ice can be used during the acute period,” says Dr. Dean.  “If the pain is chronic, use ice and heat (ten minutes of one, rest ten minutes and ten minutes of the other). “Castor oil packs help reduce the inflammation for both chronic and acute pain.  Vitamin C, along with bromelain (an enzyme from pineapple), and/or pancreatic enzymes are clinically proven for pain and inflammation.”

Finding relaxation techniques that work for the individual sleep-challenged pain sufferer is important.  The experts recommend trying out different practices to see what works best for you.  “You can kill two birds with one stone by relaxing in an Epsom salts bath,” says Dr. Dean.  “Deep massage therapy can stretch and relax tense muscles that feed into a chronically painful back.”

Tomezo Hoshino, the originator of Hoshino Therapy, created a unique pressure‐point system where back and neck pain, sciatic, bursitis, tendonitis, pinched nerve, arthritis, and many other problems can be successfully treated.

“Application of this system consists of applying thumb pressure to 250 ‘vital’ points in order to detect and eliminate hardened tendons and ligaments and early stages of calcification even before they show up on X‐rays, as well as other abnormalities such as early signs of muscle atrophy, deformed or immobile joints,” says Dr. Dean. “To these areas of imbalance, deep pressure revitalizes soft tissues by increasing blood flow, which counteracts the cold rigidity of the affected parts; improves metabolic function of tissues; and increases mobility, strength, and ability to repair.”

“Acupuncture is another excellent therapy for back pain,” says Dr. Dean. “Make sure you seek out a good practitioner who has had experience and success in treating back pain.”

The National Certification Commission for Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine is a non-profit organization which develops, promotes, and administers examinations and certifications for acupuncture  and licensed practitioners are listed.  Other organizations to find accredited practitioners include the American Association of Acupuncture and the American Academy of Medical Acupuncture.

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