woman holding head in pain

Sleeping Well with Chronic Pain

Chronic pain is suspected to affect between 11% and 40% of American adults. The most common types of chronic pain include back pain, nerve pain, joint pain and chronic headaches, and it is one of the top reasons adults seek medical care. 1 A variety of additional problems are linked to chronic pain including depression and anxiety, restrictions in daily activities and mobility, dependence on opioids, and reduced quality of life.

No matter the extent which the chronic pain sufferer experiences these symptoms, most all sufferers complain of inability to receive a good night of rest. Sleep is important for the physical health of all. However, it is even more important for those dealing with chronic problems. For example, sleep helps to repair the blood vessels and heart. Furthermore, sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of a variety of conditions including kidney disease, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke and diabetes. 2

For the sufferer of chronic pain, sometimes the only time he or she receives reprieve from pain is while sleeping. Although, many develop problems while sleeping due to the inability to get comfortable. A vicious cycle then begins of feeling exhausted which increases symptoms and pain.

Although difficult, sleeping with chronic pain is not impossible. Here are seven methods which may help improve your sleep quality despite the pain.

 

Avoid napping

When you suffer from chronic pain, you tend to try to get sleep anytime and any way you can. Sleep is however, how the pain is avoided. Sometimes a nap is unavoidable after a fitful night of sleep, but don’t nap routinely. Napping too much during the day may increase your chances of not being able to sleep at night.

If you do feel especially tired, try to nap in the morning and set an alarm so you don’t sleep the day away. A morning nap allows more time to pass before bedtime than an afternoon nap, ensuring you are sufficiently sleepy for bedtime.

 

Develop a routine

Although it is difficult to avoid hitting the snooze button, rising and laying down at the same time everyday is important. Your internal clock will adjust and your body will prepare to relax and sleep at the right time.

During the day, open up the house and let in as much light as possible. Exposing yourself to light helps your internal clock become more aware of when it is time to go to sleep.

Also, go through the same steps of your sleep routine each night. Spend half an hour or so going through your hygiene routine and complete a relaxing activity before turning off the light such as reading. Avoid screens from computers, smartphones and TVs which can be overstimulating and keep your mind from winding down. Some relaxation exercises may also help you go to sleep more quickly.

 

Limit caffeine

Caffeine is a stimulant found in sodas, teas, energy drinks, coffee and chocolate. Limit your consumption as much as possible and consume caffeine by early afternoon. This will allow sufficient time for the effects to wear off before bedtime.

 

Review your medications

Discuss your medications with your doctor to ensure none of them are causing you to lose sleep. Also, ask your doctor about sleep aids. Although not usually recommended long term, your doctor may approve for you to take a sleep aid short term to help get your sleep on track or as needed for particularly bad days.

 

Exercise

Exercising four to eight hours before bedtime may help reduce anxiety, a common factor that interrupts sleep. However, be sure to allow enough of time between exercise and bedtime. Working out too late in the day can keep you awake.

 

Create a good environment for sleep

Many factors can influence your sleep including mattress and pillow firmness, sleep position, temperature and darkness level. Consider using white noise to block out noise if your bedroom is near a high traffic area. Blackout shades may also help. Discuss with your doctor to learn if he or she recommends specific types of mattresses, pillows and sleep positions for your type of pain.

 

Get your pain under control

Although easier said than done, getting your pain under control is the best method to improving sleep. Relaxation techniques, acupuncture, medications and surgery are all used to help treat various forms of chronic pain. Discuss with your doctor which methods may be best.

If pain is part of your daily experience, we want to help you achieve the optimum level of comfort and an increased quality of life. Please seek medical attention from one of our CCMH providers. To learn more about problems affecting sleep and how we can help visit CCMHealth.com/Center-For-Sleep-Medicine/.

 

Sources

1 Dahlhamer J, Lucas J, Zelaya, C, et al. Prevalence of Chronic Pain and High-Impact Chronic Pain Among Adults — United States, 2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2018;67:1001–1006.

2 National Heart Blood & Lung Institute. Sleep Deprivation and Deficiency.

 

Disclaimer

The Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not provide specific medical advice for individual cases. Comanche County Memorial Hospital does not endorse any medical or professional services obtained through information provided on this site, articles on the site or any links on this site.
Use of the information obtained by the Comanche County Memorial Hospital website does not replace medical advice given by a qualified medical provider to meet the medical needs of our readers or others.
While content is frequently updated, medical information changes quickly. Information may be out of date, and/or contain inaccuracies or typographical errors. For questions or concerns, please contact us at contact@ccmhhealth.com.

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The Difference between Palliative Care and Hospice

November is Hospice and Palliative Care Month. Help end the confusion by understanding what palliative care is and how it differs from hospice care.

Palliative care is a philosophy of caring for people with serious illness at any time in the disease trajectory. As a sub-specialty of palliative care, hospice focuses on caring for someone during their final months of life, but palliative care can begin much earlier, even while a patient is receiving treatment meant to cure the illness.

Living with a serious illness can be burdensome and distressing for patients and their loved ones.

Navigating healthcare decisions, not to mention the healthcare system itself, can be overwhelming.

Palliative care recognizes all of the needs a patient or family may have and provides personalized, supportive care that eases suffering and improves quality of life.

How does palliative care do this? Time, expertise, support, teamwork and coordination are some of the pillars of the palliative care approach. Time to devote to patient/family meetings. Expertise for managing complex physical and emotional symptoms. Support for resolving spiritual and ethical questions concerning goals of care. Teamwork from various disciplines such as physicians, nurses, social work, chaplaincy and more. And coordination of care transitions across healthcare settings.

Palliative care is a philosophy of care focused on providing relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of serious illness. Palliative care is also a medical specialty here at CCMH. It includes supportive care at any age and at any stage of the illness, even alongside curative treatments, and hospice care for a patient’s final months.

November is Palliative Care Month

November is National Hospice and Palliative Care Month. The Center to Advance Palliative Care defines palliative care as “specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses.” It focuses on providing patients with relief from the symptoms, pain and stress of a serious illness, regardless of their diagnosis, at any age and any stage, and it helps patients and families manage the gradual transition from cure focused treatment to comfort-focused treatment over the duration of the illness. Palliative care is not synonymous with hospice or end-of-life care but it shares many of the same principles.

One of the main principles of palliative care is teamwork across disciplines. Physicians, nurses, social workers, chaplains, psychologists, and others work as a team to identify and effectively treat the symptoms and stress of a serious illness. Teams meet with patients and surrogate decision-makers to establish the goals of care, support families in crisis and plan for safe transitions from the hospital to other care sites. When this teamwork happens along with other principles of palliative care studies show improved survival and quality of life, reduced avoidable suffering and distress, and reduced hospital re-admissions.

When these and other challenges are addressed by palliative care teamwork, The Center to Advance Palliative Care says patients’ physical and psychosocial symptoms improve, family caregiver well-being improves, and patient, family and physician satisfaction improves.

During National Hospice and Palliative Care Month, remember the value of teamwork. Recognize the contribution of other disciplines. Teamwork is always essential, but especially when it comes to caring for patients with a serious illness. CCMH is proud to offer both Home Health and Hospice Services as well as Chaplaincy Services to support our patients with Palliative Care needs.

CCMH Home Health & Hospice
580.585.5575

CCMH Chaplaincy Services
580.591.2496

Hospice Care

Hospice Services Now Available

Over the years, Comanche County Memorial Hospital has worked diligently to offer services for virtually every area of medical specialty needed to care for our friends and neighbors here in Southwest Oklahoma.  After offering Home Health Services for over 30 years, today, we are proud to expand our continuum of care to Hospice and Supportive care services.  This will allow patients who need to transition from Home Health care, to end of life care to remain with the compassionate professionals they have come to know and be comfortable with.  In addition, those who may suddenly find themselves faced with end of life issues have a compassionate and professional alternative for care.

CCMH Hospice Services are provided under the direction of Medical Director, Brent Smith, MD.  The hospice team develops a care plan that meets each patient’s individual needs.  Hospice Care is a philosophy of care that delivers comprehensive, compassionate services to patients with advanced or life-threatening illnesses and their families.  Hospice Care can enable patients with advanced illnesses to remain at home with quality of life and physical comfort.  We coordinate all services, including general Inpatient care for symptom management, if needed, so that continuity of care is maintained, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, wherever a patient resides.

“We are glad to finally have our accreditation visit and be able to provide this valuable service to our community and those in need”, stated Teea Henry, RN, Administrator of Home Health and Hospice Care.  “We are now accepting referrals and look forward to caring for those in their greatest hours of need”, stated Henry.