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Tuesday, 17 October 2017
This page aims to answer some of the questions you may have about the Chronic Pain Management Service and coping with your pain. If cannot find the answer you need, you can contact us on 01473 703435 and we will do our best to answer your query.

Chronic Pain Management Service FAQs

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My sleep is really bad, as the pain interrupts it. What can I do?

You need a certain amount of fitness and flexibility to sleep comfortably – during the day we regularly change positions, but at night we expect our bodies to stay in one position for hours at a time, and you need to be relatively fit and flexible to do this.

The key to getting a good night’s sleep when you have chronic pain is to learn to manage the pain as effectively as possible during the day. You can gradually increase your daytime tolerances using pacing, and decrease the sensitivity of your pain system by using a full range of pain management strategies. This will allow you to get a better night’s sleep because your pain will be better controlled overall, and will be less problematic at night.

In addition you can do other things to help you sleep too:

  • Avoid caffeine (tea, coffee, cola, chocolate, energy drinks) from mid-afternoon onwards. Caffeine stimulates your body and brain and stops you feeling tired. It can take hours to fully leave your system.
  • Do something relaxing in the hour or so before bed (such as reading, listening to a relaxation CD, doing a puzzle).
  • Have a warm bath an hour or so before bed.
  • Have a warm milky drink before bed, and don’t go to bed hungry.
  • Make sure your bedroom is warm enough, but not too hot.
  • Ensure that your bedroom is dark and quiet – wear ear plugs and an eye mask if you need to. It helps some people to avoid bright lights (such a sun beds, or light boxes used to treat Seasonal Affective Disorder) shortly before bed. The light can interfere with the ‘sleep hormones’ released by the brain, which can make you feel less tired.
  • Write down anything that’s worrying you, or anything that’s on your mind, and promise yourself you’ll deal with it or think about it in the morning. This can help stop worrying thoughts running through your head when you’re trying to sleep.
  • Try to avoid watching the clock when you’re trying to get to sleep. This can make you stressed about not sleeping, which makes falling asleep even harder.
  • If you have problems falling asleep, try relaxation exercises. Breathe deeply and evenly, in through your nose and out through your mouth. Picture a relaxing scene in your mind’s eye and try to concentrate on every element of it. Be aware of any muscle tension in your body, and gradually release it.
  • Take any sleeping medication as prescribed. Some people find natural herbal sleep remedies (available from a chemist) helpful too.

Image of a woman sleeping