What Causes Insomnia in Pain Patients?

Two-thirds of chronic pain patients suffer from insomnia.

People with acute and chronic pain often have trouble falling asleep and/or staying asleep. Chances are if you have chronic pain, then you have experienced trouble sleeping. Approximately 60% to 80% of pain patients experience symptoms of insomnia. The National Sleep Foundation reported that about two-thirds of chronic pain patients suffer from insomnia. So how do you know if your pain is giving you insomnia?

In these cases, insomnia is one of the most common sleep disorders. It’s important to understand, however, that insomnia is most often a symptom rather than the main ailment. If you notice you’re having trouble falling asleep, you may want to keep track of your sleep patterns to tell your doctor. If you suffer from chronic pain, it’s very possible that pain maybe a cause of your insomnia—therefore proper control of pain, especially a night, is critical to addressing sleep problems.

Other disorders or factors that are linked to secondary insomnia:

  • Conditions that make it hard to breathe, such as asthma and congestive heart failure
  • An overactive thyroid
  • Gastrointestinal disorders, such as heartburn and indigestion
  • Stroke
  • Restless legs syndrome
  • Sleep-related breathing problems (sleep apnea)
  • Menopause, and its symptoms (eg, hot flashes)

Speak openly with your doctor about your symptoms. Keep a log or journal of your night’s sleep. You can try to record general inferences about how long and how well you sleep, what kept you up at night, and how you felt during the rest of the day. There are numerous sleep disorders and a journal of your nightly sleep can help your doctor diagnose and treat the cause of your insomnia.

Don’t get overwhelmed. Take your time and really look at what affects your sleep problems, and always try to keep a strong dialogue with your doctor. You can read on to learn about treatment options here.

Updated on: 04/14/15
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Other Causes of Insomnia