Insomnia and Chronic Pain
Insomnia is when you don’t sleep through the night. Virtually every night. For some people stress from the day can bring it on. For others, they’ll often blame it on their poor mattress or pillow. Chronic pain patients? They have a pretty good reason. Spinal pain, neck pain, fibromyalgia, and other chronic pain conditions are often the cause for insomnia. Problems can range from difficulty falling asleep to difficulty staying asleep; in turn causing heightened pain and worsening sleep.

So why can it be so difficult to sleep?

Most people will eliminate distractions in order to relax and fall asleep, including things such as turning off lights, making it quiet and getting comfortable. However, those suffering from chronic pain can feel that this quiet environment only makes the pain “louder” and in many cases, the perception of the pain, not necessarily the actual pain, increases when trying to fall asleep.

Additionally, opioid pain medications can disrupt sleep and prevent patients from entering deep sleep after as little as one dose. Opioid pain medications can also cause sleep-related breathing disturbances.

At Michigan Pain Consultants, we understand that treating pain and insomnia requires a multidisciplinary team approach with help from different medical specialists. For example: Prescribing certain pain medications can improve sleep for patients who have both a sleep disorder and a specific pain disorder.

How can I get a good night’s rest if I don’t want special medication?

The following advice has been given to patients for years from doctors all over the nation, including the Cleveland Clinic, an Academic Medical Center in Cleveland Ohio:
The standard guidelines for good “sleep hygiene” are as follows:

  • Use the bed and bedroom for sleep and sex only. Avoid sleep-incompatible behaviors in the bed, including reading, watching TV or worrying.
  • Go to bed only when sleepy
  • If unable to sleep within 15-20 minutes of getting in bed, get up and go into another room. Return to bed only when sleepy again. (Repeat if necessary.)
  • Maintain a regular wake time regardless of the amount of sleep that night
  • Avoid naps during the day
  • Watch caffeine and alcohol intake
  • Exercise, but don’t do it within a couple hours of bedtime

Reducing stress during the day

Overall, during the day, practicing relaxation skills can help you to better manage stress. Breathing exercises, progressive muscle relaxation, visual imagery, and meditation are some of the techniques that can help you center yourself and approach your day from a calmer, more balanced and less stressful place. Try to avoid loud noises, having too many obligations on your to-do list, negative-thinking people, and overall poor health habits. Reducing your stress during the day may help you sleep better at night.

Contact Michigan Pain Consultants Today

Talk with the professionals at Michigan Pain Consultants today about combatting your everyday pain with better sleep. We can help you with various exercise, dietary, and other wellness programs to fit your lifestyle.

Make an appointment for a new patient consultation with one of our board certified pain physicians. All of Michigan Pain Consultant’s physicians are Board Certified in Anesthesiology or Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and have advanced training and experience in Pain Medicine. You can begin first by visiting online at,, or by calling them at (800)281-3237.

With six locations throughout West Michigan, Michigan Pain Consultants comprehensive interdisciplinary approach to pain care offers patients and providers renewed hope for relief from chronic pain. Chronic pain should be treated like other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes, asthma, or congestive heart failure. Chronic pain requires chronic treatment. The goal of the treatment is to optimize the management of the pain, as opposed to curing the pain.