Nurse who suffers chronic tailbone pain

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I am a Registered Nurse who has suffered with tailbone pain for over 8 years. Like all chronic pain, it is essential that sufferers get the correct support, diagnosis and treatment appropriate for them as an individual. This blog follows my journey with chronic pain, it expresses my personal opinions and thoughts. It is not intended as a replacement for advice or treatment from your normal Healthcare Provider.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Struggling today

I am struggling today. I'm not sure whether this is because I had a bad nights sleep, or whether it's just a flare up. But my piriformis is so sore.

“Pain and sleep are integrally connected,” ..... “Chronic pain is very common in the population and even more common in people who have poor sleep, and it sort of becomes a vicious cycle.” Pain affects your ability to sleep, and the lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse.

WebMD Sleep-pain-sleep

I used my heat pad to help me get to sleep last night, but woke in a sweat- no surprises there. But without my heat pad I struggle to get to sleep. I got back to sleep ok, but woke after I had a bad (very bad) dream. It took me at least an hour to get back to sleep. Then the sleep I got was not a restful sleep, and I awoke early.

I feel I do the right things prior to bedtime, although being a Friday night I did drink half a bottle of wine. Regardless of alcohol though I do not sleep well.

  • I try not to look at my phone or ipad before bed.
  • I do not drink caffeine.
  • I do not have large meals before bedtime.
  • I have a memory foam mattress which is as comfortable as I imagine a mattress can be.
  • The room is a good temperature (apart from my heat pad I suppose- but without that I could not get to sleep either).
  • I exercise regularly.
  • I don't nap in the day (I wish!)
  • My bedroom is dark.
  • I am also taking my 10mg of Nortriptylline every night, 2 hours before bed, which is meant to help.
'Sleep hygiene'

As I have mentioned in previous blogs poor sleep can result in worsening of pain symptoms. Poor sleep is common with many diseases and disorders, including fibromyalgia and including chronic pain. If we are in pain, how will we get a good nights sleep? At best it is a broken, unrefreshing sleep.

It's a vicious cycle - Pain affects our ability to sleep, and poor sleep makes pain worse. Studies also claim that poor sleep can stop analgesia working as effectively as it would in someone who sleeps well.

It is sometimes hard to know what is the culprit. Is the pain causing your poor sleep, or is the poor sleep making the pain seem worse? Sleep deprivation certainly magnifies pain, makes us less tolerant of it. Getting a good nights sleep may be all it takes to reduce your pain, or at least be able to cope with your pain better.

I know I'm 'crabby' today because of my pain, and because of a poor nights sleep. I know that this in turn is probably amplifying my pain.

So, I'm off out for a walk soon with my husband, and possibly a drink and a meal out. I will try and find comfortable seats upon which to sit wherever I end up. I will also try to not drink too much alcohol, although for me it does help with pain relief. I certainly would not advocate drinking alcohol, and am aware this can be a vicious circle; it may help with my pain at the time, but then I'll not sleep well and this whole cycle starts again.

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