Back problems and insomnia

Having back problems of any kind can really interfere with your sleep – it's not just the pain, it's the fact that you often have to adopt new sleeping positions, etc.

Back problems can in some ways be as isolating as insomnia. So how about a place where those of us with both can swap tips and advice, and find specific support?

Posted 25 Mar 2013 at 10:21 AM
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  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Coco man,

    I am so sorry to read of your struggles against pain. Like you, I damaged my back quite badly at work but I did not enter a worker's compensation claim because I wanted to go to the specialists I thought could help me the most and not the generalist doctor I would be assigned to! My injury in 2009 tore 3 lumbar discs, damaged the facet joints at those levels, and also damaged the nerves going into my left leg. I had sharp, stabbing, knife-like back pains with any tiny movement literally thousands of times a day and night, and tried lots of things for it including epidural and facet joint spinal injections and medication (gabapentin) to soothe the nerves and radiofrequency ablation on the nerves. Nothing helped, I could not sit or stand or lie down and had to work and eat meals literally kneeling … so in desperation I finally asked my doctor to refer me for acupuncture. At the time my acupuncturist (who was also a physical medicine and rehabilitation MD) was able to find the worst spot in my lumbar spine with her needles and she performed deep periosteal stimulation, in which she inserted the acupuncture needles into the bones around the damaged lumbar levels and hooked them up to an electrical stimulation unit. I began to feel a tiny bit of improvement within 5 sessions and over time the sharp stabbing pains stopped! It has been miraculous. I still have sciatica that I have learned to work (and sleep!) around -- I can only sleep on my right side with my left leg up on a pillow to keep pressure off my damaged left hip (another story) -- but this also helps the sciatica.

    There is hope Coco man, for you are most certainly a strong person and a survivor! But I know the dark places our minds can go to when we feel there is no more hope for improvement. All I can say is to keep trying, and do your best to keep hope alive, and perhaps see if you can get a referral to a good acupuncturist in your area.

    I will be thinking of you and sending you love and strength … please do let us know how you get on.

    Flick
    xoxo

  • Sleepio Member

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    Thank you both for your replys. It is reassuring that there is hope. May be ill try the acupuncture to help the pain, my consultant has now booked me in for an op to remove the areas compressing the nurves to help the sciatica and hopfully the other problems, but has nothing for the pain in back itself, I'll surgest to him your idea. The physio didn't work nor excercise as it imflamed the pain. However if what Flick suggests work, it will be back to physio to gain strength. Again thank you Marie Elaine and Flick.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I've just completed session three to start my sleep restrictions….....I'm now laughing (well trying to) as my back went today and to top it, my evening wind down is a walk…..
    I wake up enough in the night for no good reason, let alone with pain due to a bad back…..wish me luck

  • Sleepio Member

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    As I have a titanium lower spine, and titanium discs in neck, I now have a trapped nerve by the lower back titanium. This cause the ZOO from waist down, twitching , bees, guitar strings, it's horrendous but I have chosen not to have a 10th surgery!!!!!! So, Doc said have a couple of shots of whisky as am allergic to all pain meds.!! Essential Oils are good. Mix together
    Black Pepper 4 drops, Hyssop 3 drops, , Eucalyptus 10 drops, , Peppermint 10 drops, Bay 2 drops, Clove 2 drops,and Cedarwood 3 drops.then add a base oil, 30 ml, to those drops and rub in before you go to bed. that's my own concoction having studied them.
    If you need a supplier I have one in Yorkshire.White Rose. Minimum order £75.00….but he's a great guy who runs it.
    francesca-milano@hotmail.com
    Alternate with hot and cold packs too. that's what I do….......Francesca

  • Sleepio Member

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    Poor you…...Know that feeling. The darkest hour is….......

  • Sleepio Member

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    Oh Cocoman…...such a crap life, but it's all how we deal with it. If anyone asks if your an actor, just say yes, we all act, people don't seem to want to know you when you're not well, so you put on a happy face and pretend you are, acting.!!!! All the best…........wrote down below about the oils I personally use, not saying you should, but its what I do…......take care

  • Sleepio Member

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    I've suffered from back pain since 1962. I had a laminectomy in the 1970s which at least alleviated the sciatic pain from my leg – but that was in the days before scans and keyhole surgery and I found the whole experience so brutal I didn't go back to my GP until a couple of years ago, and I don't think more invasive surgery would be a good idea at my age. I am 78.
    Now I have been jumping through the same hoop over and over again.
    Nothing much has changed, see Gp, get xray, referral to physio, get exercises – and don't hear from anyone again.
    Yesterday I lay awake till 5am which is not unusual, the pain is excruciating.
    I have another GP appointment in a fortnight to start the process off again and I just know I'll be fobbed off yet again even though I go with strong intentions of getting some relief from somewhere.
    I need some strong words to persuade her I'm not malingering – anyone any ideas as to what I can say to make her listen?

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi ExD,
    I assume you have told your g.p that you can't sleep with the pain? Have they offered alternative therapies for you? I have back pain but it doesn't keep me awake ,fingers crossed. But I've found the same thing that they just offer physio which takes forever to get an appointment. Ive been waiting for n.h.s physio for a while, and have been offered physio over the phone but nothing else. I've been told to do regular back strengthening excersises but it's not easy when you are in pain.
    All I can suggest is that you plead and maybe break down in front of the g.p to be offered something else, but I don't know what. Wish I could help you.
    I hope you get some better help soon.
    Anna xx

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Cocoman ,
    I just want to say ,my gosh what a lot you have to cope with, I want to wish you some better quality of life
    Sending you some good luck.
    Take care.
    Anna xxx

  • Sleepio Member

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    So, along with my sleep issues, my rotator cuff went out a few months back. The good news is that it's more mobile and functioning, yet the bad news is it permeates in pain each and every night. I am in physical therapy and ice it every night. The challenge is I love sleeping on my right side and can no longer do that. Do any of you have the same issue? I think lifting weights above my head is what slowly caused this injury. Thanks all!

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 2

    I have commenced an acupuncture style therapy for back pain.
    Unfortunately when I tried to get up after 15 minutes of not sleeping it was my extremely painful back when sitting up that got to me and made me very upset.
    Im hoping the acupuncture therapy will help

  • Sleepio Member

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    Years ago I had the same problem with lifting weights over my head. Ended up getting acromiom decompression surgery in both shoulders, a year apart. No more lifting weights overhead, no more pain. I still do shoulder exercises from the physical therapist and can sleep on that preferred side. Except now, it’s the hip. Don’t get old.

  • Sleepio Member

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    I new to this thread… But I had back pains problems a log time and I have gone from a regular mattress to water to a (2) Foam to a what I have now a Hybrid.

    When ever I sleep on my back for more than an hour I wind up with pain in my lower back that does not go away for sometime..

    The other pain I have is my shoulder pain, this is because I sleep on my side all the time.

  • Sleepio Member

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    When sleeping on my back, I find that a pillow under my knees is very helpful. For shoulder pain, try physical therapy exercises. If that doesn’t help, steroid injections, and surgery as a last resort. I had to go so far as surgery, and still do the physical therapy exercises. They do help. Must do them 3 times a week.

  • Sleepio Member

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    It's been a long time since anyone posted here, but I'd like to add my own tips. I have chronic back pain. I'm currently having a bad flare-up and awaiting physiotherapy. Anywya, my whole back hurts, but my biggest problem is my lower back. After trying multiple types of exercise, I've found yoga very helpful to release the muscles on my gluts and the back of my legs, where the pain travels. And my biggets life saviour has always been an electrical heated pad. I sometimes fall asleep on top of it if my lower back hurts while lying on my back (if I only sleep on my side, it hurts more). I used to sleep with a pillow between my knees and it helped for a few years, but then it appeared to make it worse. It's different for everyone. Personally, my back needs to move a lot during the night, same as during the day. But the heat really helps. And as posh as yoga might sound, there are lots of videos online where the teachers don't go into chakras and meridians and 10 minutes of yoga every night in my living room has really made a difference to my pain management. I hope this helps someone. :-)

  • Sleepio Member

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    No solutions …just that getting up for the QHR makes it worse.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 1

    Having back problems for the last few years has added to my insominia. I think I could sleep all night if it wasnt for back pain and having problems getting comfortable. I have started exercising more with what i can do, I think thats helping

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 5

    Have any side sleepers out there got any views about the best type of mattress to avoid hip ache? I'm convinced it's what's waking me up in the night but I find it almost impossible to get to sleep when lying on my back.

  • Sleepio Member

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    Hi Whirla,
    I'm also a side sleeper and used to suffer from hip pain at night. I changed to a Tempur/memory foam mattress about 15 years ago and have not had the pain since, except when sleeping away from home. However the Tempur mattress makes you quite hot in the night so I know some people don't get on with them for that reason.
    Hope you find something that works for you!
    Jarabia

  • Sleepio Member

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    Session 3

    've tried sleeping with botton half of legs elevated with a pillow. might help to relieve the pain over time.

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