woman suffering from back pain in bedroomMany people experience occasional sleep disruptions, often due to certain lifestyle factors. You may be feeling stressed or consumed too much caffeine before bed but the relationship between spine health and sleep quality is important to consider.

Specifically, back pain can affect how soon you fall and stay asleep. People with chronic pain are less likely to stay asleep all night or may suffer from insomnia. In turn, lack of restorative sleep worsens back pain and continues to alter sleep quality.

Here’s what you should know about the effects of chronic back pain on a good night’s sleep.

What Is Insomnia?

A restless night does not automatically signal that you have insomnia. From a diagnostic perspective, this sleep disorder is characterized by:

  • Difficulty falling asleep
  • Waking up too early and being unable to fall back asleep
  • Poor quality or lack of restful sleep
  • Feeling tired when you wake up, which can affect energy, mood and productivity

Those with insomnia often have at least one other health condition. Based on research from the Institute of Medicine, 64 percent of people currently living with a health condition experience insomnia, with pain affecting sleep quality. Aside from physical discomfort, a condition like depression or anxiety may also be a contributing factor.

Long term, insomnia can aggravate back pain, affect your ability to hold a job or maintain a social life, and increase risk for heart disease, high blood pressure and obesity.

How Back Pain Affects Sleep

Between sleep quality and spinal health, back pain may be the primary source of insomnia and lack of restorative sleep. Factors include:

  • Pain As a Distraction: During the day, you have tasks to focus on that distract you from the pain. Yet when you’re trying to fall asleep, your body is focused solely on the pain. It may also cause you to toss and turn or shift positions to get comfortable.
  • Medication: Certain prescriptions for pain management have been known to alter sleep quality and cause some patients to develop sleep apnea.
  • Lifestyle Changes: Chronic pain sufferers may find they can no longer perform their favorite activities with ease, particularly exercise. Physical inactivity during the day can also affect how well you sleep at night.

What Happens When You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

A study published in SLEEP found that insomnia can increase your sensitivity to pain the next day. Failing to get adequate rest at night blocks the release of growth hormones, which are essential for tissue repair and addressing pain. When the body is unable to repair itself, the central nervous system becomes more sensitive to pain. The next time you go to sleep, the discomfort that was bothering you the night before may seem more intense.

A consistent lack of sleep also has the potential to alter cognitive function and immune response, interrupting the body’s repair process and amplifying pain. As this cycle continues, chronic back pain sufferers experience less deep or intense sleep. In turn, you may wake up feeling less alert, extra stiff or achy and may be fatigued, have lower energy and more prominent pain during the day.

Stress can play a factor too, causing your muscles to tense and result in more discomfort. Unfortunately, less restorative sleep can increase the amount of stress you feel. A lack of sleep can also contribute to inflammation, which further decreases sleep quality and accentuates any back pain you’ve been feeling.

Resting at night allows the muscles surrounding your spine to relax. As this occurs, the discs between each bone in your spine have the opportunity to rehydrate, which improves shock absorption and flexibility. Yet when this process is interrupted, you may notice more pain and stiffness during the day.

Ways to Improve Sleep Quality and Spine Health

While no single solution breaks the cycle, a chiropractor can simultaneously address back pain and spinal issues. We’ll treat the overarching effects of chronic pain through gentle adjustments and sleep deprivation with lifestyle changes. To get started:

  • Think of your bedroom as a place for sleeping only. Avoid watching television, using electronic devices and working in this space.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, do an activity somewhere else in the house that doesn’t involve a screen until you feel tired.
  • Establish a routine schedule for waking up and falling asleep. Avoid daytime napping.
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol before you go to bed, as both can increase restlessness.
  • Assess how well your mattress and pillow support your body. Ideally, they should be firm enough to provide structure but not cause discomfort.
  • Include muscle strengthening in your exercise routine but make sure the moves don’t place additional strain on your back.

Are you ready to experience better sleep? To address your spine health and get to the root of chronic back pain, work with our team at The Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury! To learn more or schedule an appointment, contact us today.

"I lost my cousin (who was also a lifelong best friend) tragically back in November and happened to mention it during an adjustment, and a few days later, I received a handwritten sympathy card from Dr. Joe and the team. Things like that go a long way! I recommend CHCG without reservation."
Maxwell T.
"Such a great experience in understanding and learning how to treat my chronic pain! The office staff is wonderful, informative and empathetic! Dr. D is also invested in making you to your best self! They found a convert here!"
Debby D.
"I absolutely love the care I receive here. I have been coming for the last 3 going on 4 years and my migraines and back pain are gone."
Renee D.
"I still can't say enough good things about Dr. D. and his staff. My level of care remains excellent and Dr. D continues to go above and beyond to take care of my family's health, even helping my daughter find and transition to a new chiropractor when she moved out of state. Truly a practice that cares about its patients!"
Lisa C.
"I have been a patient for over a year and have seen terrific results from my plan of care. I was introduced to the office by a friend after I told him I was having back pain. The staff and doctors have been outstanding. They took some x-rays and ruled out certain things and put me on a plan of care that helped get me straight and pain free. I can't thank them enough."
Matt U.
"If I could give more than five stars, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. The office staff are all very professional and accommodating. There have been several instances where I had to make a last minute change to my appointment - either a cancellation or different time - and the office responded right away to make it happen. Not only this, but my appointments are always quick, yet very efficient. The doctors take their time in addressing my questions and explaining things so that I receive the best possible care."
Zach G.
"This practice has been the only place that got rid of my shoulder pain. Prior I tried an orthopedic and PT with no success. I was told it was just due to getting older. Dr. D doesn’t believe people have to live with pain and helped it go away. To top it all off, you never have to wait long in the waiting room."
Jennifer D.
"The staff at Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury is wonderful. They take time to get to know you, personally. They all always have a smile to greet you with and are genuinely concerned for your comfort and well being. Dr DeFrancesco truly wants to make sure you understand your issues with your body and he takes time to explain what those are."
Daniela P.
"I started adjustments for neck, back, and tailbone pain and at the end of the 10 weeks the pain was completely gone. Dr. Wade is kind, funny, and very good at what he does. He brings positive energy into the office every single day and is in a good mood 100% of the time."
Cassandra K.
"I lost my cousin (who was also a lifelong best friend) tragically back in November and happened to mention it during an adjustment, and a few days later, I received a handwritten sympathy card from Dr. Joe and the team. Things like that go a long way! I recommend CHCG without reservation."
Maxwell T.
"I strained my lower back a month prior to an Ironman race. I was unable to sleep, walk or sit, never mind continue training as planned. The entire office staff is beyond kind, caring, professional and runs extremely smooth. I was explained every step and procedure, along with a patient education class that really helped me understand what was wrong with my back and steps to fix it. Dr Wade was able to get me sleeping, walking and able to compete in my triathlon. 5 stars for many reasons and would highly recommend."
Dylan H.
"I lost my cousin (who was also a lifelong best friend) tragically back in November and happened to mention it during an adjustment, and a few days later, I received a handwritten sympathy card from Dr. Joe and the team. Things like that go a long way! I recommend CHCG without reservation."
Maxwell T.
"Best chiropractor in town!!! This office is amazing and always there when you need them! I’ve been a patient of Dr. D for over 25 years can’t say enough about him...you won’t be disappointed!"
Amy W.
"My whole family goes to Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury. My other half has been getting adjustments for years and he has been the driving force for the family to get checked out. He says since he has been coming here, if his back has any issues or is out, it seems to get better much faster than ever before. If you've had any problems with your back, you'll know that speaks volumes. We trust this group!"
Maggie P.
"Dr. Wade and the front office staff are fantastic. The office is friendly and super efficient. I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes to be seen. Dr. Wade got my back feeling better. I’m feeling healthier and have much more energy."
Corey M.
"I lost my cousin (who was also a lifelong best friend) tragically back in November and happened to mention it during an adjustment, and a few days later, I received a handwritten sympathy card from Dr. Joe and the team. Things like that go a long way! I recommend CHCG without reservation."
Maxwell T.
"Such a great experience in understanding and learning how to treat my chronic pain! The office staff is wonderful, informative and empathetic! Dr. D is also invested in making you to your best self! They found a convert here!"
Debby D.
"Our family has been clients since 1994 and since 2005, we have been one of his long distance clients moving to New Hampshire! We have continued with monthly adjustments as he is truly The Best of The Best!"
Skip G.
"I strained my lower back a month prior to an Ironman race. I was unable to sleep, walk or sit, never mind continue training as planned. The entire office staff is beyond kind, caring, professional and runs extremely smooth. I was explained every step and procedure, along with a patient education class that really helped me understand what was wrong with my back and steps to fix it. Dr Wade was able to get me sleeping, walking and able to compete in my triathlon. 5 stars for many reasons and would highly recommend."
Dylan H.
"The single greatest team of professionals I’ve ever met and worked with. From the moment you step in, Brooke is absolutely wonderful and always so accommodating with scheduling and brings so much cheer to the office. Dr. Wade is a phenomenal doctor and completely transformed my back after a work related injury that showed underlying spinal conditions. I now am pain free in my day to day activities and back to my normal active lifestyle. Couldn’t recommend this practice enough to anyone and everyone."
Alexis F.
"They are not only extremely professional and helpful but genuinely care about your well being! In addition, the group is very supportive of the community. I love that they partnered with We Are the Children to donate thousands of dollars worth of toys.
Jocelyn D.
"I started adjustments for neck, back, and tailbone pain and at the end of the 10 weeks the pain was completely gone. Dr. Wade is kind, funny, and very good at what he does. He brings positive energy into the office every single day and is in a good mood 100% of the time."
Cassandra K.
"I love Dr. D and his great staff. I have been going to him for about 16 years and I would gladly recommend him to anyone looking for a chiropractor. He has helped me immeasurably."
Lelaneia D.
"Best chiropractor in town!!! This office is amazing and always there when you need them! I’ve been a patient of Dr. D for over 25 years can’t say enough about him...you won’t be disappointed!"
Amy W.
"The administrative staff and practitioners are all friendly, capable, efficient, and very responsive. In addition, Dr. Keith Wade is knowledgeable, passionate about his craft, patient and thorough in answering questions. As a direct result of all that, my low back, ankles an knees feel much better, I am in less pain, and I am less afraid that my back will keep hurting or "going out." I am very grateful."
Malinda B.
"Dr DeFrancesco is the best. I can’t say enough good things about him. He is a genuine and caring person. It is his help that has allowed me to continue to go to work every day and provide for my family. The staff is always super accommodating and pleasant to deal with. I have never received an attitude. When Dr DeFrancesco is not available, I am fortunate that he leaves me in the talented hands of Dr Wade and Dr LeFavor."
Robert Z.
"They are not only extremely professional and helpful but genuinely care about your well being! In addition, the group is very supportive of the community. I love that they partnered with We Are the Children to donate thousands of dollars worth of toys.
Jocelyn D.
"I love Dr. D and his great staff. I have been going to him for about 16 years and I would gladly recommend him to anyone looking for a chiropractor. He has helped me immeasurably."
Lelaneia D.
"I started adjustments for neck, back, and tailbone pain and at the end of the 10 weeks the pain was completely gone. Dr. Wade is kind, funny, and very good at what he does. He brings positive energy into the office every single day and is in a good mood 100% of the time."
Cassandra K.
"If I could give more than five stars, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. The office staff are all very professional and accommodating. There have been several instances where I had to make a last minute change to my appointment - either a cancellation or different time - and the office responded right away to make it happen. Not only this, but my appointments are always quick, yet very efficient. The doctors take their time in addressing my questions and explaining things so that I receive the best possible care."
Zach G.
"I have been a patient for over a year and have seen terrific results from my plan of care. I was introduced to the office by a friend after I told him I was having back pain. The staff and doctors have been outstanding. They took some x-rays and ruled out certain things and put me on a plan of care that helped get me straight and pain free. I can't thank them enough."
Matt U.
"If I could give more than five stars, I wouldn't hesitate to do so. The office staff are all very professional and accommodating. There have been several instances where I had to make a last minute change to my appointment - either a cancellation or different time - and the office responded right away to make it happen. Not only this, but my appointments are always quick, yet very efficient. The doctors take their time in addressing my questions and explaining things so that I receive the best possible care."
Zach G.
"Dr. D has been providing an integrative approach to the health and well being of my family for over 25 years. He is not only a highly skilled practitioner, but is a compassionate and caring person, not only to his patients but to the community.
Susan K.
"I felt heard, taken care of, treated with kindness and respect. Wonderful positive experience. A very welcoming office and staff. Definitely a five star establishment!"
Beth M.
"I have been a patient for over a year and have seen terrific results from my plan of care. I was introduced to the office by a friend after I told him I was having back pain. The staff and doctors have been outstanding. They took some x-rays and ruled out certain things and put me on a plan of care that helped get me straight and pain free. I can't thank them enough."
Matt U.
"I'm a very active individual and lower back pain was getting in the way of activities I love. While my back is still a work in progress, the time spent with Dr. D has been well worth it. I just ran 2 marathons in 2 weeks and these sessions helped me run these races with no back pain."
Matt from mission FITNESS
"Been going to The Chiropractic Health Center of Glastonbury for over 5 years and it is always been a great, safe and welcoming experience! Cannot recommend it enough."
Olivia M.
"I started going to Dr. D when my orthopedic doctor recommended him for whiplash. I had always been skeptical of chiro services, but Dr. D and his associates are wonderful. They've kept me pain free for years now, as I have monthly adjustments to ensure good health now and in the future. I highly recommend Dr. D."
Maureen W.
"Dr. Wade and the front office staff are fantastic. The office is friendly and super efficient. I have never had to wait more than 10 minutes to be seen. Dr. Wade got my back feeling better. I’m feeling healthier and have much more energy."
Corey M.
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