Why is nerve pain worse at night?

Young woman having difficulty sleeping due to nerve pain.

Stop for a minute and think about the last time you had a good night’s rest. Has it been a day? Maybe two or three? Has it been a week since you had a restful night sleep without any burning or stabbing pain keeping you up?

It can seem like living with chronic nerve pain is a never-ending merry-go-round of discomfort. With a constant struggle during the day, why does it seem to flare up at night?

Let’s take a closer look at why pain comes in droves when the sun comes down.

Fewer Distractions

There are no meetings, phone calls, after-school events or errands to run when it’s time to go to bed. Instead, it’s just you, the bed and your thoughts. You become more aware of your surroundings. You notice your body is hurting more in the hands or feet that cause you to concentrate on the pain.

The brain becomes concerned with the nerve pain rather than simply shutting off and falling asleep. You may even find your bed sheets to be a culprit when it comes to fueling the pain. Almost as if the bed sheets themselves are stabbing you.

            What should you do?

Visualize something you love. It can be your favorite food, a dream vacation or the ones you love.  Rather than focusing on the pain you feel or the focus to close your eyes, simply visualize a more positive picture.  

Cooler Temperatures

Who doesn’t love the cool night air? Perhaps everyone suffering with chronic nerve pain. When the temperature drops, your perception of pain often shifts. This perception can cause pain.

Here’s why.

Your peripheral nerves that signal to your brain whether it’s cold or hot can also send pain signals. When your nerves are damaged, your brain may translate the change in cooler temperature to feelings of tingling, sharp or burning pain. Cooler temperatures tend to make your heart beat slower, causing blood flow to move slower.

            What should you do?

If you’re living in California, you may want to wait for the heat wave to turn down before adding additional blankets to your bed. But remember, additional blankets maybe a simple, first option when cooler temperatures arise.

Stressful Nights

Emotional and physical stress on the body can cause additional pain. Whether it’s rigorous exercise or stress from a long work day can take a toll on the body. You might find that when you’re ready to go to bed, the body is still recovering from the stress of the day. Emotional stress can take a toll on your back and stomach. If you’re feeling sore, give your body a rest.

            What should you do?

Consider alternating your physical routines from every day to every other. To help relieve emotional stress, consider a 10-minute walk. It’s important to listen to your body and identify the time to keep moving versus giving your body a much-needed rest.

Take one night at a time

It’s easier said than done to not think about the pain. The goal is to try. You have the ability to rethink how you perceive pain. It will take some time and effort, but it’s worth it.

Tonight, before you go to bed, turn off the television, lights and all electronic devices. Take deep breaths in and visualize something wonderful. Let’s try to shut off the brain and calm the body for a peaceful night’s rest. 

Are you suffering from nerve pain?

If you have developed peripheral neuropathy induced by diabetes, chemotherapy or other causes we offer a breakthrough treatment that can help you.

Loma Linda University Health offers a proven physical therapy treatment technique called Intraneural Facilitation or INF.™ See immediate results after your first session and join thousands of patients experiencing significant or complete relief.

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