Does the position you sleep in make your pain worse? I've always been a side sleeper, but not anymore.
I have chronic pain from fibromyalgia and about half a dozen other conditions, including a type of autoimmune arthritis (spondyloarthropathy.) For the past several months, I've had hip pain that's cost me untold hours of sleep, restricted my productivity, and even had me carrying a cane everywhere in case I needed it.
I've tried stretching it, strengthening it, massaging it, babying it, etc., and it just kept getting worse. Even on the days when it wasn't too bad, it would start killing me as soon as I laid down to sleep.
Then we went on vacation and I spent a few nights in a strange bed. Oddly enough, I had less hip pain, and it didn't hurt more when I laid down. I thought I might need a different mattress, but I have a fairly new memory foam one that feels good otherwise - it doesn't aggravate the allodynia-prone area around my waist, and it doesn't bother my bad shoulder. My husband has chronic back problems, and he's really happy with the bed.
Then, one day I was rubbing the kinks out of my neck and shoulders and cursing myself for rolling onto my back so often at night. My thick, firm, side-sleeper pillow is really not meant for laying on your back! I said something about my neck hurting worse than my hip, then realized my hip actually was doing pretty well.
And then I had a moment of realization - the bed was hurting my hip, and I was rolling onto my back more and more. Huh. Maybe, in my sleep, I was finding a position that felt better.
For the past few nights, I've tossed my side-sleeper pillow and body pillow off the bed, rolled up a blanket for neck support, and spent the whole night on my back. My hip is so much better that went to the mall today, after the grocery store, and left my cane in my purse! Even after all of that, right now I'd rate my hip as moderately uncomfortable. It's better than it's been in months.
I know that with fibromyalgia, sometimes whatever part is against the mattress is going to be in the most pain. In that case, you just have to change positions every now and then to alleviate it, and start the pain growing somewhere else. But if you're like me and you have structurally impaired body parts that consistently hurt when you lay down, or in the morning, it might be worth exploring different sleep positions.
Does laying down escalate your pain? Have you found relief by trying a different position? What helps you get comfortable in bed? Leave your comments below!
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Photo © Adam Gault