Back Pain Keeps Me Awake, And I Am Not Alone In This
Last updated: November 2020
If there is a battle I wage daily, that’s the one involving slumber and my levels of physical pain. In fact, rarely ever does sleeping come easy to me. I am a bit of a fidgeter, always waking up on the wrong side of my bed, with my headscarf around my ankles. On top of this, my anxiety regularly gifts me with an overworking brain when my body is begging for sleep. As of late, there is another sleep disruptor: my back pain.
How does my back pain feel
My back pain seems to radiate from the lower part of my spine, upwards. It sometimes involves my hip, and, if I attempt to sleep on my side, my thigh. Sleeping on my back never seems to work, and attempting to do so on my stomach worsens the lower back pain. The truth is that when I am awoken by my back pain, it is almost near impossible for me to feel comfortable again. Didn't I say I was a fidgeter?
Endometriosis-related back pain
Back pain is very common among endometriosis patients, and it’s a key sleep-disruptor. When we reached out on the Endometriosis.net Facebook page, sleep disruption due to physical pain proved to be a popular topic. We asked: “Do you suffer from sleep disruptions due to endometriosis?” and our community dutifully responded. Reading through everyone's answers, I felt relieved: It isn't just me, and there are things I can do about it.
This is what some of you said:
“Yes definitely, I have to take a pill to sleep and still wake up with hip pain back pain”
“I have to take pain meds before bed as well as use a heating pad. Still wake up every 2-3 hours. Sometimes it’s from my abdomen, sometimes it’s from my back and sciatic pain”
What to do when physical pain disrupts our sleep
In my case, keeping my fitness levels in check helps. If my core muscles are strong, they will relieve my lower back from taking all the strain during the day, when I am standing, or sitting. Yoga poses that target the psoas and the piriformis, with plenty of torsions, help limit the pain around my hips and thighs.
Additionally, doing some gentle stretching before I go to bed tends to set me for a restful night. If I can address the pain before I go to sleep, it is less likely I will be awoken by it. If by the time I'm horizontal the pain is relentless, a heating pad will provide me with much-needed relief.
Our community also had their fair share of tips:
“I find sleeping with a pillow between my legs will sometimes help.”
“I found CBD gummies help me. And Tylenol extra strength.”
For the past week, I've slept with a pillow between my legs, and it has definitively helped. I have also started taking CBD oil too. CBD is a cannabis compound, extracted from the plant. It leaves out the THC element, which is what can cause psychoactive effects. It is believed to have anti-inflammatory and anti-anxiety properties. Before taking any CBD is worth discussing it with a doctor, and checking whether it's legal where we live. In the UK, Europe, and many states in the US, it is.
The fact that some of you were taking some form of pain-relief, reminded me that I don't have to just lie there and put up with whatever discomfort I'm in. Hearing the community talk about back pain helped me realize that there are strategies that I may have not thought of, but that I should probably try.
My back pain is not something that will evaporate into thin air, and never bother me again. It is a side of endometriosis that will require constant management, and regular tweaking, just like the disease itself. Thankfully, as long as there is a resourceful community behind me, there will be no end to the list of things that can bring me relief, and proper sleep.
Which symptoms are you experiencing the most this week? (Check all that apply):