Sleep is a vital component of our overall well-being, and its impact extends beyond rest and rejuvenation. Did you know that improving your sleep quality can also have a profound effect on pain management? In this blog post, we will explore the fascinating relationship between sleep and pain, and how myotherapy can play a significant role in improving both. Discover how prioritising sleep and incorporating myotherapy techniques can help you find relief from chronic pain and enhance your overall quality of life.
Research has shown a strong link between sleep disturbances and increased pain sensitivity. Lack of quality sleep can lower the pain threshold, intensify pain perception, and lead to a heightened state of discomfort. Conversely, improved sleep can alleviate pain and enhance the body's ability to manage pain perception effectively. During sleep, the body undergoes essential restorative processes, including tissue repair, hormone regulation, and pain modulation. Disruptions in these processes can contribute to the development and persistence of chronic pain conditions.
Myotherapists address musculoskeletal pain and dysfunction every day, and one of the most common factors we see in long term persisting pain patients is that their sleep is impacted by pain. For some patients its trouble getting to sleep and finding a comfortable position, for others its being woken up throughout the night due to pain and needing to reposition. Its also important to recognise that for a lot of people in pain, even if they fall asleep and stay asleep, they can struggle to get to the deeper, restful stages of sleep, and they can then have difficulty waking up and can experience heavy fatigue.
When it comes to pain management and sleep improvement, myotherapy offers several valuable benefits:
Pain Relief: Myotherapists employ various techniques such as deep tissue massage, trigger point therapy, and myofascial release to alleviate pain and tension in muscles and soft tissues. These treatments help reduce inflammation, release endorphins, and promote relaxation, leading to improved pain management and quality of sleep.
Muscle Relaxation: Chronic pain often results in muscle tightness and stiffness, further disrupting sleep. Myotherapy techniques help release muscle tension and promote relaxation, enabling you to achieve a more comfortable and restful sleep. Relaxed muscles also facilitate better blood flow and nutrient delivery to the tissues, aiding in the healing process.
Stress Reduction: Chronic pain can cause stress and anxiety, which can negatively impact sleep quality. Myotherapy incorporates relaxation techniques, such as gentle stretches and breathing exercises to reduce stress levels. By promoting a state of relaxation, myotherapy can help improve sleep and break the cycle of pain-stress-sleep disruption.
Muscular Imbalances: Musculoskeletal imbalances can contribute to pain and discomfort, especially in people who have repetitive daily activities, or people who need to spend long periods of time in certain positions or postures. Myotherapists assess and correct muscular imbalances through targeted exercises and muscular retraining. By addressing these underlying issues, myotherapy helps improve alignment, relieve pain, and enhance sleep quality.
Individualised Treatment Plans: Our myotherapists provide personalised treatment plans based on your specific needs. We consider factors such as your pain condition, sleep patterns, and lifestyle to develop a comprehensive approach. This tailored treatment approach ensures that your unique sleep and pain management goals are addressed, increasing the likelihood of successful outcomes.
Sleep Routine Suggestions: We're experienced in helping create goals and plans for our patients, including setting up lifestyle routines that optimise your health. We can discuss your sleep routine with you, and consider factors like your mattress, pillow, which way you sleep, bedroom climate, factors like snoring (either your own snoring or a partners snoring!), relaxation techniques like using a sleep meditation or light background music, timing your sleep cycle to ensure you get enough rest.
Improving your sleep quality can significantly enhance pain relief and contribute to an overall improved quality of life. The interplay between sleep and pain is complex, but by prioritising sleep and seeking the expertise of a myotherapist, you can unlock the healing potential of restorative sleep. Through techniques like pain relief, muscle relaxation, stress reduction, and muscular imbalance correction, myotherapy can play a crucial role in managing pain and optimising sleep. Remember, a restful night's sleep is not only a luxury but an essential component of pain management. Embrace the power of sleep and explore the benefits of myotherapy to find relief from chronic pain and regain control of your well-being.
Don't be afraid to talk with our myotherapists about your sleep patterns and habits, we are here to help and we see people every week who find improvement in their pain through improving their sleep. Book a time with us or phone our clinic on 03 8204 0970.
By Peter Pascalis, Clinical Myotherapist
When joints become stiff and sore we can be very aware of them. Standing from a chair can make us feel like we've aged 30 years. It can feel hard to do the most basic of things, like just straightening or bending your knee or elbow. We can feel a sharp jabbing sensation somewhere in our neck, our back, or any other affected joint.
Joint dysfunction can alter muscle patterns, often creating compensations which cause further stress on neighbouring tissues, and changes to our ability to sense our body in space.
So what can we do about it?
In order for joints to move nicely on each other a certain degree of motion must be available or we end up with faulty motion and the potential for pain, inflammation, scar tissue, and overly worked soft tissue. The assessment of these joint movements requires the clinician to observe active and passive range of motion (termed as physiological and accessory motion) which are the small movements we cannot consciously control but which must exist to ensure the congruency and optimal function of joint surfaces.
A reduction in joint glide or slide can cause dysfunction of the musculoskeletal system often leading to pain and stiffness, not to mention more serious pathology like a disc herniation and chronic pain may be a result of ongoing joint issues.
In our clinical experience it is common to find these faulty joints often termed as hypomobile, meaning that they move less than other joints above or below them.
Hypomobility will increase the tension on adjacent joints making the inert tissues such as ligaments prone to stretch. This micro trauma can initiate an inflammatory response with scarring of tissue and further reduction of movement and pain. Due to the close proximity of spinal nerves, muscles and body systems can be affected often with increases in painful areas.
Mobilisations are graded in 4 stages which correspond to the amount of movement and force applied by the treating practitioner. The assessment of movement and pain precedes an informed decision to mobilise joints and this must be agreed to by the client. Grades 1 & 2 are used to reduce pain and grades 3 & 4 to increase mobility.
Is a mobilisation the same as when a Chiropractor cracks your joints?
What sets mobilisations apart from high velocity thrust manipulations (the 'cracking" of the joints) is that manipulations are produced by progressing beyond the physiological limit of a joint range whereas all 4 grades of mobilisation are within the range of the joint. This is why a pop is heard during a Chiropractic manipulation, which is the release of gases from the joint surface. Both mobilisation and manipulation have similar physiological effects on joint movement and soft tissue responses and are carried out by professionally trained clinicians.
As Myotherapists we are trained and insured to perform all 4 grades of mobilisations.
Joint mobilisation can reduce sensitivity to painful stimuli and changes to the sympathetic nervous system. For a more in depth understanding of the physiological and neurological effects of joint mobilisations please refer to the blog titled I’m In Pain: How Can Myotherapy Help?
When pain reduction and improvements of movement have been achieved another technique called Mobilisation With Movement (MWM) developed by Physiotherapist Brian Mulligan can further create pain free movement in the most restricted movement, meaning that the movement which causes restriction can be directly targeted with accessory glides whilst the patient performs the action. These are generally pain free and improvements can be seen instantaneously. The benefits of such a treatment is that patients can see and feel the immediate improvements in range and further progress can be achieved with sports taping to support the new range. Although mobilisations and mobilisations with movement are preferably performed on skin these techniques can certainly be effective for patients that prefer to be fully clothed for their treatment. The treatment belt is used for stabilisation during treatment and to mobilise the patient while movement occurs.
As mentioned earlier a thorough assessment is performed to identify the hypomobile joints however sometimes we can also find joints that are moving more than would be ideal - these are termed hypermobile joints.
Hypermobile joints have the opposite problem, they have too much freedom to move and this can cause muscular pain as your muscles work overtime to stabilise the joint. For this type of joint problem we would prescribe exercises rather than increasing mobility at an already hypermobile joint.
Mobilisations and MWM’s are a couple of wonderful treatment techniques underpinned by extensive research and clinical efficacy which are used to improve pain and function.
Book with me for a thorough assessment and treatment plan for your joint pain, whether its stiff achy hypomobile joints or sore fatigued and over worked muscles stabilising a hypermobile joint. I'm available Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, and you can make an appointment with me online or phone the clinic on 03 8204 0970 to book in.
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