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How to Beat Muscle Pain

Andrea S.


How to Beat Muscle Pain

We all have been there where we’re in so much pain, all we want to do is find the nearest comfy bed and crawl into it. The only thing on our mind is to make the pain go away.

Every one of us has a fueling desire to sleep away pain, whether we’re feeling it in our back, neck, legs and shoulders. We can’t hope the pain we feel at night magically goes away without finding the source or cause of pain we feel. Whether it’s from a sore lower back or throbbing in your thigh or leg, muscle pain is hard enough to deal with especially during your everyday life.

The question is why does muscle pain hurt more at night? When does the pain kick into high gear? We feel that going to sleep is not even an option, but we feel more pain as we lie tossing in bed with our muscles tensed just begging for the pain to stop. We want to sleep, but the constant pain we feel of our muscles in our bodies is hard because we’re in agony all the time.

Here are some signs that will distinguish how we can beat muscle pain while making sure we’re getting enough sleep.

Underlying the cause of muscle pain

The obvious cause of muscle pain or soreness is physical activity. From professional to recreational athletes, muscle soreness is natural. For that type of pain, sleep is the best medicine. With lower core body temperatures, our bodies release growth hormones to help increase recovery and improve performance.

“Research shows that with muscle pain, there is an automatic arousal in the brain during sleep," according to a study done by WebMD. The lack of a good night’s sleep makes people with muscle pain wake up feeling drained and burnout. The result of the pain we feel is the body can’t properly recuperate from the constant stress we undergo during the day — all of which overwhelms our bodies, creating a great sensitivity to pain. Preparing for your day with a good night’s sleep is incredibly important because it has the potential to lower your risk of injury.

Get into an excellent sleeping position to ease the pain

Have you ever rolled out of bed, feeling intense or sharp in your leg or lower back? Well, you’re definitely not alone. Finding the right position can be the most difficult task to do to try avoiding pain during sleep.

Twisting and turning to find a comfortable spot is normal, Dr. Schaefer says, but even the slightest twinge of pain can disrupt your rest. He recommends you start out sleeping on your side – avoiding a sore shoulder if you have one – with a pillow between your legs. Try to avoid lying flat on your back.

Side-sleeping won’t work for all for pain in your shoulders, though. Minimize that discomfort by wrapping your arm in a bandage or wearing a sling to bed. It will keep your arm immobile and prevent you from sleeping with your arm in an awkward position.

Checking your mattress or pillow at night

When you’re feeling sore, a little stiff, or in massive pain upon waking up especially in the middle of the night, the first place to look for answers is your bed—specifically, your mattress and pillow. Remember: sleep is a performance activity. For example, if you go hiking or running in shoes that don’t properly fit, you’d probably finish the hike or run in some pain. The same idea applies to sleep.

According to Michael Breus, your mattress needs to supply you with both support and comfort. A supportive mattress:

  • holds your entire body, without sinking at the hips
  • allows relief and comfort at pressure points, including the knees, hips, shoulders, and head
  • lets your muscles relax throughout the body, especially at your back 

You must keep in mind your comfort preferences are likely to change due to all sorts of reasons of age, weight or even height.

What does your pillow do for you? It aligns your cervical spine (that’s the part of the spine that’s in your neck), so there is no bend or muscle tightness in your neck while you sleep, according to Michael Breus. A pillow that is too thick or too thin will put your cervical spine out of alignment. That’s likely to lead to neck pain and upper back pain.

The easiest way to tell if a pillow is providing you support is to lie down in your sleeping position and have a friend or bed partner see if your head and neck are in alignment. A pillow also needs to provide comfort, as well as support. The comfort of your pillow is a subjective measurement that is yours to determine. Your pillow needs to feel good.