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Day 10 Does sleep make your pain go away?

Discussion in 'Structured Educational Program' started by Adventureseeker, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Adventureseeker

    Adventureseeker Peer Supporter

    These last few days I've been wondering about something particular to my situation. I love sleeping and take it very seriously, although I do have nightmares occasionally and disturbing dreams. However, I've lately noticed this: Although I feel pain in various parts of the body during the day, I am never woken up by this pain. Instead, for the first minute after waking up, everything feels perfectly fine. Then, I start thinking whether or not I'm healing or wondering when the pain will come back, and sometimes, without my even moving, something comes back.

    So I'm wondering, could sleep be the only way my muscles are relaxing? Could I be reactivating my mind each time I wake up and telling it that I should be in pain? Has anyone experienced this?

    Thanks in advance for your support!
    Ewok2 and nick like this.
  2. lavendertealatte

    lavendertealatte Peer Supporter

    I love sleeping as well and am not woken up by pain either! Interesting thought.
  3. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Dr. Sarno says we shouldn't monitor our pain, from day to day much less from hour to hour, or upon getting up after a night's sleep. Just try to tell yourself a mantra like: "Today is going to be a great day."

    And remember to be grateful. You should remind yourself that you are not in pain while you're asleep.
    Bodhigirl likes this.
  4. Yinlin

    Yinlin New Member

    I have the same experience Adventureseeker. I have this moment when I wake up, when everything seems fine, and then it sneaks in... Both the pain and the anxiety. I have had shorter pain episodes earlier in my life, long before I kne about this work, where I noticed the same thing. The only pain that will wake me up is neckpain leadig to a migraine. That usually starts in my sleep. Interesting to hear if someone have an explanation to this phenomenon..."pain free for a minute after waking up"
  5. scrat26

    scrat26 New Member

    Morning are the worst for me, it's like as soon as my feet hit the floor, it's there. It has improved since starting the sep, and I've changed my routine so as to get away from the 'conditioning', I now get up, shower, dress and then coffee etc. Before, I would sit for two hours, for the pain to lessen so I could walk and dress myself. I got so in the habit of getting up and sitting around in my dressing gown and wasting half the morning. It was depressing and there were lots of tears too! Use affirmations, ones that don't mention pain. Its hard to catch that first thought as soon as you wake, and turn it positive! As I fall asleep, I tell myself I will sleep well, and wake with no pain, fear or worries. It's helping, still have pain, but not as bad. Have just started working on inner child, and soothing and comforting her.
    All the best.
    lavendertealatte and Yinlin like this.
  6. Gigi

    Gigi Well known member

    Wow! Congrats on your progress, Scrat! That's a pretty dramatic change, both in routine and in your pain levels.tiphata
  7. NWWU

    NWWU New Member

    Your post made me realize that I have not been woken up by pain in the past week, since I started this program. Thank you for helping me see that.
    I wonder if you could come up with a new script for when you wake up? Instead of asking/thinking "whether or not I'm healing or wondering when the pain will come back" ask/say to yourself, "thank you pain for teaching me ___ yesterday. I am ready for the day unfold and see what I will learn today." Or maybe, "Having a great sleep has prepared me to be gentle with myself today." Maybe write it out on a piece of paper and keep it by your bed so that you see it when you wake up. Train your mind to say something nice to yourself, un-train your mind to stop saying mean things to yourself.
  8. Adventureseeker

    Adventureseeker Peer Supporter

    Hi, glad to know this helps, I in fact have managed to remain pain free for longer after I wake up now :). I've also seen good progress in the last week :) Yesterday when my shoulder started hurting while doing some light exercise, and I started talking to it, telling it that it's being ridiculous and that the pain isn't making any sense. It was fine an hour later ! Good luck to all!
  9. Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021)

    Walt Oleksy (RIP 2021) Beloved Grand Eagle

    Before I get out of bed each morning I tell myself it is going to be a good day... one of the best... and that I can handle anything that comes. I do this while deep breathing and it seems to work for me. If I lay in bed I just think or worry about things. Getting up and starting my day distracts me from worries.
  10. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I'm really heartened to see people say how sleep helps and heals them.

    For me sleep is the key. I explain in 'my story' how my recovery only began when I started to sleep like a baby. I heartily endorse David Hanscom's work in this regard. Hanscom's protocol rests upon initially ensuring his patients begin sleeping well because this calms a sensitized nervous system. For me it was the missing link and the start of my healing. Sleep is the one thing that calms a flare-up overnight and continues to be a foundation stone of my healing.

    Sadly too many people think that if Sarno didn't say so it doesn't count. This is not the case and is a terrible self-inflicted nocebo. Recent advances in neuroscience are proving how and why sleep is so powerful and healing for the brain and nervous system.

    Plum x
    Ithantech likes this.
  11. LindenSwole

    LindenSwole Peer Supporter

    My therapist talked about my terrible sleeping habits when we started working together last summer. At the time I was typically getting somewhere between 5.5 and 6.5 hours of sleep per night. I have since quit that job and am getting 8-8.5 (this is the third week of that) and it has been really wonderful.
  12. Ewok2

    Ewok2 Peer Supporter

    Hi Plum,
    Would you mind outlining what Dr. Hanscom recommends regarding sleep? Is it just to get a regular 8hrs or is there more to his protocol? :)
  13. plum

    plum Beloved Grand Eagle

    I trust Dr. Hanscom will indulge me in quoting from his manuscript (which he made freely available before his book was published). This is a snapshot of his protocol, a few paragraphs taken from his book:

    “Instead of looking to surgery as the immediate solution, take a moment to step back and carefully consider your situation. First of all, it’s crucial to recognize the role of the nervous system in chronic pain.

    Sufferers of chronic low back pain commonly experience lack of sleep, anxiety, anger, obsessive negative thoughts and depression. All of these factors combine to sensitive, or “fire up,” your nervous system, magnifying your pain impulses. The more pain you experience, the more the impulses are magnified; and vice versa. It’s a classic vicious cycle.

    Back in Control shows you how to break the cycle of pain by calming down your nervous system. The calming process involves getting more sleep, slowing down your negative thoughts, and working on a vision for how to recover and live a productive life. Once you are more at ease, you’ll be able to better handle physical therapy: your muscles can be manipulated without causing excruciating pain. Next you go more deeply into stress management and handling anxiety and anger on an ongoing basis. Throughout, you share you plan with your doctor so the two of you can work together. Instead of being a passive participant in your care, you are making the decisions and playing an active role in your own health.”



    To review, we’ve discussed that there is first an anatomic/physiologic injury that initiates a pain impulse. When you feel this pain over a period of time, the nervous system becomes sensitized to the pain impulses. Eventually your nervous system will memorize part or all of the pain.

    This sequence is intertwined with another series of events we’ll call the “modifiers.” The modifiers are the sum of the emotional response to the chronic pain. Patients often become anxious, frustrated and angry; they lose sleep and their stress level rises.

    Pain “modifiers” are important to understand because under stress your body chemistry changes. Your stress hormones, including cortisol and adrenaline, become elevated. Adrenaline is the “fight or flight” hormone; when secreted, it causes your heart to race, your blood pressure to go up, and you experience anxiety. Cortisol has more of a chronic effect. It keeps your body hyped up to deal with physical stress.

    As a result, several things happen. Your pain receptors and nervous system now exist in a different chemical environment, even though there’s no physical affliction. What is the ultimate result? Your senses are heightened and you may experience even more pain.

    Your decision-making skills are also affected: that’s why it’s crucial to address the emotional aspect of pain before deciding whether to get surgery.

    The “modifiers” that we’ll discuss are sleep, anxiety, and anger.


    Incorporating sleep into my treatment of pain was my first step in conceiving the DOCC program. I felt I had a whole new weapon that was very effective and simple. I realized that once I was successful in getting my patients to sleep there was always some improvement in their sense of well-being if not also the pain.

    Most patients with chronic pain sleep poorly and are tired during daylight hours. They often feel pain more keenly at night when they have fewer distractions, and a good night’s sleep is difficult to attain. But without sleep, quality of life is compromised and day-to-day stress and pain are difficult to handle. The perception of the pain is altered.

    It was around 1997 that I started to incorporate sleep treatment into my practice. If a patient had an acute problem such as a ruptured disc, I would use sleep medications in addition to pain medications. It was much easier for my patients to wait it out until the disc healed if they were able to sleep. Whenever chronic pain was involved, the results were consistent: over two to four weeks my patient’s mood and coping mechanisms would improve with consistent sleep. If they did not get to sleep, I would aggressively keep switching meds until we found the right treatment. Not sleeping was not an option.

    The first step in the DOCC program is to get at least a month of adequate sleep. It is an integral part of calming down the nervous system. None of the rest of the program is effective unless you are rested. Many adults think they can get by on less than eight hours of sleep, but consider it a minimum. Most people, especially with chronic pain, do not experience a consistent full night’s sleep.

    There was one study done in which female volunteers were measured in terms of the quality of their Stage V sleep, also called REM sleep, for a period of time. This is the stage where the most dreaming takes place. It was discovered that the less amount (and poorer quality) of REM sleep, the higher the sensitivity to pain. (9)

    I had one 50 year-old businessman that had experienced chronic neck pain for almost two years. There was no specific injury. He continued to work as an owner of a small accounting firm but was miserable. Extensive physical therapy had been no help. I started a strong sleep medication, which immediately allowed him to sleep a full night. After two weeks, the medication was still working well and the plan was to then start him on an aggressive physical therapy program. However, by his eight-week visit I was surprised to find he was completely pain free. The power of sleep had never been so apparent.

    Again, my first obligation is to simply get my patients to sleep. Patients argue with me that it is impossible to sleep with the pain. However there are very few situations where the right combination of medications cannot be found to yield a consistent good night’s sleep in spite of the pain.”

    Hanscom goes further into the details of calming the nervous system and sleep later in the book. He may also discuss it more here on the forum or on his website so that may be worth exploring.
    Ewok2 likes this.
  14. time4change

    time4change New Member

    Mornings are the worst for me too! I'm pain free lying down and immediately feel pain upon standing. Bending is not an option. I can't do anything till my back loosens up! It has been getting a little better since starting the SEP, though,

    Changing my routine sounds like a very good idea. The affirmations are already helping. Thanks for your post!
  15. Logan Cale

    Logan Cale New Member

    I used to experience something similar. I find sleep is like a reset for me, a bit like restarting computer if it has an error! I go to bed with pain, then wake up fine! If there was something physically wrong, I would wake up with pain as well.

    I used to get terrible pain in the morning, but only after I thought when is the pain coming back? How bad is it going to be? It got a lot better when I removed some very shameful habits from my life. As soon as I told myself I'm not doing (shameful habit) anymore , I woke up pain free from having years of pain waking up. This was a massive TMS revelation.
  16. Bodhigirl

    Bodhigirl Well known member

    I love this! Thanks, Walt!
  17. cosmy

    cosmy New Member

    I am on the same boat! At night, when I sleep, my pain doesn’t wake me up and doesn’t bother me. It’s only after I wake up, and just like you, sometimes without even starting to move around, it sneaks back in! But I guess this is a good thing, because if it was something structural, our pain would not even let us sleep! I know it’s hard to move our focus away from it, but little by little, day by day, we will all get there!!! Good luck to you!!!

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