When you come to physiotherapy, you might expect your physio to ask you millions of questions about your symptoms, your overall health. You might receive some exercise therapy, some hands-on treatment, or some other physical input like taping. There will definitely be some information and advice given about your condition, your symptoms, why it hurts, and what the prognosis might be.
What you might not expect is for me to ask you about how you are sleeping. Sleep and restorative rest is super important part of the puzzle in managing your pain and optimising your recovery. It’s a key part of the holistic approach that I take in my work.
Pain can have an impact on your sleep experience, but what is stronger is the impact that lack of sleep can have on your pain experience. By reducing pain threshold and tolerance, and also by increasing sensitivity in the nervous system.
Long term reduction in sleep can lead to reduced immunological function, causing persistent low-grade inflammation in the body, which underlies many chronic health conditions including persistent pain states.
Deep sleep is the time that your body carries out important growth and repair functions. So sleep is important if you are trying to recover from acute injury, or build or regain muscle strength as part of your rehab, or simply recovering from pregnancy and birth.
Sleep is important for retaining good cognitive function, mood and memory. With these areas impaired, day-to-day life and work can feel more of a struggle as you find concentration and recall difficult, and become more prone to low mood or anxiety. Because we also know that poor mental health and low work satisfaction are associated with increased pain perception, improving the quality of your sleep is often a key part of managing your condition.
I can help
When you are in the middle of pain or sleep disruption, it can be difficult to know where to begin to bring things back in control. As a physiotherapist I can help you to identify and prioritise where to target your efforts and provide treatment to help bring pain back under control. Find out more about me and my services.