Is your back pain causing your insomnia, or is it the other way around? Perhaps they’re working in lockstep to drive you crazy. Whether the chicken or the egg came first, you’re undoubtedly frustrated, exhausted, and ready to get help. Thankfully, a trip to the spine doctor can put you on a path to managing both.
The importance of sleep
You may not have related your sleep issues to your back pain—and you may not realize that insomnia can actually make your back pain worse. Did you know that between 50–80 percent of people with chronic pain have ongoing sleep issues? If you’re among that majority, you know how hard it is to get to sleep, and stay there, especially when your pain is flaring.
“The inability to get a good night’s sleep hurts—literally. Chronic back pain prevents you from sleeping well,” said WebMD. “You can wake up hurting even more. What’s worse, studies have shown that not getting enough sleep may actually make you more sensitive to pain. It’s a vicious cycle. Back pain can make it harder to sleep—and when you can’t sleep, your back pain may be worse.”
There are many ways to go about trying to get better sleep, like upgrading your mattress to something that offers better support, eliminating caffeine, and taking up yoga or breathing exercises. But, the most effective way to treat your insomnia may just be making an appointment with a spine doctor.
How a spine doctor can help
Getting to the source of the pain is key to making you feel better, and also to helping you sleep better. When you go see a leading spine doctor, you can expect that:
- The doctor will first look thoroughly through your medical history and get to know you and your lifestyle. Perhaps there are contributing factors to your pain hidden in there. Your initial consultation will answer many questions, but it is still only step one.
- You will have a complete workup, even if you have recently had one and have transferred your medical records from another spine doctor. A leading doctor will use your previous records as a guide but also do his or her own exam to make sure nothing was missed and that your condition has not changed. Only by having the complete picture can your back doctor proceed with a plan for diagnosis and treatment.
- The doctor will properly diagnose your pain. It could be that you have an undiagnosed injury that is causing your discomfort and that could be easily treated to bring you relief.
- Your doctor will discuss recommended conservative back treatments ranging from over-the-counter medications to heat and/or cold to steroid injections, which have shown great results at targeting certain types of back injuries and providing long-term relief for patients.
- Your doctor may discuss performing a minimally invasive surgical procedure if more conservative treatments have not brought significant relief. Many of these procedures can be done as outpatient treatments, while others require only a minimum hospital stay with a much faster recovery time and less pain than traditional surgeries.
When you’re researching doctors to see for your back pain, you’ll want to make sure they are trained in minimally invasive procedures. Despite the fact that these types of surgeries represent the leading trend in medicine today, only a small percentage of spine doctors are qualified and trained to perform them.
“Minimally invasive surgery is highly technical. This requires significant training of the surgeon as well as the OR staff,” said the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery. “Furthermore, the equipment needed to perform these procedures safely and effectively can be very expensive.”
Whether or not you think you might need to have surgery someday, it’s important to be prepared; should you need a procedure, you’ll want to make sure you are an excellent hands.
Ready to find a spine doctor for your back pain and insomnia? Contact DISC Spine Institute, experts in minimally invasive treatments, the most effective medical procedures to treat and eliminate chronic back pain.