Sleep Disturbance of Myofasical Pain Syndrome
Myofascial Pain Syndrome (MPS) is essentially defined as a painful musculoskeletal condition, characterized by the development of Myofascial trigger points (TrPs), that are locally tender when active and refer pain through specific patterns to other areas of the body.
A trigger point, when pressed upon causes pain that is felt elsewhere in the body, known as referred pain. Factors that can cause trigger points include:
- Sudden trauma to musculoskeletal tissues
- Injury to intervertebral discs
- Repetitive motions, excessive exercise
- Muscle strain due to over activity
- Systemic conditions, such as gall bladder inflammation, heart attack, appendicitis, stomach irritation
- Lack of activity
- Nutritional deficiencies
- Nervous tension or stress
- Chilling of areas of the body
Sleep Disorders – The Basics
In medical terms, the inability to sleep is referred to as insomnia. This term is basically used to refer to the inability in falling asleep, staying asleep and awakening earlier than desired.
Research indicates that of the total population suffering from MPS, more than 60% suffer from acute sleep disorders. The patient often gets entrapped in a viscous cycle of improper sleep. Initially, the excessive fatigue that also causes MPS prevents quality sleep and rest.
In the longer run, this very sleep disorder reduces the body’s capability to cope with the disease and its symptoms.
Myofacial Pain Syndrome and Sleep Disturbances
Sleep disturbances are one of the most common effects of the Myofascial Pain Syndrome. In fact, a sleep disorder is often termed as both, the symptom and effect of the Myofascial Pain Syndrome.
In most of the cases, the pain of Myofascial Pain Syndrome is accompanied by a series of allied symptoms. Sleep disorders and disturbances are the most common and prominent symptom associated with this condition.
The sleep disturbances experienced in MPS can be studied under two broad categories. In this section, we have discussed each one of these in brief detail.
Quantity of Sleep
The occurrence of MPS and its symptoms increases the overall fatigue level and the requirement of rest and sleep for the body. However, on the contrary, this disorder has a major impact on the quantity of sleep of the patient.
Musculoskeletal injuries and excessive fatigue are the most prominent causes of Myofascial Pain Syndrome. Often, apart form the condition itself, such injuries cause intense pain and discomfort in the patient, thereby leading to less sleep.
Quality of Sleep
Apart from the quantity of sleep, another major aspect of sleep disturbances associated with MPS is the non-restorative sleep. Most of the patients suffering from MPS complain about the inability to stay asleep at night. Strong bouts of severe pain often waken up the patient in the night and severely affect the quality of sleep.
Medication for Sleep
A series of painkillers and sleep medications can be taken to reduce pain and induce sleep.
The most common painkillers might include Advil PM. Ultram, OxyContin, Vicodin, codeine and morphine. Medications advisable for sleep disorders include benzodiazepines, like Ativan, Klonopin and Halcion.
However, a section of experts point out that some of the medication to reduce pain or induce sleep can actually interrupt the sleep pattern and decrease the actual amount of sleep. Drugs like the benzodiazepines and NSAIDs might also interfere with the normal sleep cycles.
The best solution is to take proper medical advice and avoid self-medication in such cases.
Apart from medication, there are other steps that can be taken to induce sleep and maintain a healthy sleeping pattern.
Here we list the main steps that can be taken to ensure a good sleep.
- Soft and comfortable mattress
- Proper sleeping posture
- Maintain a regular sleeping pattern
- Appropriate medication
- Stress reduction
- Reduced intake of caffeine
- Minimize daytime naps
- Reduced consumption of alcohol
- Less intake of fatty foods