Why does pain get worse at night????
by Sarajmt, May 25, 2010
Does your pain get worse at night?  If so, why is that?  I know that movement and other factors make me hurt worse.  But even on days when the pain is somewhat under control, I can count on the night to bring on another round of fun and games.

Every parent has been up with a sick child.  They always seem to be worse in the night.  But why??  Anybody have any ideas?
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Member Comments (11)
by mum2four, May 25, 2010
My pain is often worse at night as well I wish I knew why.

I kinda figured it had some think to do with not having anything ti distract my self from being in pain also because I wanted to be asleep so bad and I cant get to sleep. Then there is the factor of often having a busy day and making your body tired and in pain if you cant sleep your body cant recover easy.

The sleep issues would be a big issues for kids no one can sleep well when you feel like cra--p. Children need there sleep or they get grizzly when there not sick.
by Tuckamore, May 25, 2010
Hi Sara,

What a great question. There are many theories, some I knew a some I researched. Here are a few.

The brain elevates its sensitivity to carbon dioxide at night which in turn caused your vessels to increase in diameter. The increase in diameter causes more compression on your some if not most nerves.

Some ppl beleive that because you are trying to relax and sleep you are more aware of your pain. You have less distractions and therefore tend to think about your pain more at night. Additionally you tend to feel more isolated at night. It's dark and usually quiet and it can seem like you are all alone.

If it has been longer period of time since you took your last pain medication that can also play a factor.

Stress hormones are at different levels through out a 24 hour period. They are at their lowest at night. This allows pain signals to get through to the brain more easily.

Even some of the elderly experience a condition called Sun-downer's Syndrome. One theory concerning sun-downers is that the constant daily mental processes for normal living can become overwhelming for the elderly during evening hours. The most popular theory is that it is just related to darkness but there are no factual conclusive reasons for the condition.

When we lay supine (down) in the evening there are changes not only in our hormones but in our airways and our stomachs. These are mechanical factors in causing or exacerbating pain. Being supine (laying down) can compress spinal structures and increases loading of elements of the spine. Arterial (artery) blood flow to the lower extremities is impeded and venous (vein) return may be enhanced. This can result in central pooling and increased central edema (swelling).

Another theory is that increased positive ions in the air can increase pain and make other changes in the mental and physical functions of the body. Ion changes occurs with changes of the moon.  

Day activities increases my night time pain. I imagine this is true for many of us.

There seems to be no positive factual reasons why pain increases at night although there are a lot of theories. So thank you for posing a very good, debatable question to which I beleive there are no wrong or right answers.

by mum2four, May 25, 2010
Thank you for all thoes theory's they were great.

I love the carbon dioxide comment it's makes a lot of sense to me.

But in the end it truly is proberly going to be a combination's of factors as to why we struggle with more pain at night. Everything we do during the day or cant do at night, everything we think about and feel emotionally, the postion we try to sleep in, so on and so on. It's like adding up threw out the day and then when its time to sleep and relax more factors come on to play like the carbon dioxide thing we need a good oxygen level to heal our a body's that is partly why we need sleep so much.

In recent years I have been struggling with insomnia after a home invasion. I started struggling big time with restless leg syndrome pain so intence I was crying begging for the pain killer to work but the over the counter one's were doing nothing for me for the leg pain. I finally had to go ask my Dr for better pain med's I hated the idea of using stronger pain med's but I needed the pain the stop. When I told her about it and how I toss and turn and cant sleep not only because of the pain, but because I just cant seem to get in to rem sleep. I was able to fall sleep ok that really was not a big problem but many times I felt I was stuck between not fully asleep but not able to wake up I could hear what was happening in the house while I was sleeping. At first I thought this was just my brain taking real stuff and bringing it in to my dream but then i realize it was 100% of what was happing I started feeling stuck more and more I could repeat word for word what was on the TV or a conversation that I heard my partner say while he was on the net with his head phones to friends. I was finally given sleeping med's in dec and it has helped, as well as stronger pain med's. I dont get the pain as often in my legs at night or i dont get it so often or as bad as it was. I had the leg pain prety bad for the first time in a while at night the other night. I have been taking my sleeping meds less trying to get my body to sleep by it self again properly. I'm prety sure my insomnia is caused my PTSD the home invasion happen close to the sun setting, it happened close to my bedroom (I moved house now), I felt like I did not do enough to protect children. My children were not at home at the time but I was having a party with friends and their children. So my brain was stay on alert even at night. For while on the sleeping meds I was waking up with panic I suspect because I was forceing my brain/body to finally face the sleeping fear. That has faded and gotten so much better.

latly I often wake up with an intence migraine, I wish I solve that problem because it's driving me bonker's. It some time happen in the middle of the night and I wake up and I'm so much pain I want to cry it was happening before the sleeping med's, but it's still happening at about the same even on sleeping med's. I've had a sore nose that bleed every time I blow it for about 3 month now. I started to realize there was sore getting bigger in side my nose that just wont/cant heal. I finally told my Dr yesterday and she said it could be a staph infection which could easily be true since I do a lot of scratching at night(OCD compulsion) since we all carry staph on up and it lives in our nose alot anywhere it could be the reason. Anyway I'm hoping that what ever is causing my nose to not heal or get better is also causing my sinus presure which in turn could easily be causing migraines more often and more intencely. I'm hoping the anti-biotics my Dr has given me will help. I've also been suffering big time with photophobia lots and it's driving me bonker's.

Take it easy and hope you can find some answer's for your own pain and other symptoms. It's never nice thinking you may have to live with them for life.
by freebird63, May 27, 2010
I know my pain level is generally off the chart in the mornings, alot of nights the pain wakes me up and I have to get up and walk around the house or just go sit in my chair.  Lately mornings have just about brought me to tears as the pain is so intense.  Good luck and keep us informed.   Chuck
by Sarajmt, May 27, 2010
Chuck, I'm sorry you're having such a bad time.  You've had so many problems between the doctors and the pain.  I truly wish you a pain free night and morning.  You deserve some good luck to come your way!

by JadedSweetheart, May 27, 2010
Mine tends to get worse in the afternoon/evening.  I believe I read in the doctor's office that one reason for this is the standing and sitting we do every day puts compresses our spinal column and can cause herniated or bulging discs to protrude more, thus pressing on the nerves surrounding them or the spinal cord itself and causing more pain.  Whereas when we lay down our spinal column is able to decompress some.
I have a sleep number bed, that was actually my husband's before we met.  (He was in a serious car accident 10 years ago and died on the scene).  We both love the bed.  I think it really helps to have a comfortable mattress when it comes to night-pain.

I hope we all feel better soon!
by Tuckamore, May 27, 2010

You know my pain is generally worse in the morning....but than will ease a bit. And like you it will wake me in the night. So that throws the theory that we don't have enough distractions....gosh we're sleeping!

I agree that it's probably a combination of the above theories...and that each of us are different, which varies the possibilities for each of us.

by jamlws, May 27, 2010
My pain is always worse in the morning not at night.
But as for getting even more sick at night I agree with that cause my son has ashtma and his is always bad at night cause he is laying down. When he lays down everything goes into his throat. Plus he isn't drinking. He use to sleep walk at night but since he got his toncils out on May 3rd he don't anymore thank god. He was sleep walking one night and he walked over to my side of the bed pulled his pants down and peed on the chair, yea gross but I couldn't yell at him cause he was asleep I just walked him back to bed cause they say never to wake someone  up that is sleep walking cause it will scare the crap out of them. I hope you are able to sleep better soon. I know going thru something like that I woudln't be able to sleep good either, in our town someone is cutting tires and it scares me to get mine done so I find myself up looking out the windows.
Best of luck to you,
by llwhite96, Aug 29, 2012
Im rocking myself with tears streaming down my face. I googled " why do i hurt so bad at night" as if im screaming it to a higher power and i got this blog. I just want to thank everyone. You might not have eased the pain but i dont feel as alone. Its just sad our grief brought us here. I would say good night.....but some how i find it unlikely wishes!