Rest & Rheumatoid Arthritis / Disease have an illogical relationship
Rheumatoid Arthritis pain at night is ironic. Rest is one of the most crucial weapons in fighting Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) / Rheumatoid Disease (RD). Adequate rest is an important factor for most people with Rheumatoid Disease (PRD) as they push themselves to continue doing as much as possible. We’ve talked about significant sleep issues with Rheumatoid such as the impact of sleep on RD disability and strategies to improve sleep with RD.
You know how children seem to grow an inch at night while they sleep? During a good night’s sleep, the body enjoys a cycle of repair and restoration – crucial for someone with a destructive disease. A Harvard Sleep Medicine article mentions a study on sleep that shows “animals deprived entirely of sleep lose all immune function and die in just a matter of weeks.”
Rest is also important to allow inflamed joints to calm down. In a Rheumatoid Patient Foundation (RPF) survey, 70% of PRD said rest is helpful to reduce rheumatoid pain. So it seems particularly unfair when sleep is interrupted by RD.
Does Rheumatoid Arthritis pain at night interfere with your rest?
Studies have shown PRD need more sleep, and that living with RD interferes with sleep, often because of pain. Many of my joints have been worse the past couple of weeks – it’s just one of those times the RD shows it has its own mind and just wants to act worse. There’s no logical reason my knees started waking me up a couple weeks ago with sharp pains along the side or in the front, when they are usually worse along the Baker’s cysts (in the back). This week it was my shoulder screaming all night long. Whenever I moved to relieve pain, the pain increased sharply so that I let out a little high-pitched “oww-oww.” Maybe the sound of my voice woke me up since the first thing I remember was being surprised to hear it. (Like most PRD, I don’t usually say “ouch” out loud.)
Have you used medications to help you rest with Rheumatoid Arthritis pain at night?
Sleep has always been my super power – I can sleep through almost any worry or pain. I remember dozing off during labor. Usually, I can get back to sleep with long deep breaths as long as I’m warm and my featherbed is well fluffed. But severe RD pain can jolt your mind awake so that can be tough. I’ve taken a pain medication or a muscle relaxer at night when I was in bad shape because I know how important rest is with RD. It’s good to have a plan for what to do if the pain gets very bad at night or interferes with sleep. What do you do?
NOTE: Rheumatoid Awareness Day is just two weeks away – February 2. This year patients and organizations across the U.S. and in other countries are observing the second ever awareness day for RD. For updates on RPF sponsored Awareness Day events – click here. If you have a blog of any kind, please join our special blog carnival – What Would Rheumatoid Awareness Mean to You?