Person lying in bed awake late at night because of back pain

The Longest Night: How Pain Keeps Me Awake

If you did not know, painsomnia is pain that causes insomnia. Painsomnia is a big obstacle in my life caused by my chronic illness: ankylosing spondylitis. Ankylosing spondylitis brings many obstacles to my life, but today I am just going to talk about how it affects my sleep.

Sleep allows our bodies to rest and heal and it is vital for someone living with a chronic illness. My body is always attacking itself; ankylosing spondylitis is an autoimmune disease. So, my body needs to rest and heal as much as possible.

The many ways painsomnia affects me

The most common is that I am simply in too much pain to sleep. I cannot get comfortable.

Sometimes, I fall asleep reasonably fine, but the pain wakes me throughout the night. That pain may be in my back, tailbone, hip, shoulders, or neck. The worst is when a muscle spasm wakes me. I wake up screaming and confused. My shoulders, neck, and upper back are always spasming! I get woken up by my muscles contracting and pulling at or pressing on my nerves. It is a horrible feeling!

Usually, my screaming scares me and causes me to jump with fright. Of course, this jump hurts my body more! If you haven't guessed already, it is pretty hard for me to get back to sleep.

I look forward to getting a good night's sleep. I always feel exhausted at the end of the day. To be honest, I feel exhausted at all parts of the day.

Unfortunately, pain keeps me awake at night

I lie in bed while my tailbone feels like it is on fire. My hips are aching, my spine is twisted, and my whole back is plotting revenge on me for whatever task I did that day. My neck is stiff; it feels like it's nailed in place with a little bit of wiggle room. If I move my neck more than the wiggle room, then the pain is excruciating!

I always sleep on my right shoulder, but often my shoulders are too sore to sleep on. And oh, I definitely cannot sleep on my back. Lying flat on my back causes my body to ache a lot more. Sometimes I can get myself comfortable by propping myself up with my pillows, but I could never sleep like this because my neck would freeze up in this position forever if I did.

I lie in bed awake for hours, hoping for sleep

But all I can do is focus on how much pain I am in. Then the anxious and sad thoughts come; Why am I in so much pain? What did I do to get this illness? I know that there are no answers to either of those questions. Well, I am in pain because I have ankylosing spondylitis.

But I did not do anything to get this illness. When I was newly diagnosed, this thought would always come into my mind. But now, it is only in the early hours of the morning after many sleepless nights that I think like this.

The emotional cost of living with chronic pain and insomnia

Many emotions come from living with chronic pain. For me, the emotional effects of living with a chronic illness are heightened in the silence of the night. I get angry, frustrated, annoyed, and upset with my pain and myself. When I am overtired or cannot sleep, I feel like a cranky toddler. I could cry at the drop of a hat.

Can you relate? Do you live with painsomnia? Share your experience in the forums.

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