Does Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

whoismargot – pixabay

Does Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

I am almost always tired.  And I’m pretty sure it’s not because I:

  • Don’t eat right 
  • Don’t get 8 hours of sleep
  • Don’t exercise

Because I do all those things!  And more. I concentrate on eating plenty of fruits and vegetables.  I go to bed at a reasonable hour and set my alarm for 8 hours later. I try to walk and do yoga everyday. My blood labs are fine too. So why am I tired?  Does my chronic pain cause fatigue?

I think my tiredness has to do with having chronic pain.  Pain wears you out, and if it is chronic, it wears you out everyday. And it can impact your ability to function, your ability to sleep restfully, and affect your emotional and psychological outlook.  

What is Chronic Pain?

First off, let’s define chronic pain.  It is an unpleasant sensation or discomfort that lasts longer than the cycle for normal healing.  It may or may not be a result from an injury. It remains active in the nervous system for months and years.  It may cause tissue damage, or may be a result of tissue damage. 

Through my research I have noted that chronic pain has several side effects, besides the obvious one of being in pain.  Some of those effects are:

  • Tense muscles
  • Inability to move, or a reduced desire to move
  • Overeating or not eating at all
  • Depression or feeling sad
  • Anxiety
  • Tiredness
  • Irritability
  • Fear
  • Worry over expenses of treatments for pain
  • Limited activities and social connections
  • Focusing on the pain and nothing else, so you’re not much fun to be with

What is Fatigue?

This is an overall feeling of lack of energy and motivation, even tiredness, although fatigue is more than being tired.  It is frequently associated with illness, especially if pain is involved. I read that it accompanies arthritis and fibromyalgia to name two.  But other illnesses can be associated as well. Furthermore, I read that inflammation can cause fatigue. And some medications can cause the side effect of fatigue.  So, make sure that you have all these issues investigated for you to reach a conclusion of what is causing your fatigue.  

For this article, I am focusing on chronic pain and fatigue.  I want to know the association, and more importantly, how I can manage it and hopefully feel better.  

I read in this article (Fatigue) that fatigue affects us all differently.  This is a very helpful article, and I recommend you read it.  I did find there were some sentences that repeated but overall the article is very good.  

Can Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?

Does Chronic Pain Cause Fatigue?
nastya_geep – Pixabay

Probably the biggest correlation between chronic pain and fatigue is that chronic pain can interfere with sleep.  If you aren’t sleeping well, then you are going to be fatigued. I know, not very profound, huh? Even if you plan to get a good night’s sleep, sometimes that doesn’t happen.  I have written an article on getting a good night’s sleep. Click here.  Hopefully one of those suggestions might help you.  Let me know in the comments if it did. Or if you have other sleep suggestions.  

Furthermore, the physical, emotional, and mental energy you expend to deal with the pain can be exhausting, and this leads to fatigue.  Pain can just plain wear you down. It takes a physical toll as the body tries to adjust to the pain signals and inflammation. There is an emotional cost in feeling down, being discouraged and possibly depressed.  And our mental state of being tired interferes with being able to think clearly and even stay awake!

So in answer to the question; yes, chronic pain can cause fatigue.  Therefore, be gentle to yourself as you deal with not just the pain, but all the additional results from chronic pain. 

 

What Can You Do To Feel Better?

PLAN YOUR DAY:

Food: One of the best pieces of advice I’ve used is to cook a healthy meal with several portions involved.  That way you have expended the least amount of energy for several meals. You are using your mind to plan ahead.  This is very important when you are in pain and fatigued.  

I am on a limited food plan, high in protein and produce.  Finding something I like can be a challenge. When I do, I make a lot.  I just made a pork tenderloin with acorn squash in the crockpot. I’m going to have it for breakfast tomorrow.  It helps when I have something yummy to look forward to in the morning.  

The crock pot is a great tool!  I understand the Instant Pot is even better, but I don’t have one yet.  I highly recommend tools like these to make your life easier. That is one of the recommendations I found.  Think of ways to make life easier.  

If you have some tips for making life easier please leave them in the comments.  You will be helping all of us.

Watch your caffeine intake too.  There is that desire for a cup of coffee when you are tired, but it can boomerang on you and keep you awake when you want to be asleep.  I read that we should stop caffeine 10 hours before our scheduled bedtime. Since I go to bed pretty early, like 9 p.m., that means I must stop drinking caffeine by 11 a.m.  

Also, check to see if you are getting enough Vitamin D.  A deficiency in this vitamin can contribute to fatigue, as well as other problems.  Apparently most of us need a supplement.  

May I also suggest you keep a food diary?  Track what you eat and how you feel at the end of the day and the next day.  You will feel better as you eat better. Tracking it will help you practice better eating.

Free-Photos – Pixabay

Work:  Those of us who have chronic pain and fatigue take longer to complete tasks.  But that doesn’t mean we can’t complete them. I know some of my fellow bloggers produce 2-3 blogs a week.  I can’t! But I can produce one a week. I plan out my week and split the task up into 4 days. I use 3 days to write about 500 words a day and the 4th day to finalize it.  Then I post on the 5th day.  

That’s all I can do!  So plan your goals realistically.  As you go through your days, you will find you have to tweak your schedule.  But I highly recommend you make a schedule. You will gain a great deal of satisfaction from completing your list.  And even if you don’t complete them all, you will have accomplished something, which is a great feeling. And by evaluating your list and your accomplishments you will be able to adjust your schedule.

Some other good advice I read about was to pace yourself.  Know yourself well enough to not push if you don’t feel up to it.  The word balance comes to mind. And balance is critical to those of us in pain.  Self care and awareness of our capabilities as well as our limitations is crucial.

Breaks:  This is great advice for anyone, whether you suffer with chronic pain or not.  I read that short frequent breaks can make a positive impact on your fatigue, work output and general wellbeing.  Just a two minute break can help! And especially for those of us in chronic pain, changing positions is vital.

So get up from reading this and take a two minute walk.  You’ll also help your eyes to avoid strain by changing your focus.  And it clears your mind, especially if you are able to go outside and commune with nature for a bit.  Try it. I bet you’ll find you are more productive and feel better.  

Pexels – Pixabay

Movement:  In almost every post I have made on this site I strongly encourage movement.  That is particularly important if you are in chronic pain. Again, even if it’s just a little movement, it’s a start.  

Sometimes I walk.  Sometimes I do stretches or yoga. See these articles of mine for what I enjoy doing. Review of Jane Adams’ Gentle Yoga DVD – A Self Care Natural Solution for Pain and Inflammation.  And Review of Emily Lark’s Back to Life DVD – A Natural Remedy for Pain

I hope to get back to swimming, which I can do all year round in SoCal!  What do you do? Let us know, we might like to try it too!

This following link is to a great website I just found.  I tried to contact them to see if they had a newsletter, but was unsuccessful.  But they have some great information about chronic pain, seeing as their name is Institute for Chronic Pain.  That link directs you to their article about Fatigue and Chronic Pain, which as you will see, gave me some of these ideas.  I hope you go there and find some help for your suffering. And investigate the other articles.  

Find Joy:  I know it sounds like that would be the last thing you can do, but by focusing your mind on that which gives you joy, you are rewiring your brain to not give the pain as much power.  You can go with meditation practices, or just watching a funny movie. The meditation will probably help you sleep. Laughing produces happy hormones. Whatever you choose, take the bull by the horns and go for it.

Here’s one of my favorite Super Bowl ads.  Hope it gives you a laugh.

Conclusion

Yes, your chronic pain can cause fatigue.  But you can start practicing some of these suggestions to make a difference in your life.  If you have other thoughts, it would be very helpful if you left them in the comments.  As a community of pain sufferers we can help each other.   Please contribute. Thank you.

Disclaimer

I am not a medical professional.  Please talk with your doctor if you have concerns about any of my recommendations.

Sometimes I include affiliate links to products I recommend.  I don’t have any such links in this post.  All the links I provided are for your information.

On a side note, if you want to keep busy and learn how to build a website, see this link to Wealthy Affiliate.  It is the platform I am using to build my sites.  If you choose to join I will receive a referral fee.  Thank you.

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Home Remedies for Chronic Pain

In my continuous search for home remedies for chronic pain, I am always on the lookout for ways to feel better.  I am specifically talking about how to feel better in the fight against chronic pain, from which I suffer.  I have found in my research, though, that many of the remedies for pain relief also give a person a better attitude.  So, you get “two for the price of one”. Read on to find out what I have discovered.  

Home Remedies for Chronic Pain
MabelAmber/Pixabay

Exercise

One of the last things I feel like doing when I am in pain is to exercise.  But it is an unconventional way to feel better. Plus, there is more and more research in this field about how exercise can help you feel better.  Even if it hurts to move. I have pain in my buttock that I compare to sciatic pain. One woman stated that it was a challenge for her to walk because of the pain, but that she would rather be moving and in pain, than sitting and still be in pain.  Especially if she could get outside and enjoy nature.

Read further to find out why.

  • Endorphins

When we put our body in motion, we start several systems working.  Foremost among these is the release of endorphins. The way I understand this is that exercise releases endorphins into our body, and is transmitted to the brain.  The endorphins act like a pain killer, not unlike morphine, to inhibit the pain signal.  

 

You may have heard of the high that long distance runners experience.  This is similar. But the bottom line is, if you exercise you will feel better.  Not only with less pain, but with a better outlook.  Now why would you not want that?

  • Neurotransmitters

These chemicals have been linked to mood enhancement.  Exercise increases concentrations of serotonin and nor-epinephrine.  This leads to an uplifting mood or good mental health. These chemicals also enhance memory retention and learning.  So your outlook will improve along with how your body feels.

  • Joint Health
Home Remedies for Chronic Pain
Dr. Manuel Gonzalez Reyes

Couch potatoes have a higher risk of joint pain.  Lack of movement means more pain. Moving those joints increases the circulation of the synovial fluid which lubricates the joints.  More lubrication; less pain. In addition exercise moves water away from the joints and brings more oxygen to the joints. Both add to a healthier joint.

  • Other Benefits

As you are able to increase your exercise you will reap other benefits.  Heart health comes to mind. Exercise strengthens the heart muscles and lowers blood pressure.  

Weight loss is another side benefit to exercise.  As is better sleep. There are also studies that show that women who exercise regularly reduce the risk of breast cancer from 20 – 80%.  

Another benefit seems to be increased energy.  I don’t know why this is; after all you are expending energy to exercise.  But I have had personal experience where I feel more energy after I exercise.  

  • Start With Just A Little

You may say right now, but I can’t exercise.  I am in too much pain. I have been there. I could not get out of bed without experiencing terrible pain.  I practically had to crawl to the bathroom. But over time, and with learning what works for me, I have come to a point that I can move almost normally.  

I still have chronic pain, but it is manageable now.  So even if you just move from the bed to a chair and do a few stretches, you are on your way to feeling better. This is what my life has come to at this point.  I used to spend hours in the gym.  

But now I have to be happy with ½ hour of stretches and maybe a short walk.  I doubt I will get back to my former workouts, but that’s okay. I am thankful for what I can do.  

What can you do?  Can you push yourself just a little to feel better?  And one more thing about exercising through the pain.  When you focus on anything besides the pain, you feel better.  So focus on the exercise. See if you don’t feel better!

Some Home Remedies To Try

You might have a few of these items in your house already, but didn’t realize they may help in your pain management.  I have researched some of the popular ones for you to try.

Turmeric

This is actually a spice used in Asian cooking.  It contains the chemical curcumin.  There appears to be a connection between curcumin and inflammation reduction.  If your pain is associated with inflammation (osteoarthritis) you may find some relief using this spice.  There are capsule forms also. I have used the spice in warm water as well. Just drink it down. It is not an unpleasant taste.  I have found some relief from this spice. 

There is occasional indication that it can cause stomach upset in some people.  For more information about turmeric see this article from WebMD.  

 

Summer Malik

Willow Bark

As its name suggests, willow bark is taken from the bark of a willow tree. There is research that shows it was used in the time of Hippocrates where it was chewed to relieve pain.  It contains the chemical salicine, which is similar to aspirin. Because of the similarities, there can be similar effects, such as reduction in pain, fever and inflammation and side effects such as stomach upset and blood thinning.  I found another article from WebMD for this information.  

Epsom Salt

Called a salt because of the chemical structure, when dissolved in warm water it dilutes to sulfate and magnesium.  The understanding is that the magnesium is absorbed into the skin, and reduces swelling and inflammation. This has not been proven, but just the activity of soaking in warm water helps to relax muscles and joints, so there is relief pain.  It should not be ingested. More information at WebMD.  

I use Dr. Teal’s with lavender to soak in the evening.  Not only do I gain some muscle relief, but the lavender aromatherapy helps to relax me.  

Bone Broth

Bone broth contains collagen.  As we age, we have less. This collagen protein is essential in joint health.  The collagen is like a cushion that assists the joint to work easier. The collagen is produced by simmering bones to create the broth.  There are other benefits to bone broth including boosting the immune system. Use this link to learn more, and for a bone broth recipe from Dr. Axe.  

Comfrey Extract

This extract has poisonous qualities, so use with care.  There is evidence that rubbing the extract into the lower back can relieve pain.  Another link to WebMD will provide more information.  

Omega 3

I have a complete article on Omega fish oil.  See this link. Although research is inconclusive, I have found some relief.  See my article here.  

Naturopathic medicine

I personally do not have any experience with this as of yet.   But I wanted to include it because I heard a testimonial from a mother of a daughter who had found some miraculous relief from her fibromyalgia.  

I need to spend more time investigating this alternative.  But to hear this story of how the daughter suffered for over a year, and then was helped by this Naturopathic doctor is worth checking out.  If you are in the eastern LA county area, the office she visited was Integrative Natural Health, in Claremont, CA.  Click on their name for a link to their website.  Their website is very informative with background about the philosophy and what to expect.  

I’d especially like to hear back from you if you visit them and tell me about your experience. Or if you have had experience with this alternative option.  

Pets

I read an article that claims that pets may help older adults (that’s me) manage pain.  I can’t afford a pet right now, but I know there is research about how calming it is when you pet a dog or a cat.  I believe being around animals is just good for you period. But if pets can help with managing pain, all the better!  Here’s the link if you want to see the article.  I would love to hear about stories you might have of how your pet helped you.  

 

2allmankind

Sleep

I have a complete article here regarding the benefits of sleep and how to get better sleep.  I recommend you check it out. Sleep gives your body a break from the pain, and repairs broken parts.  If you are like me, you probably push yourself too hard. I recommend you work on getting more sleep. You should notice the benefits immediately.  

Conclusion

I want very much to know if this article was helpful to you.  Any feedback is welcome. If there are improvements I could make to this information, I would like to know about them.  

Disclaimer

I am not a doctor and do not claim that any of these remedies are cures.  But I am a pain sufferer. I continue to search for relief for myself and in so doing, hope that something here can provide pain relief for you as well.  

Sometimes I feature products with links so you can purchase them.  I do not have any such links in this article.

I do however recommend that you check out this link if you are interested in building your own website.  This is the platform I use which teaches you everything you need to know.  Click on Wealthy Affiliate to check it out.  I would receive a referral fee if you join, but you can join for free first to see if you like it.

How To Sleep With Chronic Pain.

Do you have chronic pain and find it difficult to sleep?  I do.  So I researched how to sleep with chronic pain.

Introduction

Does sleep seem to be illusive for you as you struggle with pain?  Can’t find a comfortable position?  The chronic ache won’t let you relax?  The throbbing stab yells at you for all your attention?  You toss and turn in vain to find a position where you are out of pain?

I know it all.  I spend too much time awake when I should be sleeping.  There are a lot of us out there, insomniacs for one reason or another.  This article hopes to address some suggestions for how to sleep when you are in pain.

irenegoeleven

Sleep, What is It?

Sleep? Have you ever thought about what it is?  According to Merriam-Webster dictionary it is “the natural, easily reversible periodic state of many living things that is marked by the absence of wakefulness and by the loss of consciousness of one’s surroundings, is accompanied by a typical body posture (such as lying down with the eyes closed), the occurrence of dreaming, and changes in brain activity and physiological functioning, is made up of cycles of non-REM sleep and REM sleep, and is usually considered essential to the restoration and recovery of vital bodily and mental functions”.  Note the emphasis on being essential to restoration and recovery of the mind and body.  Which tells me that if you aren’t getting the required sleep you need, that you are not functioning at your best.

There are many external factors that affect our sleep, such as work (including shift work which is a challenge in itself), food and environment.  But there are internal ones as well, including stress levels and pain.  I am presenting this post mostly for those of us who are in pain, because that pain can impact our sleep.  And lack of good sleep impacts our pain.  It can be a vicious cycle.  If you want a more detailed discussion of external factors affecting sleep, see this Harvard Education link.  But read on even if you aren’t in pain.  Hopefully this post will lead you to better sleep.

Here’s a statistic reported by The National Sleep Foundation.  “Sixty-five percent of those with no pain reported good or very good sleep quality, while only 45 percent of those with acute pain and 37 percent of those with chronic pain did the same. Additionally, 23 percent of those with chronic pain reported higher stress levels, compared with 7 percent of those without pain.”  I’ve seen a report that states one in four people have chronic pain.  So there are many of us that don’t sleep well.

Read moreHow To Sleep With Chronic Pain.