Why Does My Osteoarthritis Hurt Worse at Night?

Joint pain, stiffness, and swelling are all common symptoms of osteoarthritis(OA). Over 27 million people suffer from this degenerative form of arthritis that occurs when the cartilage between joints breaks down. Joint pain from OA can unfortunately affect us the most when we are trying to settle in for the night. According to the Arthritis Foundation, at least half of all people with OA have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep throughout the night. Why is this and what can be done to ease symptoms in order to achieve a good night’s rest?

Researchers from the journal, SLEEP, published a 2012 study that indicated that quality of your sleep is what affected your OA pain more than anything. Poor sleep can make you sensitive to the feeling of pain, therefore changing the way you perceive the pain. A lack of sleep may also trigger inflammatory pathways that increase OA pain.

What can be done to help ease pain?

1. Make sure you have a good mattress. A mattress that is too firm can be a detriment to those with OA. A good mattress should support your body, but also relieve pressure and conform to your body shape.

2. Use extra pillows for joints. Placing a pillow under your knees can help to take the pressure off them

3. Taking a pain reliever before bed can help to ease symptoms. Many pain relievers also come with a PM formula.

4. Avoid Caffeine. Avoiding caffeine (soft drinks, coffee, tea) especially late in the day can help to improve rest.

5. Exercise Regularly. Exercise is encouraged for those with OA. Sticking to a routine can help your body tire out when it’s time for bed.

6. Do something relaxing before bed. Take a relaxing bath before bed or get a massage before bed. For many, avoiding television in bed can help lead to quicker, more restful sleep.

By integrating some of these helpful tips into your lifestyle, you may be able to ease your nightly pain and facilitate better rest. If you are interested in finding new treatment options for your osteoarthritis, local studies are enrolling now. Those that qualify have access to potential new osteoarthritis treatments and are cared for by board-certified physicians. Qualified participants may also be compensated for time and travel expenses. Learn more about this new research opportunity by clicking HERE.