Sleep better to ease your knee osteoarthritis pain

When you’ve got knee osteoarthritis, getting through the night can truly feel like a nightmare.

If you’re hounded by both knee osteoarthritis and insomnia, you’re not alone – because more than 70 per cent of people with bad knees also toss and turn at night.

It’s enough to bring you to your “knees” with aggravation… and enough to make you want to sign up for that knee replacement the mainstream will push on you.

Unfortunately, studies show that costly surgery will do zip to improve your arthritis or your quality of life.

But according to a new study, there’s a natural (and free) way to snuff out your knee pain – because you can decrease the pain by increasing your amount of sleep you get!

In the study, published in the journal Pain, 100 people with both knee osteoarthritis and insomnia were randomly assigned to receive an intervention to get them to sleep better.

By the end of the study, it turned out that those with better sleep also felt better about any knee pain they experienced, day or night.

What’s more, those improvements persisted for 6 months after the interventions ended.

Now, you may have been thinking that your aching knees have been causing your insomnia, but it may actually be the other way around: Insomnia may instead be intensifying your pain.

We already know that lack of sleep may trigger the inflammatory “pathways” that light your joints on fire. And not getting enough sleep can make coping with that pain a lot more difficult.

You may even feel helpless about it – and the less sleep you get, the more hopeless the situation seems.

So, to stem the tide of negative thoughts about your pain and put the spring back in your step, do everything you can to get your full eight hours a night.

The study tested two different types of psychotherapy, and each improved sleep just as well as the other.

But if you’re really struggling to get enough sleep, you might need to make some common-sense adjustments to your sleep routine:

• Go to bed and get up at the same time each day.
• Avoid big meals and caffeine too close to bedtime.
• Get plenty of gentle exercise. Activities like yoga, tai chi, and even cycling can keep you active without straining your knee.
• Try supplementing with 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), before bed.

If none of these do the trick, your sleep disturbances might be a sign of something more serious going on.

Talk to your doc, who can refer you to a “sleep clinic” or run a more complete workup to get a better picture of your overall health.

And while that mystery gets solved, it won’t hurt to give acupuncture a try. This ancient Chinese needle therapy has been shown to work just as well as pain meds… without “doping” you up.

Wishing you the best of health,

Dr. Glenn S. Rothfeld
Nutrition & Healing

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Sleep Therapy May Help Ease Knee Pain,

Psychological interventions that target sleep reduce pain catastrophizing in knee osteoarthritis,

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