Was in chronic pain & now can't sleep. What to do?!

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New Member

Date Joined Jan 2009
Total Posts : 17
   Posted 6/20/2009 11:41 PM (GMT -6)   
Hey, I'm 16 & for the past year and a half, I've been in severe chronic pain. Thankfully, it's mostly cured except for a little pain. However, now I can't sleep on my own. I stay awake all night in my room unless someone is sleeping in my room or I'm sleeping in someone else's room. Except if I go into my sister's room in the middle night & she's asleep, that doesn't help. My mom thinks it's because I spent countless nights awake & in pain all night while everyone else slept. For my pain treatment, I am off any medication so, thts not a possiblity to start up again. Does anyone have any suggestions? Thanks!


Veteran Member

Date Joined Sep 2006
Total Posts : 1713
   Posted 6/21/2009 12:35 AM (GMT -6)   
Have you tried reading?? or watching TV?? A warm bath to relax you?? A fan blowing on you or the motor providing the white noise background??

These are the only suggestions I have for right now. Make sure you don't nap during the day and try to get up early in the morning so you are tired at night when you go to bed.

Good luck and keep posting to let us know how it goes Michaela.

Gentle Hugs and congrats over beating the pain!!

Co-Moderator Chronic Pain and Fibromyalgia Forums
Believe in yourself.  Be kind to fellow humans and animals.  Take time to smell the flowers and the coffee.
And by all means, when you are down, ask me for help.  I will be there.

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2007
Total Posts : 554
   Posted 6/21/2009 1:10 AM (GMT -6)   
sweetie we are all in your shoes... i know what you feel like. my husband is snoring away and sleep just seems so far away. don't be ashamed of needing sleeping pills. discuss it with your parents and talk to your dr. a lot of pills are non-addictive so there is hope. i know how maddening it is to not only be in pain but the sleeplessness is terrible. you feel awful all day. maybe even a muscle relaxer will help. let us know how it turns out. good luck!
RX's: Oxycontin 80mg 2x's daily; Oxycodone 30mg 5xs daily; Zanaflex 4mg 3x's daily; Restoril 15mg 1x; Soma 3x's daily; Lyrica 100mg 3x's daily (pain & fibro.); Phenergan 25mg (as needed); Amitriptyline 25mg 1x (chronic pain); Cymbalta 60mg 2x's daily (pain from fibro); Abilify 5mgs at bedtime (depression); Metoclopram (as needed) & Senokot (as needed).
"The most critical choice you'll ever make is the one you make about what you're going to do with this. The past is over. The future hasn't happened yet. The only time is now."
- Dr. Phil

Veteran Member

Date Joined Nov 2007
Total Posts : 6795
   Posted 6/21/2009 1:15 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi, Michaela,
It's wonderful you have been able to eliminate the majority of your pain. I think your Mom may have a point, in that you could be unconsciously anticipating pain if it used to keep you awake at night.

I think it might help for you to work with a therapist (psychologist, counselor, cinical social worker) who has some background in pain. He/she can help you with what might be some anxiety around the pain, and teach you some relaxation and other skills.

Some relaxation tapes or relaxing music (something soothing with no lyrics) might also help. A great source of material is at

I don't have any financial connection whatsoever, but I use some of the CD's myself. You can listen to little clips of them for free. There is actually one designed for Healthful Sleep you might find most useful.

Keep posting if you still need some help. You'll figure this out in time, but you might need a knowledgeable guide.

Take care,


Forum Moderator

Date Joined Jan 2005
Total Posts : 9245
   Posted 6/21/2009 11:31 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michaela!

And welcome to our family!! I will agree with the above statements, especially the one about talking it out with 'someone'. A therapist or even your school counselor would be helpful. If mom is right then I would think working though what's in your mind would be the way to get rid of it. It's amazing what goes on in that soup bowl we call a brain. It holds on to memories that we surely don't want and obviously don't need. But living with chronic pain for as long as you did can leave a lot of garbage in your head....and it leaves you with the job of getting rid of it.

After I got out of an abusive 20 year marriage I had nightmares most every night for several years. Three to four nights a week I'd wake up screaming in the middle of the night...I felt I was being chased down and in danger, I couldn't get away from the ex. It took me several years because it was so ingrained in my brain before I got rid of it all but eventually I did and I no longer am afraid to go to sleep. It's very similar to what you've been through except your mind may be afraid of going to sleep because you would wake up to pain. Having someone near you gives you a very secure feeling like being taken care of. For me it was my new husband. He would talk to me and was very sweet and kind. When he was there I wasn't afraid any more and it helped.

Keep talking to us and your mom especially. This is not a mental illness, you are not going crazy but there are some things in our brains we have to consciously control to get rid of and you too can do it. Also talk to your doctor and he may suggest something to help you sleep for a short time. Or you can try things like chamomile tea...but if you use anything that you can buy in the store like teas and supplements please tell your doctor. They can interact with prescription medications.

Good luck and please keep us posted...K?
Co-Moderator Fibromyalgia & Chronic Pain Forums ~~~
Fibromyalgia, Ulcerative Colitis, Insulin dependent diabetic, PTSD, dermatitis herpetiformus, osteoarthritis, collapsed disk, and a few other side dishes.


If you ask what is the single most important key to longevity, I would have to say it is avoiding worry, stress and tension. And if you didn't ask me, I'd still have to say it.
George Burns

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2009
Total Posts : 1158
   Posted 6/21/2009 12:27 PM (GMT -6)   
Oh so young!!! It breaks my heart my daughter is 16 and all I want for her is peace and happieness. This is probaly so hard on your mother also. I always have a hardtime with sleep even when my pain is controled. Its almost habit forming. Fo me my husband goes to sleep and starts to snore, I lay there and read my vampire books, still no sleep. I have sleeping pills I usually take but some night I just don't want the meds. (hangover effect at 4:30 am)

I believe everyone has given you great advice. First talk with your dr for a slight sleep aid. Then try and see someone you can talk to start with your school counseler. If you need more then find a specialist with pain.

I will keep you in my thoughts, Hopefully you can get this under control before school starts again

39 yr young female with,
Chronic Kidney Stones, PKD (Polycystic Kidney Disease), Chronic Kidney Failure, Severe Hypertension, Urological RSD
Also CHF (Congestive Heart Failure) and Sleep Apnea
Hopefully NO MORE........ I think I have it all

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jul 2008
Total Posts : 2317
   Posted 6/21/2009 2:10 PM (GMT -6)   
I think it is pretty common for people to have trouble sleeping for a while (sometimes months) after they come off of powerful pain medicines. There are doctors who specialize in sleep medicine, so if you can't start getting some sleep on your own, maybe that would be an option. There are medications that can help with sleep & sometimes only a short-term dose is needed, but you are still quite young, so probably sleeping meds would have to be the last option for you.

There are some basic practices, usually referred to as "sleep hygiene" that can help (from NSF):
* Avoid napping during the day; it can disturb the normal pattern of sleep and wakefulness.
* Avoid stimulants such as caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bedtime. While alcohol is well known to speed the onset of sleep, it disrupts sleep in the second half as the body begins to metabolize the alcohol, causing arousal.
* Exercise can promote good sleep. Vigorous exercise should be taken in the morning or late afternoon. A relaxing exercise, like yoga, can be done before bed to help initiate a restful night's sleep.
* Food can be disruptive right before sleep; stay away from large meals close to bedtime. Also dietary changes can cause sleep problems, if someone is struggling with a sleep problem, it's not a good time to start experimenting with spicy dishes. And, remember, chocolate has caffeine.
* Ensure adequate exposure to natural light. This is particularly important for older people who may not venture outside as frequently as children and adults. Light exposure helps maintain a healthy sleep-wake cycle.
* Establish a regular relaxing bedtime routine. Try to avoid emotionally upsetting conversations and activities before trying to go to sleep. Don't dwell on, or bring your problems to bed.
* Associate your bed with sleep. It's not a good idea to use your bed to watch TV, listen to the radio, or read.
* Make sure that the sleep environment is pleasant and relaxing. The bed should be comfortable, the room should not be too hot or cold, or too bright.

Here's a few links to a websites that gives ideas of things to try to help get some sleep (btw, PA's suggestion about relaxation tapes is also a great idea):

Hope that helps & you can get back to a regular sleep routine soon! :-)

Moderator -- Depression Forum

Veteran Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 3089
   Posted 6/22/2009 9:49 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Michaela,

I remember when you originally posted here. I am SO HAPPY to hear that your pain has been almost completely eliminated!! Congratulations! That is FABULOUS news! I wish we were all so lucky! As for your sleeping troubles - boy, that's a tough one. I'm also plagued by awful sleep. I've never been a good sleeper, but my CP has taken my sleep to a whole different level. Perhaps try some lavender. I find lavender to be a very relaxing scent. I have a spray that I use on my bed, as well as lotions & essential oils/aromatherapy, and even lavender tea! My favorite bed-time tea is chamomile-lavender, it is very relaxing. Sometimes relaxing music in the background helps me as well, or one of those white-noise machines, like Lindaloo suggested. I know you said that medications are not an option, but what about OTC supplements? Things like melatonin and valerian root are good for promoting sleep. Also, there is a blend of flower essences that can be found in a health food store, called "Rescue Remedy," it is completely natural & helps to relax you. They even have a special "sleep" blend.

Here's another thought: You said that you have difficulty sleeping unless someone else is sleeping next to you or in the same room as you. Do you have any pets? If you have a dog or cat, maybe you could have them sleep in your room or one your bed & perhaps that will comfort you enough to let you sleep. I live at home only on the weekends & so that is the only time I see my 3 dogs & 2 cats. I always find animals to be such great comfort. I miss them terribly during the week. The past several weeks, I've been having horrible nightmares, which has made my sleeping even worse. When I am home, usually my dog sleeps in my room (but not on my bed), while my family's two dogs sleep in my parents room. Last night, one of the dogs desperately wanted to come into my room. She knew that I had been/was very upset, & she is extremely sensitive. Well, she slept in my arms the entire night (and we're talking a big 70-80+ lb dog!), and I swear, I slept the best that I have in months. I didn't have a single bad dream (whereas, I took a 20 min nap this afternoon - back up at my week-day residence, and again, horrible dreams). I brought this up with my acupuncturist tonight & he said that my dog might have been blocking whatever "bad spirits" are bothering me. Now I don't know if you believe any of that stuff (I actually do, to at least some degree), but it's just a thought. It would be a warm, loving body in the same room as you, and not to mention, someone to play/snuggle with if you are still up in the wee hours of the morning!

Good luck! I hope you start sleeping soon & that your pain relief lasts you a lifetime!!

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