As a doctor one of the most heart-breaking things to treat is chronic pain. There is no simple solution, but anyone living with pain will tell you how much of an impact pain can have on every aspect of day to day life. Sadly, the Office Of National Statistics (ONS) suggest that 20% of us are affected by chronic pain. This can be anything from headaches, joint pains, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Restless Leg Syndrome, Chronic Kidney Disease and Fibromyalgia. If this is you, then I would encourage you to read on to see if a weighted blanket could help.
Medications definitely have a place when treating chronic pain but many healthcare professional are now promoting the use of non-medicinal, and side-effect free, treatments. More and more of us are trying to find natural solutions to help ease our pain and weighted blankets could offer a solution to a lot of people. Weighted blankets use therapeutic pressure to reduce pain whilst improving overall health.
What is Pain?
Pain is different for everyone, we all have different thresholds and different experiences. Intermittent discomfort or pain can come from old injuries, chronic medical conditions, posture, stress or after having children. However, left untreated, pain can mimic a black cloud and negatively impact sleep. Ask any new mum and they will tell you when you are unable to sleep, brain fog kicks in; difficulty focusing, prolonged reaction times as well as feeling more irritable and possibly depressed.
How can a weighted blanket help?
The evenly distributed weight when each blanket is placed over you, mimics Deep Pressure Therapy (DPT). Research shows that DPT can reduce anxiety, improve sleep and relieve pain. But how? Well, the pressure caused by the weighted blankets distracts your pain receptors away from the chronic pain and suddenly the feeling of a soothing pressure is the predominate sensation.
Where does Cortisol come in?
Cortisol is involved in our stress response which is very important for our ‘fight or flight response’. However, for everyday life this hormone varies during the day but when we are relaxing or sleeping it should be low. Unfortunately, when you are upset or in pain this hormone tends to stick around and leads to a state of perpetual stress. To make things worse Cortisol also increases your sensitivity to pain so it is very important to try and break the cycle of continually raised Cortisol.
The DPT created by a weighted blanket also reduces the stress hormone, Cortisol, which will helps you relax and rest. Ultimately, pain causes stress which increases your Cortisol levels but thankfully Deep Pressure Therapy can reduce the body’s Cortisol level and calm our minds; less stress, less pain!
But what about serotonin, well Deep Pressure Therapy enhances Serotonin. This is a good thing! We need Serotonin to make us feel good, happy and relaxed. Serotonin is also aids the production of Melatonin, which is a sleepy hormone we all need to relax and sleep.
During the day, tension can build up in our muscles and joints, and if we don’t wind down or relax properly we take this tension with us to bed – this can be in the form of teeth grinding, tension headaches or poor sleep. The use of a weighted blanket will relax your muscles and prevent you holding on to tension when you sleep. By sleeping well we allow our bodies to recover. We use less energy and muscle strength during the night if we sleep well; that’s why a good night’s sleep always makes things better! But many of you will be thinking – I can’t actually get to sleep because of my pain! Then why not try a weighted blanket like our pure grey version. It could help you sleep longer, better and ease your pain so you can actually feel recovered when you wake.
Pain Relief While you Sleep
Pain is very different for all of us, and each of us will take a very personal path; what works for one may not be right for the next person. However, we do know that reducing Cortisol, improving Serotonin production and good amounts of regular sleep will improve your symptoms. A weighted blanket provides a comforting natural way to achieve this whilst also improving your pain. Rest easy under our weighted blanket for a fuller, deeper nights’ sleep without pain.