What You Can Do if You Wake Up in Pain

A huge thank you to the wonderful people over at http://www.sleephelp.org for contributing this topic to the blog. They have a very large catalog of information on sleep, ranging from mattress reviews to what to do if you area having trouble sleeping to simple tips for all ages. So if you have ever questioned whether you can improve your energy levels, pain levels, or sleep quality hop on over to their website!

Do you hurt when you wake up? Everyday aches and pains can seem so much worse in the morning. If this happens to you, you’re not alone. A lot of people wake up in pain. Sometimes, this pain gets better as you move through the day. Other times, you may feel like it never gets better.

You don’t just have to live with hurting when you wake. If you can determine why you wake up in pain, there’s almost always something you can do to make yourself feel better. Even some small changes can help you feel better every morning.

You’re Not Sleeping Well

The Problem: Sure, pain can wake you up at night and cause sleep disturbances, but did you know that not sleeping well can make your pain feel worse, too? It seems that sleep deprivation causes the brain to function differently, and these differences mean that you won’t be able to deal with pain as well. What might feel like a minor ache normally could feel like a stabbing wound if you haven’t slept.

The Solution: Figure out why you aren’t sleeping well, which may involve a visit to the doctor to see if you have an underlying sleep disorder, like sleep apnea, that causes you to get poor rest. Think, too, about your sleep environment. Is your bedroom dark, quiet, and the right temperature for sleep? You may also want to try turning off any electronic devices at least an hour before bedtime, avoid alcohol and rich foods in the evening, and try putting yourself on a stricter sleep schedule, so your body knows when it’s time to fall asleep at night.

Stressed man

Your Mattress Hurts You

The Problem: Your mattress needs to support your back properly. Which means that it keeps your spine in neutral alignment and does not twist, torque, or otherwise squash you into an unusual shape. If your back can’t maintain neutral alignment, it will probably hurt in the morning because it has been in an uncomfortable position all night.

The Solution: See if you can find a mattress that will work better for you. Most companies will now allow you to take a bed home and try it out for a certain number of days. This trial period can help you determine if a particular bed is going to help alleviate your back pain. Research shows that a medium-firm mattress may be your best aid when it comes to alleviating morning pain, but you should still try one for yourself.

Your Pain is Not Properly Treated or Managed

The Problem: If you have an underlying issue with your body that can cause pain, like an injury, wear and tear, or a medical condition, you need to make sure that you have the proper diagnoses, treatment, and pain management tools so you can get the rest you need. Otherwise, you may find that you consistently wake up in more pain than you were in before bed.

The Solution: Seek out medical treatment if a condition you know about hurts worse in the morning. You may need to see a chiropractor, your medical doctor, a physical therapist, or all three. Make sure that you have the right diagnosis and that your treatment is properly designed to help you improve.

Man Sleeping

You may also choose to learn how techniques for coping with pain, like meditation, breathing methods, and more. If nothing else helps, talk to your doctor about pain medication. It shouldn’t be your first choices, but it may be necessary for a while to help you wake up feeling better.

Pain upon waking can be anything from annoying to debilitating. Discomfort can get in the way of both everyday activities and connecting with the people you love. There’s almost always something you can do to help that pain, though. Take action today to determine what you can do to feel better, not only in the morning but all day long.


Plantar Fascitis

I have recently observed an uptick in the amount of people experiencing Plantar Fascitis or something similar. This issue is one that is very treatable. There are a couple of mechanisms that lead to the irritation of the Plantar Fascia including: too much strain (sudden heavy increase in activity or general over use), mechanics (high arches), and general wear down over time. As you can see below where the plantar fascia is located and how important it is to maintain foot health as various areas of our body can be thrown off if we don’t have a stable base.


Maintaining proper function of the foot and surrounding musculature can make a huge difference in overall leg health. We typically have an unconscious aversion to pain, which will persist even after the pain has subsided. The importance of this topic will be explored in next weeks blog.

We have many layers of fascia in our bodies that interweave with each other, and this is why the health of our Gastrocnemius and Soleus muscles in our lower leg is so important. When we walk these muscles combine to apply tension to the Achilles Tendon which, like the Plantar fascia, is connected to the Calcaneus. This means that any unnecessary tension in the calf can put additional strain and irritation on the Plantar fascia. This is where Graston technique and trigger point therapy can improve symptoms, relieve pain, and improve function!

You can call to schedule a consult with the office today to see what would be the best route of treatment for you!

Shoulder: Anterior/Posterior Dislocation

When it comes to dislocated shoulders the Anterior variety (forward), as opposed to Posterior (backwards) are the most common by a very large margin. This is most often due to the structure and the motions that are performed by the joint. It is possible to dislocate the Humerus Inferiorly (downwards), but that is very rare. Shoulders are one of the most commonly dislocated joints in the body, and thankfully is not a highly dangerous injury as long as it is dealt with promptly and properly. Below you can visualize a Normal (left), Anterior (middle), and Posterior (Right) dislocationDislocation

If you were to suffer this type of injury the outcome and recovery rate are typically improved with resetting as soon as possible. The longer that the joint is not set leads to ligaments and muscles being stretched which in turn leads to weakness of the joint and surrounding musculature. When a joint becomes dislocated it is more likely to become dislocated in the future due to this laxity and weakness.

When it comes to the treatment of this injury it is best to rest the affected arm and not place unnecessary stress on the joint. That is until the tissues have recovered to the point that stability and strengthening exercises can be performed. As stated before, once this injury happens it is more likely to occur again which is why it is imperative to take caution while recovering from this injury. Gentle Chiropractic treatment can assist in the healing process by ensuring that the joint is positioned properly. Another added benefit is that the muscles around the joint are relaxed and have improved function!

Shoulder: Rotator Cuff Tear

Welcome back! We often hear about how someone we know tore their rotator cuff while shoveling snow, playing a casual athletic event, or fell awkwardly while grabbing onto something stable. This is one of those injuries that everyone needs to know something about due to how prevalent it is.

One of the hallmarks of this condition is that it is typically a sudden onset of intense pain that can include pain down the arm. There will be a severe lack of ability to utilize this shoulder or have pressure applied to it. Without proper treatment, this pain will continue to worsen because the muscles/tendons will continue to become inflamed and damaged. Prolonged inflammation leads to additional damage of the tissues, not to mention increasing the amount of scar tissue that could be laid down once healing does start to take place.

rotator cuff SITS muscles

The image above demonstrates the locations of the muscles that are a part of the “rotator cuff”. As we read last week about the Supraspinatus, this muscle can often become impinged. It has the action of raising the arm above shoulder level. The supraspinatus plays a role in rotator cuff tears by preventing the arm from being raised above the head.  Infraspinatus and Teres Minor have the main action of external rotation of the arm. The easiest way to assess this motion on your own is to pin your elbow into the side of your rib cage/abdomen and rotate your hand away from your body. The inverse of this action (rotating your hand toward your midsection with elbow pinned is internal rotation and that is where the Subscapularis operates.

The Supra and Infraspinatus are the most commonly injured of the four muscles, somewhat from impingement and otherwise from excessive rotation with overhead motion. Like stated before, reducing inflammation is a large part of the treatment and healing process for this injury. Once pain and inflammation has reduced, then treatment shifts to strengthening, increasing range of motion, and increasing function in the positions that the shoulder will find itself in based on your specific needs. This is assuming surgery to repair is not required beforehand.

A big part of this condition is preventative strengthening, stretching, and care/maintenance. Monitoring and maintaining control of your shoulder during activity is one of the best ways to prevent this type of injury. Do not disregard minor pains like this. Chiropractic care can help maintain proper mobility to the area and assist the muscles by encouraging proper firing patterns.

Check back next week when we discuss Anterior and Posterior Dislocations!

Shoulder: Impingement Syndrome

Shoulder Impingement is something that is quite common just due to the nature of the shoulder joint. Considering that it is one of the most mobile joints in the entire body providing a large degree of movement in the 3 planes to varying degrees of involvement. Symptoms of Shoulder Impingement typically appear while your arm is elevated above your shoulder. This is due to the general structure of the shoulder joint and because it is so mobile that there is a higher possibility that soft tissues can become “impinged” between the skeletal structures. This is fairly common because there are a few different types or ways in which the Acromion process (muscular and ligament attachment point) develops. Some of these ways can cause people to become more prone to this type of pain. The good news is that this is treatable and manageable.Shoulder Anatomy Bursa Rotator Cuff Syndrome Health Panel Thevisualmd


As you can see above, the Acromion is very close to the top of your arm and can lead to  different soft tissues being pinched during activities with overhead arm movements. This can lead to one form of a rotator cuff tear which we typically hear of often and will be the topic of next weeks blog!


Treatment: Typical treatment of this type of injury includes ice, rest, gentle adjustments, therapeutic ultrasound, limiting movement, pain relief/NSAID suggestions from a Medical Doctor, and can reach a point where a steroid injection is necessary. As you can see there are more conservative options available if this issue is identified before too much damage has been caused. One of the big aspects to keep under control is the inflammation, this is because it is an issue that is made worse when there is reduced space to move and inflammation reduces said space.


Thanks for reading, and check back next week when we talk about Rotator Cuff tears!

Blog Schedule

Hello all, starting in September there will be weekly blog posts detailing different conditions and injuries that are fairly common. We wish to help you identify what can happen and what can be done to prevent or treat these occurrences.

Topics are as scheduled:

September- Shoulder

October- Elbow

November- Low back

December- Hip

January- Knee

February- Ankle


Comment below if there is a specific issue that you would like to hear about and it will be worked into the schedule! The current schedule is set up to prepare for the inevitable injuries that coincide with winter and the activities that go along with it.

Ergonomics and You

In preparing to write this “first ever blog entry” I had some fun trying to find an image to go along with the topic and found this one (above or below) because it posed multiple examples of what could cause pain with prolonged time spent in this work space. Before we continue, take a minute to identify as many examples as you can and then think about what you would do to alleviate the problem areas to benefit your own efficiency, comfort, and pain levels?

How many did you find? The main one that sticks out to me is that there is a laptop present and it is very close to where you would be sitting, not to mention how much neck flexion would be required to read what is on the screen with the angle that it is tilted. Other major items that I took note of (but aren’t limited to) include: static height monitors/chair, windows behind the monitors, desk height (in relation to chair), and non-swivel chair with a multiple monitor station.

A major item to keep in mind when working at a desk for long periods of time is “how often is my body not in a natural and relaxed position”. This includes rotating your head  or looking down instead either turning your body or shifting your eyes to to object of importance. It is these repetitions that can lead to chronic issues. Say if you had a second monitor on the right side of your main monitor and you found yourself rotating your head 20 or so times in 10 minutes for one project. The muscles in your neck that control right rotation would be getting a work out while the opposing muscles are repeatedly inhibited. It is a similar mechanism while sleeping on your stomach. Unless you have a special pillow, your head has to be turned to one side or the other.

A quality work space is one that allows you to have your feet flat on the ground, sitting straight up with lumbar arch support, key items within an arms reach, minimal unnecessary movement, standard back-lighting, and the ability to change layout periodically. Yes some movements and/or sitting/standing positions can’t be avoided, but being able to minimize one side of your body being used on a consistent basis while the other is being neglected can lead to the same areas of our backs/necks being a chronic low-grade pain. Being able to adapt to changing conditions is what our bodies are built for, it is best for us to have an environment that changes from time to time to keep us engaged and prevent stagnation. A simple example that provides great benefits are sit to stand desks. They allow for a significant boost to overall upper and lower back health by engaging muscles that are inhibited while we sit. This interaction reduces strain and improves joint function in the long term for those that tend to spend long periods of time at a desk.

What I would like for you to take away from this is to pay attention to things that you do every day like how you position yourself while driving, how you shift your weight while standing up from a seated position, how you carry yourself while working, or how you pick up your brick of a 50 pound dog.