Night Time Pain or Painsomnia & Treatment in New York City

Most all night time pain or painsomnia issues are rooted in Nerve, Bone, Muscle, Joint, Headache, Craniosacral Rhythm or Circadian Rhythm conditions that are treatable.  The information on this page should guide you to deeper information on the optimal treatment(s) aligned with the night time pain or painsomnia issues you are coping with. 


What is Night Time Pain or Painsomnia?

Having difficulty falling or staying asleep is common when you’re also coping with night time pain. Research has shown that night time pain can prevent your muscles and joints from sufficiently relaxing to fall and stay asleep. This condition is referred to as painsomnia, signifying insomnia caused by pain.  

Though painsomnia is not a clinical medical term, the condition is recognized as very real and is well researched.   Being mindful of how the rest and healing that comes with sleep revitalizes our bodies, quality sleep is vital for anyone also coping with night time pain.  However left untreated, painsomnia can give rise to sleep deprivation and start a vicious circle where pain keeps us awake.  That circle being:

  1. Pain sensations (tingling, burning, aching, burning) stimulates the nerves
  2. The nerves send pain signals activating brain activity
  3. This results in an inability to relax and people are kept awake by the pain and anxiety


The Prevalence & Impact of Night Time Pain or Painsomnia?

The Sleep Foundation is a team  of researchers,  psychologists,  physicians and other experts in sleep science.  A report from the Sleep Foundation determined “painsomnia” affects a large number of U.S. adults and concluded:

  • 94.8% of adults lost at least an hour of sleep to pain in the past week.
  • 85.1% of adults lost at least two hours of sleep to pain each night.
  • On average, night time pain costs adults 51 minutes of sleep each night.
  • People coping with pain at least one night a week average sleeping 6.7 hours nightly.
  • 57% of those experiencing pain wake up 3 times during a night’s sleep.
  • Back pain is the most common night time pain, accounting for over 56% of adults who lost sleep to pain.

The Sleep Foundation determined back pain to be the most common night time pain to wake people up, followed by neck pain, then head pain and then knee pain. The Sleep Foundation also lists headaches, fibromyalgia and post-surgery pain as additional barriers to sleep.  

If you’re experiencing night time pain, you tend to toss and turn in bed searching for a more comfortable position—which in itself disrupts your ability to get deep restful sleep.  Furthermore, it’s easier to fall and stay asleep if you’re psychologically comfortable, and night time pain can keep you on edge. Left untreated long enough, night time pain or painsomnia can disrupt your body’s natural clock, the circadian rhythm, and make you feel fatigued in the middle of the day or and keep you wide-awake at night. 

The Vicious Circle of Night Time Pain or Painsomnia

Almost 90% of people coping with arthritis have trouble sleeping, commonly due to “painsomnia”, a term to describe insomnia due to chronic pain, and in this case joint pain and stiffness. Painsomnia can also erode a person’s mental health and quality of life.  In the case of arthritis,  research indicates that losing sleep can worsen arthritis and launch a vicious circle where: Poor sleep causes the brain to experience fatigue, which in turn reduces the central nervous system’s ability to manage and dampen pain signals. In sum and as result, existing pain feels more severe which makes falling to sleep even more difficult.  

Night time pain need not be chronic or extreme to be disruptive to your sleep.   Even mild intermittent pain can be sufficiently discomforting making it difficult to fall and remain asleep – and when you do, that sleep may be less restorative due to the pain. 

Any kind of night time pain can worsen insomnia and disrupt sleep; with the lack of sleep extending and increasing the amount of pain experienced – completing the vicious circle. Research has thoroughly documented how sleep deprivation affects our ability to manage pain and it’s also a bidirectional relationship: pain impacts sleep; however, sleep also impacts pain. 


Why Aches & Pain at Night Can Be Worse

Common causes of muscle cramps or body aches and pain can be worse at night include:

  • Hormone levels – the body’s production of cortisol (an anti-inflammatory hormone) declines to its lowest point at around midnight, resulting in more discomfort for certain ailments
  • Sleep position – laying in one fixed position for continuous hours can result in stiff joints and sleeping on your stomach can strain your back 
  • Circadian Rhythm: Research indicates pain may follow a circadian rhythm (the body’s internal clock) regulating our sleep-wake cycle which accounts for ∼80% of the complete magnitude of pain sensitivity, and that sleep-related component accounts for the remaining ∼20%


Types Of Night Time Pain or Painsomnia & Effective Treatments

Common night time pain symptoms that contribute to painsomnia are tingling, burning, or aching sensations – intermittently or in waves throughout the night.  The most common types of aches and pains leading to painsomnia, along with their accompanying treatment(s) are:

Nerve Pain: can be experienced as ‘pins and needles’, or a burning or tingling sensation, caused by injury to a single sensory nerve, such as what’s experienced with carpal tunnel syndrome, or your vagus nerve (an irritated or pinched vagus nerve can produce neck pain, increase headaches, cause digestive and abdominal issues and more), or a group of  pinched or irritated motor nerves (muscle weakness, cramps, uncontrollable muscle twitching)Click here to learn how I treat carpal tunnel syndrome, and here to learn how I treat vagus nerve associated pain, and here to learn about motor nerve treatment

Muscle Pain: can be experienced as a random sharp pain or a steady ache, all over a region of the body or in a precise area. Muscle cramps can stem from injuries such as herniated disks (back pain), or slight curvature of the spine issues like spinal stenosis and scoliosis. Myofascial trigger point therapy quickly eliminates muscle pains, increases range of motion, improves blood circulation, and retrains muscles to operate efficiently to reduce chances of pain and strain returning. Click here to learn how I treat muscle pain with myofascial trigger point therapyThrough the course of a night fibromyalgia can cause stiff muscle pain as well.   Click here to learn how I treat fibromyalgia


Bone Pain:  a deep penetrating pain that worsens with movement of the bone. Previous injury or an infection can lead to bone pain discomfort.  Even menopause rooted hormone deficiencies can lead to bone pain. Bone rubbing against bone due to a misalignment or the gradual wearing down of cartilage in the joints (osteoarthritis) can cause swelling and pain. Chiropractic care can help improve muscle and joint function and thereby reduce the symptoms associated with osteoporosis.

Joint Pain: arthritis and other chronic conditions can lead to joint pain.   Remember, while moving around in the daytime fluids are lubricating your joints.  But this natural  lubrication of the joints declines at night and may even swell up. If you’re coping with joint pain and or inflammatory arthritis, chiropractic care coupled with craniosacral therapy is a non-pharmacological treatment to reduce your pain,  retool and revitalize body systems,  and is essential to healing and eliminating the underlying causes of joint pain.   My chiropractic / craniosacral treatment to resolve joint pain focuses on improving the functioning of your:

  • Circulatory System
  • Immune System
  • Musculoskeletal System

 Click here to learn how I treat joint pain. 

Headaches: cluster headaches or migraines can occur at night. Craniosacral Therapy is a non-invasive treatment focusing on the link between the cranium (or head), and sacrum (the bone at the base of your spine) addressing abnormalities of fluid flow along with membranes connected to both the cranium and sacrum.  Because Craniosacral Therapy centers on all the structures involved with migraine headaches (the head, spine, muscles, fascia (connective tissue), and nerves – Craniosacral Therapy is well founded and positioned to effectively treat migraine headache pain. Click here to learn how I treat migraine headaches with craniosacral therapy.

Craniosacral Rhythm: Craniosacral function pumps fluid throughout the body, called Cerebro-Spinal Fluid, which is directly tied to the lymphatic system. A compromise within this system can lead to a lack of fluid mobility throughout the body causing muscle tightness and pain. Which contributes to the onset of Painsomnia.

Circadian Rhythm: Craniosacral therapy can have a positive effect on the body’s hormonal system and provides space within the cranial bones which support the pineal gland’s function. The pineal gland is a small endocrine gland located in the brain. It produces and secretes the natural hormone melatonin. This hormone helps regulate our body’s biological rhythms, including our sleep and wake cycles.  As noted earlier, Research indicates pain may follow a circadian rhythm the body’s internal clock regulating our sleep-wake cycle accounts for ∼80% of the complete magnitude of pain sensitivity, and that sleep-related component accounts for ∼20%. Click here to learn how I treat insomnia and revitalize your Circadian Rhythm with craniosacral therapy.

If you’re experiencing night time pain or painsomnia,  rest assured that you’re not alone.  You don’t have to live with this uncomfortable situation that can make life miserable. Chiropractic care and craniosacral therapy will not only resolves this problem but also improve your overall health.   The first step to bettering things is with a conversation, so feel free to call me, inform me of your circumstances and I will share with you if and how I can be helpful.

About Dr. Kaminsky & Craniosacral Therapy

Dr. Kaminsky is a 1999 graduate of the University of Bridgeport College of Chiropractic. He is licensed to practice in NY and has completed close to three thousand hours of professional continuing education since becoming licensed in March of 2000.

The primary approach used in his office is Craniosacral Therapy (CST) which is a method focusing on the cranium (head) and sacrum (a large bone at the base of the spine) scientifically proven to control life sustaining fluid flow throughout the body.

Craniosacral Therapy is a gentle, non-invasive, hands-on manual therapy approach that brings about healing via the fluidity of the body. The existence of the Craniosacral System was first discovered by Osteopath Dr. William Sutherland in the early 1900’s, calling it Cranial Osteopathy.  And later rediscovered, validated, and developed by Dr. John Upledger in the late 70’s early 80’s, who renamed it Craniosacral Therapy after doing five years of research at the Michigan State University, School of Medicine. In 1983 Dr. John, as he was fondly called, established a teaching institute in Palm Beach, Florida, to teach this cranial sacral method to all healthcare providers. The Upledger Institute is still very active today.

The craniosacral mechanism pumps fluid which is produced in the brain, called cerebro-spinal fluid (CSF), through the fascial network of the body, the purpose of which is to lubricate joints, muscles, organs, all cells and all tissues. It is the driving life force for your body’s systems to function properly, CSF also carries healing properties to bodily traumas, injuries and past surgeries.

The proper function of your cranial sacral mechanism, via CSF flow, maintains the normal tone of your muscles, provide nutrients to your organs, and keeps you out of pain. It sustains human life and allows your nervous system to stay responsive to challenges of daily living and your mind-body life experiences. The better your craniosacral mechanism functions, the better the flow of this life sustaining fluid, the better your body can handle physical and emotional stress. The uninhibited flow of this fluid throughout your body allows you to thrive, opposite of survival mode.

CSF is part of the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS) brain and spinal cord), which is physically encapsulated within the dural membranes of the spine and head.

One of the functions inside of your brain is to automatically generate energetic rhythmic impulses that function to pump CSF throughout your body, regulating your peripheral nerves, nervous system and organ systems, which in turn, sustain your function (physiology) and life. It is an important force that maintains everything functioning in your body. This is what we call the Craniosacral System, or Craniosacral Mechanism. It is the hydraulic, energetic and rejuvenating system of your body.

This measurable life force of moving fluid is palpable to a trained craniosacral therapist, like the heart rhythm, pulse rhythm, breathing rate, that can all be felt, so too can the Cranial Sacral Rhythm (CSR) be palpated and measured. It is the foundational diagnostic tool in real-time used to evaluate your current state of well-being (or lack thereof), and potential for health improvement and healing.

Compromises of your rhythmic impulse, correlates to CSF flow restrictions in the system which the body is unable to self-correct or overcome on its own. This is the reason why over time we develop pain, dis-ease, symptoms, conditions, mind-body disconnect and basically all human physical and psychological ailments.

When the fluid isn’t flowing optimally, your bodily rejuvenation is affected, and this is where the skill of an experienced craniosacral therapist becomes valuable. By placing his or her hands on your body, most commonly on your head and sacrum, for diagnostic purposes, the practitioner can detect, feel, evaluate, and rate the SSQAR (strength, symmetry, quality, amplitude, rate) of the rhythm; then bring forth correction of any limitations with subsequent experienced hand placements on different parts the body during a session.

A craniosacral therapist helps your rhythm reset, restore and renew allowing for healing to take place of the mind-body connection, musculoskeletal tightness and spasms, neurological deficits, autoimmune issues, organ function, many common conditions, and of course pain. Through a practitioners properly focused and attuned touch, your body is facilitated to release channels of fluid stagnation and flow restriction, which ultimately breakthrough, overcome and improve CSR and the function of vital fluid flow.

Dr. Alex Kaminsky is an advanced practitioner of Craniosacral therapy, having studied up to advanced levels including SER and pediatric courses. He has built a solid foundation with many years of experience, treating babies, children and adults.

To learn more, visit the other pages on this website. Call to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kaminsky.