Living With Chronic Pain? A Weighted Blanket Could Be A Game-Changer.
To fight back pain, many people are turning to a natural solution to eliminate their pain: weighted blankets. Weighted blankets have a unique ability to use therapeutic pressure to reduce pain while improving our overall health.
Chronic pain affects over 20% of Americans.
Chronic pain has ties to high cortisol levels (chronic stress), low serotonin, and poor sleep.
Weighted blankets use deep touch pressure (DTP) to reduce cortisol, increase serotonin, and bring on pain-free sleep.
Did you know?
Low back pain is the most common cause of chronic pain, making up 27% of daily pain complaints.
Tension, aches, and pains, oh my! That’s a day in the life of the average American.
Sadly, the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that chronic pain affects 1 in every 5 Americans. From back pain to headaches, arthritis to fibromyalgia, we are suffering and missing out on living our most fulfilled lives due to poorly managed, lingering pain.
To fight back, many people are turning to a cozy solution to eliminate their pain: weighted blankets. Weighted blankets have a unique ability to use therapeutic pressure to reduce pain while improving our overall health – all while we’re sleeping!
Let’s learn more about the science of weighted blankets and how this simple fix could help you conquer your chronic pain for good.
The Chronic Pain Epidemic
Pain is about as individual a condition as they come – we all have different sources and experiences of our pain. Also known as fibromyalgia, the nagging discomfort of chronic pain can stem from old injuries, posture, habits, medical conditions, overuse, or even stress.
Left untreated, chronic pain can eventually begin to take over our quality of life. Our sleep suffers and we notice brain fog or trouble concentrating at work. Our emotional health takes a hard hit as well; chronic pain increases our stress levels and can make us feel more edgy, irritable, and even depressed.
To treat chronic pain, many people resort to taking over-the-counter pain relievers daily or seeking out costly surgeries. In some cases, these interventions can be helpful and even necessary. In other cases, however, there are more natural and side-effect-free ways to improve your health and beat pain.
How to use weighted blankets for pain relief
One of the easiest, most comfortable ways to combat chronic pain is with the power of weighted blankets. Research shows that weighted blankets can work in unison with your other pain-relief techniques to drastically reduce and improve a variety of pain conditions.
Release tension: Throughout our busy days, stress and tension can cause bound-up muscles and tense joints. This rigidity increases our pain and can even cause increased wear and tear on our body. Sometimes we hold on to this tension, even after falling asleep (ever noticed a sore jaw after clenching your teeth all night?).
Once you slip under your weighted blanket, you’ll feel an immediate release. The weight of the blanket signals to your brain and body that it’s time to relax. The weighted blanket relaxes our mind and muscles to allow for a full-body release.
Improve sleep: Deep sleep is necessary for our bodies to fully heal and restore. Without proper sleep, your aches and pains will take longer to heal and you’re at a higher risk of re-injuring yourself. Better sleep can mean less pain over time.
More trouble arises when your pain actually prevents you from getting a good night’s sleep in the first place. Not only are you missing out on the rest and healing you desperately need, but your sensitivity to pain increases after a night of poor sleep. Weighted blankets help you sleep better, longer, and with less pain all night long so you can wake up refreshed and comfortable.
Reduce stress: Stress and pain are closely tied. An increase in pain often leads to increased stress and vice versa. One of the best pain management techniques is focusing on stress relief. Weighted blankets are proven to reduce stress, balance hormones, and encourage better mental health. Weighted blankets have so much to offer us when it comes to reducing pain. But how do they work? It all comes down to one special therapeutic action: Deep touch pressure therapy.
How to use weighted blankets for pain reliefThe ideal weighted blanket can help your back pain significantly with the therapeutic effect of an evenly distributed weight over your body. The ideal weight of a weighted blanket should be around 10% of your body weight, so you should start from that weight and adjust accordingly if you prefer a heavier blanket. Keep the weighted blanket on top of your regular bedding so that the weighted filling inside the blanket applies a gentle pressure to your back while you sleep.
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Dive Into DTP: Deep Touch Pressure
Deep touch pressure therapy is the science behind our cozy, pain-busting blankets. Research shows that DTP can be helpful in many ways, from reducing our anxiety to improving our sleep, and even in preventing pain.
With DTP, it all comes down to hormone regulation. Our sense of pain, stress, and emotional imbalance can often stem from issues in our hormone production. There are two main ways that DTP helps us reach a better balance and beat chronic pain.
DTP reduces cortisol production: Cortisol is the main hormone involved in our notorious stress response. It is cortisol that helps our bodies react to stress and engage in the “fight or flight response.” While this response is helpful in keeping us out of danger, it poses some problems when it’s activated during our everyday life. This chronic release of cortisol leads to a perpetual state of stress, and a host of health issues, too.
Cortisol is closely tied to more sensitivity to pain and a lower pain threshold. Therefore, increased cortisol in the system leads to increased pain. Unfortunately, pain itself can cause the release of cortisol, leading to a troublesome cycle.
Thankfully, DTP has the power to stop this cycle in its tracks. Deep touch can recalibrate the body’s cortisol production and return it to more normal levels. This reduces our heightened pain levels and calms our minds, too. Less stress, less pain, win-win!
DTP enhances serotonin and oxytocin: Along with reducing cortisol levels, DTP also enhances our serotonin production. Unlike cortisol, an increase in serotonin makes us feel good, happy, and relaxed. When we have a good balance of serotonin in the body, we are more likely to sleep better and stress less, too.
Similarly, oxytocin also relieves pain and encourages that feel good sensation. Oxytocin is considered the “bonding” hormone as it’s released when we get a meaningful hug or spend time with our loved ones. DTP mimics these sensations to increase oxytocin and brighten our mood.
Low levels of serotonin often correspond with depression, increased pain sensitivity, and general malaise. By boosting our serotonin naturally with DTP, we perpetuate this feel-good cycle and release our pain and tension.
Pain Relief While You Sleep
When it comes to pain relief, there are many roads you can take. Pain is a very personal path and the remedies that work best for one person may not have a great effect for another.
There are, however, some common denominators amongst those with chronic pain - high cortisol, reduced serotonin, and lackluster sleep to name a few. Weighted blanket provide an easy-to-use, natural, and relaxing way to tackle these issues and beat your pain while you snooze away.
Cuddle up under your Napper for a fantastic night’s sleep and a fulfilling, pain-free life!