Bike Crash

Why Chronic Pain and Fatigue Spin Round and Round Like Spokes on a Wheel

By Jackie Manning, ARNP, Strive! Health and Rehabilitation

It’s a bit of a chicken and egg conundrum. Is the pain the cause of the fatigue, or is fatigue a separate issue making pain worse?

The link between pain and energy loss is clear.

Patients who experience chronic pain often report daytime fatigue. The low energy can be just as difficult to manage as the pain itself.  Research shows that restorative sleep can boost the healing process and improve energy.

How exactly does pain impact energy levels?

Chronic pain can lead to sleeplessness or poor sleep, which can quickly drain a person’s energy tank. Without fail, research consistently shows that chronic pain disrupts restorative sleep, and the lack of sleep causes increased pain upon waking. In other words, it becomes a vicious cycle. Beyond that, this lack of quality sleep can lower the pain threshold and tolerance, making the whole pain experience worse across the board. Our bodies require sleep to heal and repair. When we sleep well, our body experiences a positive domino effect of pain improvement, restored energy, and an immunity boost, which reduces the inflammation associated with injury or the source of pain.


DON’T OVERDO IT ON GOOD DAYS! This is one of our top recommendations. Overdoing it on the good days can be tough to resist, but it’s very important to heed this advice. While it’s a wonderful feeling to get that relief that offers such a strong sense of hope, remember that your body is still working extra hard to manage pain and heal. You still need to preserve your energy. Overdoing it will only start the cycle again and may even set you back. Learn your limits and respect them!

Keep moving

Like the tin man in the Wizard of Oz, stillness causes stiffness in muscles and joints that can turn to pain. Movement keeps our muscles stretched, strong and flexible and our joints lubricated.  Movements like walking and stretching are nature’s way of initiating the body’s own pain relievers—helping to regulate sleep patterns, improve immune function and keep up quality of life.

If moving hurts

At Strive, our team of specialists will get you moving! We offer a variety of therapies and services, including: Rehabilitation and Muscle Strengthening, Trigger Point Injections, Massage, Chiropractic Care, Medication, and Cognitive Behavioral Treatment. Since each person is unique in terms of specific needs, our team of specialists will work with you on an individual level to design a treatment plan.