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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    Why is my boyfriend waking up with pain in his back and head and suffering insomnia?

    Ok, so every morning my boyfriend wakes up with bad pains every where - mostly back and head. How can we prevent this from happening?? He also doesn't sleep well some nights but he takes 2 sleeping tablets a night. Is it OK to take sleeping tablets regularly?
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    Helen Potter

    Physiotherapist

    As a Specialist Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist, with extensive experience and highly advanced qualifications, as well as excellent communication skills, I can help you to: Become informed … View Profile

    No one should need to take sleeping tablets apart from for a day or two in a crisis. They are addictive and you can develop a tolerance (where you need to take more and more).
    It would be best for your boyfriend to make an long consultation with his general practitioner to discuss ALL his pains and problems so that someone can assist him to work out if he needs investigations or to see a specialist about his pain or reasons for insomnia.

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    Located in Armadale and Doncaster, Dr Michael Black has an interest in childrens' health and pregnancy. He is passionate aout sharing the benefits of chiropractic … View Profile

    As Helen indicates, pain is a natural warning system and continuing pain must be investigated. I might suggest that if back and head pain is the primary symptom and this is preventing sleep, the issue may be related to poor bedding and pillow support, spinal and neck strain and a thorough postural and biomechanical examination with a chiropractor, osteopath, physiotherapist or myotherapist may be able to highlight if this is the case.

    The history, which we do not know, is all important in helping determine whether real insomnia or just difficulty sleeping due to musculoskeletal pain, exists and if medical care is indicated. While pain at night without any other history is always taken seriously and cannot be ignored, it may still be a simple and straight forward issue related to lack of support of the spine, occupational strain, nerve pressure and muscles adapting to the injury.

    Diagnosis starts with a comprehensive history and examination and I would find a practitioner, GP or other, who will listen with interest and start the examination process. 

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    Dr Irwin Lim

    Rheumatologist

    Irwin completed his Rheumatology training in 2003. The majority of his time is spent treating inflammatory arthritis and in particular rheumatoid arthritis and the spondyloarthritis. … View Profile

    From what you have written, it's hard to know.

    But, if he can fall asleep reasonably easily then wakes up in the early hours of the morning with spinal pain (ie  lower back, neck or mid back), that's a worrying symptom.

    If he has buttock pain and/or wakes with lot of stiffness, tending to improve in the course of the morning, he really will need to be assessed for inflammatory spinal disorders, such as Ankylosing Spondylitis.

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