Suffering from chronic pain? Weighted blanket for pain relief, can it help? What are the benefits of weighted blankets for pain relief?
If you or someone you know is suffering from a condition causing chronic pain, like fibromyalgia, you have likely explored many options for helping to manage it. In this article, we will discuss what fibromyalgia is and how the effects and benefits of a weighted blanket are applicable to managing it.
Table Of Contents
Fibromyalgia: Suffering from chronic pain
Fibromyalgia is a health condition that causes widespread chronic pain around the body. This pain is usually accompanied by other symptoms such as:
- Severe fatigue
- Problems with memory or difficulty concentrating
- High sensitivity to pain, in certain areas and in general
- High sensitivity to hot and cold temperatures
- Sleep problems and insomnia
- Digestive problems
There are also many more health problems linked with fibromyalgia, including depression and anxiety. These could be a part of the condition, and they may also develop as a result of the fatigue, stress, and difficulties that chronic pain causes.
The severity of the pain experienced and its effects on daily life can vary widely. Some people may experience only relatively mild pain that they can manage with treatment, while others may suffer incapacitating pain that severely limits the activities they can do in their daily life.
Although the pain that it causes is very real, it is important to know that fibromyalgia does not directly cause physical damage to a person’s body, making it difficult to tell from appearances alone that someone is suffering from its symptoms. The invisible nature of the condition makes it more difficult for some people to seek help and treatment for it.
Fibromyalgia is still not fully understood and can be difficult to diagnose. It is not known exactly how many people may suffer from it, but it is thought that it could affect up to 1 in 20 individuals, which would make it a very common health condition. It is more common in women and in older adults and is usually diagnosed in middle age, but anybody can be affected by it, including children.
Weighted blanket for pain relief: can it help?
The Science Behind Weighted Blankets & Pain Relief
This recent study by the United States Association for the Study of Pain (USASP) reports that “widespread pressure from a weighted blanket can reduce the severity of chronic pain, offering an accessible, home-based tool for chronic pain”.
The same study, that monitored 94 individuals affected by chronic pain sleeping with a 6.8kg weighted blanket for 1 week, shows also that the 15lb (6.8kg) weighted blanket (like Relixiy), “produced significantly greater reductions in broad perceptions of chronic pain” relative to the lighter weighted blanket. Those results were markedly evident, especially for the more anxious patients.
The Relixiy weighted blanket for fibromyalgia has the best weight for chronic pain relief, making it ideal for adults and teenagers seeking a home-based, nondrug therapy for chronic pain relief.
Weighted Blanket For Pain Relief
So, what are weighted blankets for and how could they help you with managing pain and fibromyalgia?
As the name suggests, a weighted blanket is much heavier than a normal blanket. They are designed to take advantage of deep touch pressure, or deep pressure stimulation, which is pressure applied evenly across your body that then induces feelings of calm and helps to improve the quality of your sleep.
Put simply, it is the same feeling you would experience when being hugged or when having a massage, and it prompts your body and mind to begin relaxing and to release chemicals that reduce stress.
A weighted blanket for pain relief can also be used during the day, for example when you want to relax on the sofa, and will give the same beneficial effects.
Another thing to note is that each blanket is designed to suit the weight of the person using them, ensuring that it is comfortable and that the user can experience the effect properly. It is important to find a blanket with the correct size and weight for you.
Weighted blankets are known to provide great benefits to people with health problems such as anxiety and insomnia, as well as to healthy people who use them to help relieve stress and sleep better.
Deep touch pressure also prompts your body to begin producing mood-boosting chemicals such as dopamine and serotonin, which in addition to relieving stress and helping you sleep, just help you to feel happier and more at ease in general.
In addition to all of these beneficial effects, weighted blankets for pain relief, thanks to their soothing effect, can help manage chronic pain, and therefore they could be a very useful tool for helping you manage a health condition such as fibromyalgia.
weighted blanket Benefits: Pain Management and mental health
A weighted blanket can help in many ways to relieve the symptoms of fibromyalgia and chronic pain. Let’s have a look more in detail at the benefits it can have for managing pain and other problems caused by fibromyalgia.
As your body is covered securely under the blanket, the hug-like sensation and the feeling of security signals to your brain and nervous system that it is okay to let its guard down and relax.
This is especially helpful for people who experience a lot of stress in their daily life, as people with chronic pain are more likely to, and who have trouble keeping themselves calm enough at night to get themselves to sleep.
There are a lot of reasons for this effect, but for people with fibromyalgia, perhaps the most important aspect is the increased production of serotonin.
Serotonin: feel happier
The calming pressure that is applied by a weighted blanket for fibromyalgia signals the brain to produce serotonin, which is a hormone that boosts mood, while simultaneously reducing the production of cortisol, the stress hormone that your brain produces when it feels threatened. Melatonin is also produced, which helps you to sleep properly.
The production of these hormones is of great importance as it has been found that people with fibromyalgia very often have low levels of serotonin and dopamine, another happiness hormone, and these hormones also play a part in the processing of pain signals.
Boosting your serotonin levels may have a great effect on lessening the levels of pain you experience both at night and during the day.
Can help reduce chronic pain caused by fibromyalgia
It is a known fact that using a weighted blanket for pain relief will help you to feel better, and this is also one of the main reasons why these blankets are quite popular for people affected by this illness.
How can a weighted blanket help reduce pain from fibromyalgia? Thanks to its soothing effects, a weighted blanket for pain relief will stimulate the release of calming and happy chemicals that will signal your nervous system to relax. As a result, the pain caused by fibromyalgia will be reduced and you will also feel happier.
Your mind will relax and, thanks to the naturally released chemicals, such as serotonin, will stop focusing on pain. It is a known fact that distracting your mind can reduce the feeling of pain, so much so that in some cases this can be used in hospitals for children as the so-called “clown therapy”.
Improved sleep quality
As well as helping with the production of the important sleep-regulating hormones serotonin and melatonin, a weighted blanket for pain relief also provides the calmness and feeling of security needed to get a good night’s sleep.
It is thought that trouble sleeping could possibly be one of the causes of fibromyalgia rather than just being one of the symptoms. If this is true, improving your sleep could be one of the most important steps in managing the condition.
Even for people without fibromyalgia, a lack of sleep is linked with a magnified perception of pain and lower pain tolerance. So, getting a good night’s rest can lower the amount of pain and other symptoms that you experience during the day, making going about your daily activities much easier.
Reducing fatigue and fibro fog
Sleeping well is also important for another reason. A common symptom that people with fibromyalgia have to deal with is extreme fatigue. This type of fatigue is worse than regular tiredness and does not go away even after a good rest. It makes a person feel not only physically exhausted, which makes it more difficult to exercise and carry out daily tasks, but also mentally exhausted.
The mental fatigue from fibromyalgia is commonly known as fibro fog or brain fog. It involves memory problems, difficulties with concentrating, and a general loss of mental clarity.
A lack of quality sleep very likely plays a role in this fatigue. It can be very difficult for a person with fibromyalgia to fall asleep, and when they do their rest is frequently interrupted by pain. When the quality of your sleep is low enough, even a full night of sleep will not be enough to feel properly rested.
So, if you find that using a weighted blanket for pain relief at bedtime helps, you will be able to fall asleep more easily and it is likely that the quality of your sleep will rise dramatically, helping you to wake up feeling much more well-rested. This will have a great impact on reducing the fatigue caused by the condition.
The increased sensitivity to pain and other sensations that people with fibromyalgia experience often extends to temperature as well. Temperatures much higher or lower than normal may cause great discomfort and can cause the main symptoms of the condition to flare up. Some people only experience this for one temperature extreme, such as during either the hot summer months or the cold winter months, while others are badly affected by both heat and cold.
If you are very sensitive to temperature changes, you may be worried that a heavy blanket would be too hot for you to use, whether during the summer or even at any time of year. However, weighted blankets for adults are not necessarily any hotter than a regular blanket, though it depends on the materials that the blanket is composed of. Most weighted blankets are made of breathable fabrics that allow ventilation, regulate your temperature, and prevent you from getting too hot or too cold. Rather than being too hot, a weighted blanket may be perfect for ensuring that your temperature sensitivity does not disturb your sleep.
Helping with anxiety and depression
As previously mentioned, chronic pain can cause a lot of anxiety and also increases the risk of depression. When a person feels anxious it can cause an escalation of stress hormones, which for people with fibromyalgia can lead to a cycle where their anxiety causes their symptoms to worsen even further. Though there is no easy solution for these problems, weighted blankets have been shown to decrease anxiety in both healthy people and people with health conditions, and by lowering the levels of stress hormones and increasing the levels of hormones that reduce anxiety and raise mood, they can improve your sleep and reduce pain, which further helps to break out of the cycle and helps to combat depression.
What causes Fibromyalgia?
The root causes of fibromyalgia are not known with certainty. It is thought to be related to the nervous system and the way that it processes pain, as well as the levels of certain chemicals within the brain. For example, many people with fibromyalgia have been found to have very low levels of serotonin and dopamine. Genetics also seem to play a part, perhaps making some people more likely than others to develop the condition, and a person is at much higher risk of developing fibromyalgia if they have a family history of it.
The beginning of the symptoms are well known to be often triggered by stressful and traumatic events in a person’s life, such as a serious injury or the loss of a loved one, and it may also be triggered by another physical health condition or by an infection. For some people, it develops without any clear trigger.
The Other treatments for fibromyalgia
Sadly, there is currently no known cure for fibromyalgia. However, there are a variety of ways that fibromyalgia can be treated and managed. These treatments can vary highly for each person with fibromyalgia, as some treatments that are helpful to one person may not work well for another. They generally include:
- Exercise. For those experiencing the pain associated with the condition, doing exercise might not seem like something desirable. However, regular exercise is considered one of the most effective treatments for reducing pain and improving daily life. It may be difficult to begin, but exercise will increase the brain’s production of chemicals that reduce pain and stress, which also improve sleep and reduce the risk of depression. This is extremely beneficial for improving pain and other symptoms. Exercise is also very important for reducing extreme fatigue which is common for people with chronic pain. Care should be taken, but most forms of mild and moderate exercise are safe for people with fibromyalgia.
- Painkillers, antidepressants, and other medication. It goes without saying that painkillers can have a great effect on reducing chronic pain, though they can be less effective for some people, and they may have unpleasant side effects. Antidepressants are also used, even if the person taking them is not depressed. This is because they raise the levels of the chemicals in the brain that people with fibromyalgia usually have low levels of, and which help to reduce the pain and other symptoms experienced. Of course, they also help to combat depression, which people with fibromyalgia are at higher risk of.
- Other lifestyle changes and therapies. This could include counseling, cognitive behavioral therapy, other types of psychological support, physical therapies or special exercise plans, and learning relaxation techniques. Some people may also find other treatments such as acupuncture and massages to be helpful, though it is not yet certain how beneficial these actually are.
There are also many other adjustments that could be made to daily life to help with managing fibromyalgia. Using a weighted blanket for fibromyalgia is one of these.
should you buy a weighted blanket for pain relief?
The known benefits of weighted blankets are very applicable to the problems that fibromyalgia causes, and using one can certainly help you to improve your sleep, relieve stress and reduce the symptoms you experience, both at night when you’re sleeping and during your daily life.
In conclusion, a weighted blanket for pain relief is the perfect companion to reduce your symptoms caused by fibromyalgia, so you may want to buy one and start enjoying its benefits right now!
Choosing the best weighted blanket for Pain relief
If you are considering purchasing a weighted blanket to help with pain relief and fibromyalgia, it is important to do your research so that you can find a blanket that suits you and any health conditions you may have.
How heavy should a weighted blanket be? A weighted blanket should be about 10% of your body weight in order to have the desired effect and should not be larger than the bed you will be using it on, as the weight of any part of the blanket hanging downwards will cause it to feel heavier.
The blanket must also be light enough for you to take it off of yourself without any assistance. Our handy weighted blanket weight calculator can help you to make the best choice.
The materials the blanket is made of should also be taken into account. As mentioned previously, those who are sensitive to high temperatures should make sure to buy a blanket made with cooler, breathable fabric.
If you think that a weighted blanket may be of help to you with chronic pain and fibromyalgia, at Relixiy we have high-quality weighted blankets designed to help with pain relief and fibromyalgia available in the UK on our online store.