Why does pain feel worse at night?

If you’ve ever dealt with a bad back or maybe a sore ankle, or some other nagging ailment, you may have wondered why it seems to feel worse once the sun goes down.

While there is some debate over this occurrence and there are some unique variables that could apply to different situations, there are two explanations that may explain what you are experiencing.

The first explanation is fairly obvious and you may have already guessed it. Doctors believe one reason pain can feel worse at night is because you aren’t distracted by anything, so the aches and pain you have been living with all day are more exaggerated.

The second explanation is more interesting. Your body produces a hormone called Cortisol. While this hormone is mostly known as the body’s main stress hormone that controls your “fight-or-flight” response, it can also act as an anti-inflammatory.

Your body usually produces a burst of Cortisol in the morning to help you wake up and then decreases the amount at night. Some experts believe that the decrease in cortisol may contribute to an increase in pain once the sun goes down.

A Little More: Cortisol also helps to regulate your blood pressure and blood sugar. If you have too much cortisol, you may have Cushing syndrome and if you have too little cortisol you may have Addison’s disease.

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