Spondylitis Association of America

CPAP and Back Pain

Posted By: Windguy

CPAP and Back Pain - 01/11/19 02:52 PM


Wondering if anyone else has experienced this. I started using a CPAP (APAP) about a month ago. Most nights I wake up around 4 AM with severe midback pain, seems to be radiating from T8 ish. This outside the normal AS pain, but similar (maybe a little higher up the spine) than a flare up before I started Humira. Unlike the "traditional" flare-ups, my days get better and more functional with heat, stretching - and being out of bed. Kind of a pick your poison issue. The threat of apnea related issues along with sleep deprivation versus nasty pain and ... sleep deprivation.

Posted By: SouthernMoss

Re: CPAP and Back Pain - 01/11/19 03:36 PM

Before the APAP, were you a restless sleeper, moving around a lot in bed during the night? And is the APAP helping you sleep more soundly (up until the pain wakes you up)?

As you know, AS pain typically gets worse when you are still. So I'm thinking that if you are sleeping better now, you are probably not moving as much as you used to while sleeping. And if you are more still while you are sleeping, that may be what's causing the 4am pain.

I usually have to make one bathroom trip during the night, sometimes two. These trips actually help me sleep better because I get up and move during the night.

You need to discuss your issue with your rheumatologist and your sleep doctor. Maybe a muscle relaxer would help. Or a different sleeping position. Or a hot bath/shower right before bed.
Posted By: Windguy

Re: CPAP and Back Pain - 01/11/19 04:08 PM


Good questions. I had been and am still a very motionless sleeper. Rolling around in bed would often trigger some horrific spasms, causing full chest contractions and some shortness of breath. So, my body learned to stay-put, usually in a fetal position.

One thought postulated from my son was that I'm breathing more deeply and the flexure of rib cage might be aggravating nerve and tissue around forming/bridging osteophytes. I'm leaning this direction. Muscle relaxants not helping much, other than helping me nod off in a chair after I have to bail out of bed.

Oddly, my 0300 trip to the loo (frequent, but not always) hasn't happened since I began using the APAP.
Posted By: RAHMBA

Re: CPAP and Back Pain - 01/11/19 08:15 PM

Agree that this is important to talk with docs.

If I was waking up with spine pain, then I would increase chest expansion/flexibility activity during the day or at least before going to bed.

Hope this resolves quickly.

kind regards, Rich
Posted By: Windguy

Re: CPAP and Back Pain - 01/11/19 10:16 PM

Thanks Rich. Access to VA rheumy has to wait - that's the way it is. Did some searches on a CPAP site and found other similar complaints. Have been working on more chest stretching. Signed up for Qi Gong - should start this month, and Tai Chi in March. Gonna fly without CPAP tonight. See if I get through the night.
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