Pain that only strikes at night
July 4, 2006 3:44 PM   Subscribe

Pain that strikes only at night ?

So this is a medical question, that I always wanted to know
the answer to - just say you were walking along the street and fell and happened to hurt your leg. How come you might only feel pain in the leg at night an no other time. I though the
whole nervous system relaxed at night ?
posted by jacobean to Health & Fitness (7 answers total)
I am not a doctor, and this is just a guess. When you are initially physically injured, endorphins affect the pain response. Later that day, the injured area may become increasingly inflamed. Inflammation creates swelling, and increased blood flow to the area. That in turn stimulates nerves and causes pain.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:12 PM on July 4, 2006

Not a medical doctor, but maybe you feel pain because it DOES relax at night. Pressure on the leg during the day may keep you from feeling it, but once you're off your feet, the throbbing starts.
posted by annieb at 4:13 PM on July 4, 2006

You mean like in bed, falling asleep? Maybe there's alot less to pay attention to. You might not notice it during the day, especially while you're walking down the street cause there is too much going on. At night it gets priority.
posted by amethysts at 7:17 PM on July 4, 2006

This is a really broad question with too many possible answers. If you want something other than gobly gook about your "nervous system" "relaxing"--which you can ignore--, you'll have to be more specific.
posted by 517 at 9:48 PM on July 4, 2006

Plantar fascitis hurts more if you've been sitting or lying down--although that isn't the issue here.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on July 4, 2006

One thing to consider is that you're not lying down most of the day, but you are when you get into bed. If by "only at night" you mean "only when lying down," the answers could be different.
posted by scarabic at 10:26 PM on July 4, 2006

Neurologists have long recognized this. We say that you feel the pain more at night because there's nothing else occupying your attention, but that's just a handwaving explanation; I don't know if it's true.

Certainly pain is "gated" via the same mechanisms that allow you to shift your attention from a loud TV to a conversation to an inward stream of thought.
posted by ikkyu2 at 10:07 AM on July 5, 2006

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