Exploring the Causes of Increased Pain at Rest

Pain is a common and often debilitating symptom that can significantly impact a person’s quality of life. While pain can be caused by a variety of factors, increased pain at rest can be particularly concerning as it may suggest underlying health issues that require medical attention.

In this article, we will explore the potential causes of increased pain at rest and discuss potential treatment options.

What Causes Pain at Rest?

There can be many reasons why you are experiencing pain at rest. Nerve damage or irritation can lead to pain at rest, especially if it is caused by swelling or inflammation in a nearby body part. When the body is active, increased blood flow can help alleviate nerve pain especially since nerves thrive off blood flow. However, during periods of rest, blood flow tends to decrease, which may lead to nerve pain becoming more noticeable and prominent.

Hormonal changes can also be a cause. Your hormone levels change as you prepare for sleep. For example, cortisol levels—the stress hormone—rise during the day as we go about our activities. But at night, these levels drop as we prepare for sleep. This can lead to increased pain sensitivity, as the body is no longer in fight or flight mode. 

Another problem that can lead to pain at rest is powerful blockages which prevent the muscles from getting enough oxygen. Compression fractures, severe swelling, and blood clots can cause this.

Additionally, long-term illness or injury that has not healed correctly can often cause pain at rest. Other causes include::

  • hormone deficiencies
  • bone cancer
  • fibromyalgia
  • nerve injury
  • muscle strain
  • Tendonitis
  • bursitis

Also, chronic pain can be caused by nerve injury or emotional strain. This is known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS). CRPS can lead to various psychological problems, including depression and anxiety.

How Does Pain at Rest Differ From Pain During Activity?

Pain during activity is quite straightforward—the pain you feel when doing something, like exercising or going about your day-to-day tasks.

Pain at rest, on the other hand, is a bit more nuanced. This pain is usually worse when sitting or lying down and can last for hours or even days after you’ve been active. In some cases, pain during activity can worsen with continued activity.

It’s essential to understand the differences between these two types of pain, as they can require different treatment methods. If you’re experiencing pain at rest, talk to your doctor about the best way to manage it.

Strategies for Preventing and Coping With Pain at Rest

Living with chronic pain can be difficult and frustrating, but there are strategies to help you cope with it. It’s important to remember that the best way to prevent or manage pain is through lifestyle changes, exercise, and healthy eating habits. Taking 30 minutes a day to exercise can boost your pain tolerance and help reduce the intensity of your symptoms. Additionally, relaxation techniques such as yoga or meditation can be beneficial for relieving stress and helping you relax.

In terms of traditional treatments, therapies are available to manage pain at rest, such as medications, physical therapies, and complementary therapies like acupuncture, massage therapy, or chiropractic care. Make sure to talk to your healthcare provider about all the options available so you can make an informed decision about the best treatment plan for you.

The Benefits of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can increase circulation to an injured area and help reduce or prevent discomfort and disability. It can also strengthen the surrounding muscles, which will give more support to the injury, helping to lessen chronic pain.

Physical therapy not only helps to alleviate your current pain, but it can also reduce the likelihood of future injury. An individualized physical therapy plan will target your specific injuries and requirements, providing you with personalized exercises that may prevent deterioration. 

A physical therapist will prescribe exercises intended to build muscle strength, improve flexibility, and increase coordination. In addition, manual techniques such as massage may be used to reduce tissue tension and promote blood flow to the area.

Your physical therapist can also identify any positions or activities that may cause the pain to worsen or lessen. This can help them determine the best path of treatment for your condition. Depending on what they discover from this initial assessment, they may recommend different types of therapy or further diagnostic testing.


When it comes to pain, it’s essential to listen to your body and take the time to understand the underlying causes. Ignoring pain can make it worse, so if you’re experiencing pain at rest, it’s crucial to talk to your doctor and seek treatment.

Physical therapy is an excellent option for treating pain, and our team at Cawley Physical Therapy and Rehab can help you get relief and get back to your everyday life.

If you need to consult with us, feel free to email us at cawleyptfrank@gmail.com or call 570-208-2787.