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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

How to break the vicious circle of pain and insomnia
About the author: 
Bryan Hubbard

How to break the vicious circle of pain and insomnia image

People who are in constant pain from conditions such as back problems, fibromyalgia and arthritis are in a vicious circle when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep: sleep helps them manage the pain, but they worry that the pain will keep them awake, and they’re more likely to sleep badly.

The way to break the circle is to use therapies such as cognitive-behavioural therapy (CBT), say researchers from the University of Warwick. They discovered that people in pain are less likely to sleep well if they believe they won’t, and the lack of sleep just adds to the pain levels and their ability to cope.

Essentially, they suffer from bad sleep or insomnia just because they think they will, say the researchers, who assessed the sleeping habits of four groups of people who were suffering from long-term, chronic pain.

The patients’ sleeping patterns improved after they had a short course of CBT for the pain and insomnia.


References

(Source: Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 2016; 12: 1269)

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