If you suffer from chronic pain, make sure you get plenty of sleep, say researchers from Boston Children’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, who found that sleep loss increases pain sensitivity. Can’t get more sleep? Then drink a cup of coffee, which also can help you cope with pain.
Both getting more sleep and drinking coffee (or taking medications that keep you alert) eased chronic pain better than standard pain-relievers, according to a study published in Nature Medicine.
Pain physiologist Alban Latremoliere, Ph.D. and sleep physiologist Chloe Alexandre, Ph.D. measured the effects of acute or chronic sleep loss on sleepiness and sensitivity to both painful and non-painful stimuli in mice. They then tested standard pain medications, like ibuprofen and morphine, as well as wakefulness-promoting agents like caffeine and modafinil.
“We found that five consecutive days of moderate sleep deprivation can significantly exacerbate pain sensitivity over time in otherwise healthy mice,” says Alexandre. “The response was specific to pain, and was not due to a state of general hyperexcitability to any stimuli.”
Surprisingly, common analgesics like ibuprofen did not block sleep-loss-induced pain hypersensitivity. Even morphine lost most of its efficacy in sleep-deprived mice.
The results suggested that patients using these drugs for pain relief might have to increase their dose to compensate for lost efficacy due to sleep loss, thereby increasing their risk for side effects.
In contrast, both caffeine and modafinil, drugs used to promote wakefulness, successfully blocked the pain hypersensitivity caused by both acute and chronic sleep loss. Interestingly, the compounds had no pain-relieving effects in mice who weren’t sleep-deprived.
Meditation has also been found to be more effective than drugs to ease chronic back pain. Scientists at Seattle’s Group Health Research Institute found that eight weekly sessions of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR), such as meditation and yoga, relieved pain and improved ease of movement better than conventional care, such as over-the-counter pain killers.
Cognitive behavior therapy, which taught people to change the way they felt about pain, also helped improve both pain and ease of movement better than conventional care.
According to the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain.
The information herein on "Chronic Pain? Get More Sleep" is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional, or licensed physician, and is not medical advice. We encourage you to make your own healthcare decisions based on your research and partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.
Our information scope is limited to Chiropractic, musculoskeletal, physical medicines, wellness, contributing etiological viscerosomatic disturbances within clinical presentations, associated somatovisceral reflex clinical dynamics, subluxation complexes, sensitive health issues, and/or functional medicine articles, topics, and discussions.
We provide and present clinical collaboration with specialists from a wide array of disciplines. Each specialist is governed by their professional scope of practice and their jurisdiction of licensure. We use functional health & wellness protocols to treat and support care for the injuries or disorders of the musculoskeletal system.
Our videos, posts, topics, subjects, and insights cover clinical matters, issues, and topics that relate to and support, directly or indirectly, our clinical scope of practice.*
Our office has made a reasonable attempt to provide supportive citations and has identified the relevant research study or studies supporting our posts. We provide copies of supporting research studies available to regulatory boards and the public upon request.
We understand that we cover matters that require an additional explanation of how it may assist in a particular care plan or treatment protocol; therefore, to further discuss the subject matter above, please feel free to ask Dr. Alex Jimenez DC or contact us at 915-850-0900.
We are here to help you and your family.
Dr. Alex Jimenez DC, MSACP, CIFM*, IFMCP*, ATN*, CCST
My Digital Business Card