Chronic Pain and Insomnia: Breaking the Cycle

Patients suffering from chronic pain often find that their problems are compounded by the additional difficulties that come with insomnia and sleeping disorders. Of those who report experiencing chronic pain (about 15% of the general U.S. population and 50% of the elderly), approximately 65% report having sleep disorders, such as disrupted or non-restorative sleep.
Back pain is the most common type of chronic pain problem, and is the most prevalent medical disorder in industrialized societies. Not surprisingly, individuals with chronic back pain problems frequently report significant interference with sleep.
In a recent study, it was found that approximately two-thirds of patients with chronic back pain suffered from sleep disorders. Research has demonstrated that disrupted sleep will, in turn, exacerbate the chronic back pain problem. Thus, a vicious cycle develops in which the back pain disrupts one’s sleep, and difficulty sleeping makes the pain worse, which in turn makes sleeping more difficult, etc.

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