It makes sense that pain can interfere with a good night’s sleep, but growing evidence suggests that poor sleep can itself lead to an increase in pain.
It”s like a vicious cycle that researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) are trying to understand.
“Understanding this relationship could open up new avenues in pain management through the treatment of sleep disorders,” said Megan Ruiter, Ph.D., a postdoctoral fellow in UAB’s Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology.
Ruiter is studying the sleep and pain relationship among patients with osteoarthritis of the knee. Osteoarthritis is a chronic joint disease affecting mainly the hands, knees, hips and spine. Pain from this disease is common, though the experience of the pain can widely vary among patients, regardless of how much the disease has progressed.