First Step toward a “Cure”: Sleep

One common thread for the majority of pain patients is difficulty sleeping.  Yes, pain can keep patients from a good night sleep, but more and more studies are revealing that many pain conditions, specifically chronic pain conditions like Fibromyalgia are worsened by poor sleep patterns.  Altered sleep patterns or poor sleep will impact the neurological, psychological, and physical function of the body.  It has the same affect as a battery that never fully recharges.

We order sleep studies on all of our chronic pain patients.  Many patients falsely believe that sleep studies are only valuable if a patient snores, but this is false.  First of all, many patients have an underlying apnea condition and it has not been addressed.  Sleep apnea can range from a true obstruction but can also pertain to patients that hold their breath while they sleep, so although they don’t have a classic snore they still have poor perfusion of oxygen to the organs and this can directly impact the body’s own healing mechanisms.  Sleep studies can also identify what stages of sleep a patient is in the majority of the night.  Most chronic pain patients and classically Fibromyalgia patients spend the majority of their night in lighter stages of sleep and never enter the deeper restorative phases.  Impaired sleep can also exacerbate other chronic health conditions including hypertension and Type 2 Diabetes.

A first step toward helping to “Cure” your pain is to rule out or treat any underlying sleep disturbances.

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