Millions of men and women worldwide are stricken with sleep disturbances and back pain. Since both of these problems are so incredibly common, Israeli researchers from the Tel Aviv Sourasky Medical Center and University of Haifa sought to expand our understanding of the connection between the two disorders.
Is your sciatica keeping you up at night?
According to the Virginia-based National Sleep Foundation http://sleepfoundation.org/sleep-disorders-problems/pain-and-sleep, 15% of American adults say that they are suffering from chronic pain. The number is significantly higher among senior citizens, with one in two stating that they experience regular discomfort.
“Among those experiencing chronic pain,” explains Gilles Lavigne, DDS, “about 2/3 report poor or unrefreshing sleep.”
Based on these statistics and other research that has shown lack of sleep to be tied to lower back pain, doctors and pain researchers have started to realize that prevention of one condition could potentially help reduce symptoms of the other.
The importance of integrated treatments
Nursing director Dr. Ma’ayan Agmon, psychologist Dr. Galit Armon, and a team of colleagues confirmed that poor sleep correlates highly with lower back pain. Speaking with The Jerusalem Post in December http://www.jpost.com/Israel-News/Health/Israeli-researchers-find-for-the-first-time-a-direct-link-between-irregular-sleep-and-back-pain-384606, the lead authors argued that both issues should be addressed simultaneously through integrated treatments for optimal outcomes.
The researchers stressed that it’s still unclear if low-quality sleep actually causes back pain. It’s possible that a third element is involved. People who have sleep disorders often have high stress levels, and not getting enough sleep exacerbates muscular tension. The back pain could be arising because the neuromuscular system isn’t getting enough rest.
“After neutralizing other factors,” Agmon and Armon commented, “we reached the conclusion that sleeplessness predicts back pain – but the opposite is not true.”
150% higher likelihood of back pain
Just over 2100 adults participated in the study. The median age was 46 years old, and the typical workday was 9.6 hours. Notably, participants were analyzed during annual wellness appointments at the Tel Aviv hospital, so they were not specifically seeking treatment for their pain or sleep disturbances.
The researchers determined the presence of sciatica or other types of back pain by assessing patient records and asking patients about any pain that lasted more than 90 days.
The results are staggering. It was determined that if a person reported poor sleep, they were 150% likelier to experience back pain than those who slept soundly.
Fusing recovery and prevention
As the connection with sleep disturbances indicates, back pain can be tied to various factors, requiring a broad and sophisticated solution to spark recovery and prevent relapse. Our responsible pain management model is individualized specifically to our patients.
Learn more now about how our personal team of pain management professionals provides our integrated approach every time you step into one of our clinics.