UAB to study link between sleep and pain in knee osteoarthritis

by Bob Shepard
UAB to study link between sleep and pain in knee osteoarthritis

Researchers at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) want to know more about the relationship between sleep and pain.

"It certainly makes sense that pain can interfere with a good night's sleep, but there is growing evidence that poor sleep can itself lead to an increase in pain," said Megan Ruiter, Ph.D., a in UAB's Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology. "Understanding this relationship could open up new avenues in pain management through the treatment of ."

Ruiter is studying the sleep and pain relationship among patients with . 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.

Ruiter is recruiting patients with of the knee who are already participating in an ongoing pain study at UAB, the Understanding Pain and Limitations of Osteoarthritic Disease (UPLOAD) study, to also participate in a sleep study. Participants from the UPLOAD study who qualify for the sleep study will undergo sleep testing on two nights in the UAB Sleep Wake Disorders Center. The first night will be used to identify those without pre-existing sleep disorders, who will then undergo a second night of testing.

"There is reason to believe that poor sleep can cause a cascade of physiological problems that can lead to pain issues," said Laurence Bradley, Ph.D., professor in the Division of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology and lead investigator of the UPLOAD study.

"Sleep is a modifiable phenomenon," Ruiter said. "Treating sleep to modify pain may allow more options than simply treating pain at the source, which is often extremely difficult."

Bradley said there may be three factors that primarily influence pain in these patients. There are such as blood pressure or , psycho-social factors like perceptions and expectations, as well as genetic factors.

In particular, Ruiter said that African-Americans are more likely than whites to have and report greater severity of pain and disability from the disease. Ethnic differences in measures of objective sleep and pain processes in the central nervous system may represent important contributors, she said.

"We anticipate that African-Americans will report higher levels of pain and disability, along with higher self-reported sleep issues," said Ruiter. "We hope the study will shed light on the clinical usefulness of pain measures and sleep measures, and suggest new therapies to treat pain by treating the potential underlying sleep issue."

Patients interested in the knee osteoarthritis sleep study must be enrolled in the UPLOAD study, which is enrolling individuals ages 45-85 with and without knee osteoarthritis. The UPLOAD study is assessing ethnic differences in laboratory-induced pain and evaluating whether coping styles, other health conditions, economic factors, hormones and genes may explain these ethnic differences.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Extended sleep reduces pain sensitivity

Dec 01, 2012

A new study suggests that extending nightly sleep in mildly sleepy, healthy adults increases daytime alertness and reduces pain sensitivity.

Study looks at pain processing abnormalities in knee OA

Sep 17, 2012

(HealthDay)—For patients with knee osteoarthritis (K-OA), the lack of correlation between clinical pain and radiographic evidence of disease severity may be due to central sensitization, according to a ...

Recommended for you

Report highlights progress, challenges in health IT

8 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Progress has been made toward widespread adoption of electronic health records (EHRs), although there are still barriers to adoption of advanced use of EHRs, according to a report published ...

Training your brain to prefer healthy foods

8 hours ago

It may be possible to train the brain to prefer healthy low-calorie foods over unhealthy higher-calorie foods, according to new research by scientists at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center ...

Outdoor enthusiasts need a lightning plan

9 hours ago

(HealthDay)—Those partaking in outdoor sports and activities need to be aware of the threat posed by lightning and take appropriate safety measures, experts say.

User comments