Could restless sleep cause widespread pain in older folks?

Researchers in the U.K. report that non-restorative sleep is the strongest, independent predictor of widespread pain onset among adults over the age of 50. According to the study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology (formerly Arthritis & Rheumatism), a journal of the American College of Rheumatology (ACR), anxiety, memory impairment, and poor physical health among older adults may also increase the risk of developing widespread pain.

Muscle, bone and nerve (musculoskeletal) pain is more prevalent as people age, with up to 80% of people 65 years of age and older experiencing daily pain. Widespread pain that affects multiple areas of the body—the hallmark feature of fibromyalgia—affects 15% of women and 10% of men over age 50 according to previous studies.

Led by Dr. John McBeth from the Arthritis Research UK Primary Care Centre, Keele University in Staffordshire, this newly published population-based prospective study identified factors that increase the risk of the development of widespread pain in older . The team collected data on pain, psychological and physical health, lifestyle and demographic information from 4326 adults over the age of 50 who were free of widespread pain at the start of the study (1562 subjects reported no pain and 2764 had some pain). These participants were followed up three years later for the development of widespread pain.

Results show that at follow-up, 800 (19%) reported new widespread pain. The development of new widespread pain was greater in those with some pain at the start of the study; 679 (25%) of those with some pain and 121 (8%) of those with no pain at the start developed new widespread pain at three year follow-up.

Analyses determined that pain status, anxiety, -related quality of life, cognitive complaint and non-restorative sleep were associated with increased risk of widespread pain development, after adjusting for osteoarthritis (OA). Increasing was associated with a decreased likelihood of the development of widespread pain.

"While OA is linked to new onset of widespread pain, our findings also found that poor sleep, cognition, and physical and psychological health may increase pain risk," concludes Dr. McBeth. "Combined interventions that treat both site-specific and widespread pain are needed for ."

More information: "Predictors of New Onset Widespread Pain in Older Adults- Results from the Prospective Population-based NorStOP Study." John McBeth, Rosie J Lacey and Ross Wilkie. Arthritis & Rheumatology; Published Online: February 13, 2014. DOI: 10.1002/art.38284

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Cold weather hits fibromyalgia sufferers hard

Jan 31, 2014

Cold temperatures, such as those gripping the Midwest over the past week, are tough on everybody. But for individuals with fibromyalgia, whose symptoms include chronic, widespread pain, the big freeze is especially difficult ...

Bothersome pain afflicts half of older Americans

Dec 02, 2013

More than half of older adults in the United States – an estimated 18.7 million people – have experienced bothersome pain in the previous month, impairing their physical function and underscoring the need for public health ...

Recommended for you

Prompt diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis crucial

Oct 24, 2014

Research led by Conway Fellow, Professor Oliver FitzGerald in St Vincent's University Hospital shows that a delay of more than 6 months from initial symptoms to a diagnosis of psoriatic arthritis leads to poorer outcomes ...

Mummy remains refute antiquity of ankylosing spondylitis

Oct 20, 2014

Ankylosing spondylitis is a systemic disease that causes inflammation in the spinal joints and was thought to have affected members of the ancient Egyptian royal families. Now a new study published in Arthritis & Rheumatology, a jour ...

Arthritis sufferers excluded from everyday life

Oct 13, 2014

Arthritis is the second leading cause of disability in Australia with many sufferers so severely disabled they cannot engage in basic everyday activities, new UNSW research has found.

User comments