Pain and sleep

Psychological aspects on sleep and pain

The focus of the current research is on sleep disturbances, pain and the interactions between them.  This clinical treatment research starts with identifying treatments with documented efficacy from high quality treatment trials and examines the performance of these treatments in daily clinical practice. One aspect is the dissemination of efficient treatments focusing on how to best provide them for individuals who are unable to travel long distances to benefit from psychological treatments, for example due to severe somatic diseases, e.g., internet mediated cognitive behavior therapy. An additional focus of this clinically oriented research is to increase the understanding of patient groups with complex problems in order to design and optimize appropriate treatment strategies for them. One example would be research aiming at understanding how acceptance of symptoms contributes to experienced functional impairments in individuals suffering from sleep disturbances, and how subjects with complex pain problems experience acceptance-based exposure treatments.

Contact person: Kristoffer Bothelius

Physiological aspects of the interaction between pain and sleep

This research project focuses on the interaction between pain and sleep disturbances in patients suffering from nociplastic chronic widespread pain (CWP) with or without restless legs syndrome (RLS). The aim is to study subjects suffering from disturbed sleep to understand the underlying mechanisms responsible for the exacerbation of pain and reduction of health-related quality of life in these subjects. We have previously documented increased activity of the sympathetic nervous system in CWP patients and could show that a particular form of sleep disturbance, i.e., fragmentation of sleep, predicted the development of RLS in CWP patients. In an ongoing study at the Pain Rehabilitation Clinic, we examine sleep quality using polysomnography and actigraphy, before and following treatment in patients suffering from fibromyalgia or CWP and relate the sleep quality to the overall assessment of treatment outcome regarding pain rehabilitation and the treatment of the sleep disorder. Finally, we plan a study where we will profit from magnetic resonance spectroscopy (MRS) to quantify relevant transmitter substances in the brain in patients with CWP with and without RLS in order to investigate the interactions between pain and sleep.

Contact person: Romana Stehlik

Last modified: 2021-05-03