Behavioral Therapy for Pain and Insomnia
Study Shows Treatment Improves Sleep Quality of People With Painful Osteoarthritis
Aug. 15, 2009 -- Cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia may help older people
who suffer pain from osteoarthritis, a new study
The researchers conclude that cognitive behavioral therapy to help with sleep should be considered to
help manage chronic pain conditions such as osteoarthritis.
"The particular strength of [cognitive behavioral therapy aimed at insomnia]
is that once an individual learns how to improve their sleep, study after study
has shown that the improvement persists for a year or more," Michael V.
Vitiello, PhD, of the University of Washington in Seattle, says in a news
Better sleep can lead to improvement in coexisting medical or psychiatric
illnesses, Vitiello says.
His research team assigned 23 older patients with osteoarthritis to
cognitive behavioral therapy that was aimed at helping them learn how to sleep
better. Twenty-eight other patients were assigned to a stress management and wellness
Those receiving the cognitive behavioral therapy reported improvements in
sleep quality and pain relief measures before and after treatment, and a year
later. Participants in the group that didn't get the cognitive behavioral
therapy showed no significant improvements in sleep quality or pain.
"Sleep quality is a major concern of people with osteoarthritis, with 60
percent of people with the disease reporting pain during the night. ... Whether
sleep disturbance preceded or follows pain onset is unclear, but reciprocal
effects are likely," write the researchers.
Chronic pain initiates and exacerbates sleep disturbances, but the
researchers say pain perception may decrease when people sleep better.
The study is published in the Aug. 15 issue of the Journal of Clinical