One night after lights out, a man sleeping next to his wife began doing something that troubled her deeply. After they had sex, he fell asleep -- and then masturbated. And when he awoke the next morning, he couldn't remember what he had done. This happened a few more times before the bewildered couple decided to seek help, says neurologist Michel Cramer Bornemann, MD, professor at the University of Minnesota.
The fallout from this startling episode was upsetting, he says; the woman feared she wasn't...
“Pain and sleep are integrally connected,” he says. “Chronic pain is very
common in the population and even more common in people who have poor sleep,
and it sort of becomes a vicious cycle.” Pain affects your ability to sleep,
and the lack of sleep makes the pain seem worse.
The Link Between Pain and Sleep Problems
Exactly how the two conditions are connected varies from person to person.
“You have to determine what is the chicken and what is the egg,” he says. “Is
pain a manifestation of, or made worse by, a sleep disorder or is pain causing
the poor quality of sleep?”
Charles Bae, MD, a neurologist in the Sleep Disorders Center at the
Cleveland Clinic in Ohio, puts it this way: “Pain can be the main reason that
someone wakes up multiple times a night, and this results in a decrease in
sleep quantity and quality, and on the flip side, sleep deprivation can lower
your pain threshold and pain tolerance and make existing pain feel worse.”
“If you have arthritis and roll or turn while you are sleeping, pain can
wake you up,” says David S Kloth, MD, the founder, medical director, and
president of Connecticut Pain Care in Danbury, and a past president of the
American Society of Intervention Pain Physicians.
The first step is to figure out if the lack of sleep is causing pain or if
the pain is causing a lack of sleep, and then you treat whichever came first,