Marc's Musings | October 2015


Sleep and Pain Sensitivity in Adults. Sivertsen et al. Pain 2015 156(8) pp 1433-39

This study looked at subjects enrolled in the TROMSO-6 Study. Self-reported sleep measures were collected and cross-correlated against pain sensitivity tests, including the Coal Presser Pain Tolerance, for over 10,000 participants. All sleep parameters, except for sleep duration, were significantly associated with reduced pain tolerance. Frequency and severity of insomnia were associated with pain sensitivity in a dose response manner.


This is a very important paper that, quite definitively, given the number of participants, shows that sleep problems significantly increase the risk for reduced pain tolerance. Clinical assessment and intervention for improving sleep hygiene and sleep restoration should be a critical part of managing pain.

Chronic Widespread Pain: Clinical Comorbidities and Psychological Correlates. Burri et al. Pain 2015 156(8) pp 1458-64

This study looked at over 3,000 female twins and found the prevalence of chronic widespread pain was 20 per cent. Multivariate analysis on multiple variables showed that two latent variables explain chronic widespread pain: a variable common to anxiety, emotional intelligence and emotional instability, and one related to depression. The results show that clustering of chronic widespread pain and depression is due to a common highly heritable underlying latent trait.


This study sheds light on the genetic heritability of multiple predisposed conditions and shows how one can then lead to triggering of the other.

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