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Arthritis study links sleep disorders to pain thresholds


People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) may also experience sleep disorders sleep disorders as a result of heightened pain sensitivity, according to new research.

The study, carried out by researchers from the Fatigue Center of the University of Michigan Medical School and the Division of Rheumatology and Pain Management Center of Brigham and Women's Hospital, found that increased sensitivity to pain at joint and non-joint sites can have a negative impact on a patient's sleep.

It compared pain sensitivity to sleep problems, disease activity and psychiatric distress in female patients suffering from RA, according to the journal Arthritis Research & Therapy.

The study's authors identified an inverse association between sleep problems and pain thresholds and suggested this may be due to a central pain processing defect.

Furthermore, they noted that as sleep disorders are often experienced by RA patients, more research needs to be done into how the conditions are connected.

Earlier this summer, University of Pittsburgh scientists presented research linking symptoms of RA to sleep impairment in women to the SLEEP 2009 conference.

Science Daily reported that, according to the study, depression, pain and poor adherence to medication for arthritis also negatively impacted sleep for these patients.

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Sleep disorders treatment news : 30 October 2009