Do Transient Effects of Sleep Impact Next-Day Pain and Fatigue Experienced by Older Adults with Symptomatic Osteoarthritis

Research has shown that poor quality of sleep is associated with higher rates of pain and fatigue in people dealing with OA (osteoarthritis). The current study 1, in the Journal of Pain, was conducted to determine whether or not sleep impacted the diurnal pattern of next-day pain and fatigue associated with OA. The results showed that good sleep was linked to lower pain and fatigue on awakening. However, the benefit dissipated as the day went by.

The Context

As mentioned, older adults with OA tend to commonly experience pain and fatigue because of poor quality of sleep. More research is still required to examine the influence of nocturnal sleep on pain and fatigue throughout the day.

Understanding such mechanics might prove to be beneficial when dealing with older patients with OA and helping them improve their quality of life.

Pain and Fatigue

The Study

The aim of the current study was to observe the links between self-reported sleep quality and sleep parameters with pain and fatigue experienced through the following day. The study used data covering five consecutive days from older adults with hip and/or knee OA.

The study’s objective was to investigate sleep’s association with diurnal changes in fatigue and pain. The study was conducted to answer whether or not specific times of the day existed during which symptoms are more vulnerable to the effects of poor sleep.

The study included 160 participants (adults aged 65 years and above). People with clinically important levels of fatigue were recruited.

The Western Ontario and McMaster Universities Arthritis Index (WOMAC) five-item pain subscale was used to measure pain intensity. Fatigue was measured, for this study, using the Brief Fatigue Inventory (BFI). Sleep was assessed each morning. Pain intensity and fatigue were assessed five times a day.

Using the Actiwatch-Score, the sleep intervals were established through corroborating self-report of lights off and wake-up times with actigraphy activity counts.

Stata was used for analysis.

Pain and Fatigue disc model

What was Concluded?

The results of the current (sleep quality and OA) study helped conclude that diurnal patterns were demonstrated by pain and fatigue. A good night’s sleep showed significantly lower symptoms in the morning. Good sleep had a significant impact on fatigue compared to pain intensity. A poor night’s sleep was linked to an increase in pain intensity in the morning (though it dissipated as the day progressed). However, more research (with a higher sample size and diversity) was needed to determine any future clinical benefits.

 

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