A new study found that cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can significantly improve sleep for people with chronic neck or back pain.
Many people living with chronic pain have poor sleep hygiene. Common mistakes include sleeping when they are not tired, sleeping in places other than the bedroom and watching TV in bed. These habits may lead to insomnia.
People taking medicine for their pain may be unwilling or unable to use sleep aids to treat their sleep problems. CBT provides a safe and effective alternative.
The study involved 28 people who experience chronic pain. Participants received eight weeks of therapy from a trained nurse therapist.
Therapy sessions established a set number of hours in bed, focused on negative thoughts about sleep and addressed unhealthy sleep behavior. Sleep diaries were used to track sleep. Pain and mood were measured throughout the study. Patients were followed for six months after treatment.
Patients who are interested in CBT but have limited access to face-to-face sessions can receive treatment online. Last year the Sleep Education Blog reported that online CBT programs have the potential to provide long-lasting effects for people who suffer from chronic insomnia.
The AASM recommends CBT as an effective treatment for chronic insomnia in adults. Consult a board-certified sleep expert at an AASM-accredited sleep center if you are suffering from an ongoing sleep problem.