Chronic pain is the most common reason that people visit the doctor. Sleep apnea and other sleep disorders are being linked to other health conditions with each new study that emerges and now there is a link between chronic pain and sleep apnea.
This is a special relationship between sleep apnea and chronic pain because it goes both ways. People who suffer from pain have fragmented sleep and their normal sleep patterns are disrupted. People who suffer from poor quality or insufficient sleep have decreased pain thresholds and impaired recovery from injuries.
It is estimated that 28 million Americans have sleep problems due to chronic pain problems and among chronic pain patients, more than half experience sleep disturbances (some reports put the number even higher at 70-88% of patients). Compared with patients who do not complain of sleep problems, the patients with chronic pain and sleep issues report lower quality of life and visit healthcare providers more often.
Because narcotics are often used to treat pain, and these drugs are known to affect breathing, many pain patients develop abnormal breathing patterns during sleep. The treatment of opioid-induced sleep breathing problems is similar to that for other types of sleep apnea. CPAP is a common option and oral appliances are also effective for patients who are CPAP intolerant.
Treating sleep disordered breathing in chronic pain patients who are taking pain medications that affect breathing can improve pain levels and overall quality of life, and it may also reduce healthcare usage for chronic pain patients.
Find out more about sleep disordered breathing and oral appliance therapy by contacting Columbus sleep apnea dentist Dr. Mark Levy today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.