Fatigue associated with chronic pain

Daytime fatigue1 is commonly reported with chronic pain and can be just as challenging to manage.2 Restorative sleep is undoubtedly important and adhering to the guidelines for sleep restriction and sleep hygiene can improve the quality and often the quantity of sleep. Less well-known are diurnal rhythms, which are independent daytime biological patterns, and how they affect us and how we can affect them. Changing what we do, how and when we do them, can help these invisible hormonal and chemical patterns synchronize and as a result have less fatigue. 

What is insomnia?

Insomnia is a sleep problem that is marked by having difficulty falling asleep at the beginning of the night or returning to sleep upon awakening in the middle of the night.

Insomnia is common in persons with chronic pain. Upwards of half of all people with chronic low back pain, for instance, report insomnia.1, 2

Opioid, or narcotic, pain medications are beneficial in a number of ways. Terminal cancer patients, for instance, benefit from their use. The short-term use of opioid pain medications is beneficial, especially while recovering from an acute injury or a surgery. However, the long-term use of opioid medications for chronic, noncancer, pain remains controversial. While a number of issues contribute to this controversy, the main reason for the controversy is addiction. Opioid pain medications are addictive.

This controversy makes opioid pain medications a highly sensitive issue for patients who take them.

What is trauma?

Trauma is the psychological and bodily response to experiencing an overwhelmingly terrible event. Some examples of events that can lead to trauma are the following:

What is a sleep disturbance?

Patients with chronic pain frequently experience sleep disturbances. Sleep disturbance is a catchall phrase for any type of problem in sleeping. The most common forms of sleep disturbances in patients with chronic pain are the following:

What is depression?

From time to time, most people feel down, blue, unhappy, or irritable. These kinds of depressed moods come and go in response to the normal problems of life.

What is anxiety?

Anxiety is a normal emotion. Everyone has anxiety on occasion. It is the emotion that people have when something dangerous might happen. Anxiety is closely related to fear. Fear occurs when something dangerous is happening. Anxiety, though, occurs when something dangerous is pending, and hasn’t happened yet, though it could.  

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