Yoga and Physical Therapy Improved Sleep in Patients with Chronic Low Back Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Eric J. Roseen, DC, MSc

Assistant Professsor, Department of Family Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center

Eric J. Roseen, DC, MSc
Assistant Professsor, Department of Family Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine and Boston Medical Center
Dr. Roseen

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Sleep disturbance and insomnia are common among people with chronic low back pain (cLBP). Previous research showed that 59% of people with cLBP experience poor sleep quality and 53% are diagnosed with insomnia disorder. Medication for both sleep and back pain can have serious side effects, and risk of opioid-related overdose and death increases with use of sleep medications. Given the serious risks of combining pain and sleep medications, we evaluated the use of nonpharmacologic approaches to manage sleep quality in adults with chronic low back pain.

Our randomized controlled trial included 320 adults with chronic low back pain from predominantly low-income racially diverse neighborhoods of Boston. At the beginning of the study, over 90 percent of participants with cLBP reported poor sleep quality. Participants were randomly assigned one of three different therapies for cLBP: physical therapy (PT), weekly yoga, or reading educational materials. Our previous research showed that yoga and PT are similarly effective for lowering pain and improving physical function, and reduced the need for pain medication. In this study, results for sleep improvements were compared over a 12-week intervention period and after 1 year of follow-up.

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Low Back Pain Incidence Varies by Occupation

PainRelief.com Interview with:

Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH
Medical Officer (Epidemiologist)
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
CDR, US Public Health Service

ara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPHMedical Officer (Epidemiologist)
 National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
 CDR, US Public Health Service

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

  • In 2015, 26.4% of U.S. workers (nearly 40 million people) reported experiencing any low back pain (LBP) in the past 3 months; frequent and severe low back pain was reported by 8.1% of workers.
  • Many of these cases (more than 20%) were attributed to work by a health professional, but most workers affected did not discuss work-relatedness with their providers.
  • Regardless of the cause, low back pain affected many current workers’ ability to work.
  • 16.9% of workers with any low back pain and 19.0% of those with frequent and severe low back pain missed at least 1 full day of work in the past 3 months because of LBP.
  • 6.1% of workers with any low back pain and 10.7% of those with frequent and severe LBP had stopped working, changed jobs, or made a major change in work activities in the past 3 months because of their LBP
  • The burden of low back pain among workers varied by occupational group.
  • The proportion of workers who reported any low back pain and work-related LBP was highest in construction and extraction occupations; 31.6 percent of these workers reported any low back pain and 12.3% reported work-related LBP.
  • The proportion of workers reporting frequent and severe low back pain was highest in building and grounds cleaning and maintenance occupations; 11.4% of these workers reported frequent and severe low back pain .

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

  • Low back pain among workers is a substantial problem.
  • Many cases of low back pain among workers have been attributed to work, but work-relatedness may be under-recognized.
  • Identifying an association with work may improve the chances of a patient’s recovery if an aspect of their job contributing to the pain can be reduced or eliminated.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

  • We did not examine the relationship between obesity and low back pain in our study but low back pain has been found to be associated with obesity in other studies.  Other research in this area could be helpful.
  • Future research could also examine which aspects of various jobs are most highly associated with LBP and best practices for healthcare providers to recognize and address work-related low back pain .

Citation:

Prevalence, Recognition of Work-Relatedness, and Effect on Work of Low Back Pain Among U.S. Workers

Sara E. Luckhaupt, MD, MPH; James M. Dahlhamer, PhD; Gabriella T. Gonzales, BS; Ming-Lun Lu, PhD; Matthew Groenewold, PhD; Marie Haring Sweeney, PhD; Brian W. Ward, PhD

Published: Ann Intern Med. 2019.

DOI: 10.7326/M18-3602

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