Stiff Joints Keeping You Up at Night? Try Some Cognitive Therapy

As the Baby Boomer generation ages, there is a swelling populaton of people suffering from osteoarthritis. Arthritis pain seems to go hand in hand with insomnia, with joint pain keeping awake 60% of those with osteoarthritis

A new study, reported in the Aug. 15 issue of Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, finds that cognitive therapy has a beneficial effect on osteoarthritis patients and insomniacs – assisting them in their quest for a good night’s sleep.

Cognitive behavior therapy for insomnia or CBT-I,was given by an experienced clinical psychologist who taught participants cognitive restructuring techniques that helped change unrealistic beliefs and irrational fears regarding sleep or lack of it.

Handwritten sleep logs kept by participants documented their sleep patterns, and pain level was graded by the Short-Form McGill Pain Questionnaire (MPQ) and the Body Pain Subscale (SF-PAIN) question from the Medical Outcomes Study Short Form-36 Pain.

Results showed that after CBT-I treatement, patients were falling asleep faster than before, and remained sleeping approximately 37 minutes longer. CBT-I seems to be an effective tool for treatment of osteoarthritis in conjunction with other pain management techniques, and may also work well with other chronic pain conditions.

18. September 2009 by Ruth Folger Weiss
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