Being an LGBT+ Affirmative Therapist
By Daniel Browne.Every February in the UK, LGBT+ History Month takes place. It’s a yearly event to look back on the history of LGBT+ people in the UK, to reflect on the hard fought for rights and free...
Washington State University will lead a study to understand the relationship between sleep and chronic pain, part of a nationwide effort to address the rising abuse of opioid pain relievers and expand the arsenal of non-drug treatment options.
"Physicians are being pressured to stop prescribing so many opioids," said Marian Wilson, assistant professor in the WSU College of Nursing and lead investigator on the study. New prescription guidelines issued this year by the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention recommend providers limit the use of opioids in patients with chronic pain, she said. "It's not fair to start cutting longtime opioid users off of their medications without giving them some effective alternatives," she said.
The relationship between sleep and pain has not been adequately studied, she said: "There's a small body of literature that suggests that pain and sleep correlate -- bad sleep goes with bad pain -- but we don't know for sure which comes first. 'Is my pain worse because I've slept poorly, or was my pain so bad that I couldn't sleep?'"
Wilson has joined with colleagues at WSU Health Sciences Spokane and the University of Washington's Department of Rehabilitation Medicine on a study funded with a new two-year supplemental grant from the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
The parent UW study evaluates the efficacy of self-hypnosis and mindfulness meditation training interventions to treat chronic pain in 240 military veterans.
The WSU subproject will collect additional data on a pool of 135 military veterans recruited from the parent study. Participants will complete sleep surveys and wear sleep monitoring devices for a week at three separate times: just before their intervention, immediately afterward and three months post-intervention.
Sleep data will be paired with pain-related data from the parent study to see if any improvements in pain are preceded or followed by improvements in sleep, or whether they happen at the same time. Insights will form a first step toward development of sleep treatments to help alleviate chronic pain.
Wilson was an oncology (cancer treatment) nurse for 11 years before her passion for chronic pain management guided her to a new calling as nurse scientist. While pursuing a Ph.D. in nursing at WSU, she evaluated a new program that addressed overuse of a hospital emergency department by patients with chronic pain who were seeking opioids. The program, which referred these patients back to their primary care providers, was considered a success in that it reduced the frequency of emergency department visits in this group of patients.
Yet, the project left Wilson feeling that more could be done to address the needs of individuals with chronic pain, including new ways to manage symptoms without medications. This led to her dissertation research on the effectiveness of an online self-management program for people with chronic pain, which she found resulted in reduced opioid use and misuse.