Background If localised pain represent one end of a pain spectra, with overall better general health, chronic widespread pain (CWP) and fibromyalgia represent the other end of the spectra with worse general health and more comorbidities with other somatic diseases and mental illness. Sleep problems and fatigue are common among individuals reporting CWP and previous research indicate that sleep problems may be an important predictor for pain prognosis.
Objectives The aim of this population-based study was to investigate if sleep problems and fatigue predict the onset of CWP 5 and 18 years later.
Methods In order to get more stable baseline classifications of CWP, a wash-out period was used, including only individuals who had not reported CWP (according to ACR 1990 criteria for fibromyalgia) at baseline (−98) and three years prior baseline (−95). In all, data from 1249 individuals entered the analyses for the 5 year follow-up (−03) and 791 entered for the 18 year follow-up (−16). Four parameters related to sleep (difficulties initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, early morning awakening and non-restorative sleep), and one parameter related to fatigue (SF-36 vitality scale) were investigated as predictors for CWP. Binary logistic regression analysis were used for analyses.
Results All investigated parameters predicted the onset of CWP five years later (problems with initiating sleep (OR 1.91; 1.16–3.14), maintaining sleep (OR 1.85; 1.14–3.01), early awakening (OR 2.0; 1.37–3.75), non-restorative sleep (OR 2.27; 1.37–3.75) and fatigue (OR 3.70; 1.76–7.84)) in a model adjusted for age, gender, socio-economy and mental health. All parameters except problems with early awakening predicted the onset of CWP also 18 years later. In all, 785 individuals did not report any of the sleeping problems at baseline (fatigue not included), 268 reported one of the problems, 167 two, 128 three and 117 subjects reported to have all four sleep problems. Reporting all four sleep problems was significantly associated with CWP at follow-up at both time points when adjusting for age, gender, socio economy and mental health (OR 4.00; 2.03–7.91 and OR 3.95; 1.90–8.20); adjusting for age, gender, socio economy and number of pain regions (OR 2.94; 1.48–5.82 and OR 2.65; 1.24–5.64) and in a model adjusting for age, gender, socio economy and pain severity (OR 2.97;1.53–5.76; and OR 3.02;1.47–6.21) for the 5 year and 18 year follow-up respectively, compared to not reporting any of the sleep problems at baseline.
Conclusions Both sleeping problems and fatigue predicts the onset of CWP 5- and 18 years later. The results highlight the importance of the assessment of sleep quality in the clinic.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.