Pain Relief Found Through Therapy, Study Finds

People who suffer from chronic pain may sleep and feel more relief if they can learn to avoid focusing on their ailment and to think more positively about their condition, a new study has found.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, who published their findings in the journal Pain, studied more than 200 patients with chronic face and jaw pain.

“We have found that people who ruminate about their pain and have more negative thoughts about their pain don’t sleep as well, and the result is they feel more pain,” lead author Luis F. Buenaver, in a news release from Johns Hopkins University. “If cognitive behavioral therapy can help people change the way they think about their pain, they might end that vicious cycle and feel better without sleeping pills or pain medicine.”

Buenaver and his colleagues said the study exemplifies how negative thinking about pain is linked to increased pain through disturbed sleep.

Roughly 80 percent of people with chronic pain have sleep disturbances, Buenaver said in the news release. Previous studies have shown that people are more sensitive to pain if they experience sleep disturbances. Additionally, those who focus on their pain and think negatively about it report more debilitating pain, he said.

“It may sound simple but you can change the way you feel, by changing the way you think,” Buenaver said.

Source: Johns Hopkins University news release

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