Intensive interdisciplinary pain treatment (IIPT) programs have been shown to restore function, improve coping, and reduce pain in adolescents with chronic pain. Yet, little is known about patients’ sleep during IIPT and whether or not improvements in pain treatment outcomes are associated with changes in sleep pre-to-post IIPT treatment. The objectives of the current study were to describe sleep among adolescents entering IIPT and examine associations between sleep parameters and IIPT treatment effects.
Materials and Methods:
Self-reported sleep measures and clinical outcomes (eg, functional disability, coping, average pain), were collected from 44 adolescents (mean age=14.57, 68.2% female) at admission and discharge from an inpatient IIPT program. Wrist-worn actigraphy data and sleep diaries from participants’ first week and last week in the program were analyzed to characterize sleep parameters.
Participants self-reported poor sleep/wake patterns, high levels of insomnia symptoms, and subclinical problems with daytime sleepiness upon admission into IIPT, although actigraphic indices of sleep from the first week of IIPT admission were only just under clinical guidelines for healthy adolescent sleep. Better self-reported sleep quality assessed via aggregated sleep diaries from the first week was associated with improvement in average pain and disability over the course of the program. Furthermore, improvements in insomnia symptoms and daytime sleepiness throughout the program were positively correlated with concurrent improvements in functional disability and coping.
Taken together, results suggest that sleep may be associated with IIPT treatment effects and pave the way for future research to continue examining these relationships.