New study on sleep/circadian disturbance’s impact on multiple chronic pain disorders

Can poor sleep and circadian rhythm make chronic pain conditions worse? Edson College Assistant Professor Chung Jung Mun plans to find out through an innovative longitudinal study. 

Mun was awarded a $3 million grant from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, part of the U.S. National Institutes of Health, to explore the possible connection.

“There are countless individuals suffering from multiple chronic pain disorders. A person with chronic migraine headaches is also likely to suffer from chronic low back pain. What we’re trying to find out is whether sleep and circadian rhythm disturbances might be an underlying cause of people progressing from one chronic pain condition to multiple conditions,” said Mun.

Historically, pain research has focused on one condition at a time Mun said. So little is known about the evolution of multiple, co-occurring pain conditions. This pioneering study seeks to bridge that knowledge gap. 

Mun’s hope is that the insights gained from this research will guide future treatments and preventative measures, bringing much-needed relief to the millions of adults grappling with multiple chronic pain disorders.