Obstructive Sleep Apnea and Pain
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Purpose of Review
Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) and pain are bi-directionally related. Sleep fragmentation and nocturnal hypoxia can worsen pain symptoms, whereas individuals suffering from chronic pain often have sleep deprivation and suffer from sleep-disordered breathing. The purpose of this review is to present recent data on the interactions between OSA and pain.
OSA is highly prevalent among patients with chronic pain disorders especially in those who receive opioid-analgesics. Conversely, sleep fragmentation and untreated OSA could lead to worse pain outcomes. Treatment with continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) may decrease pain intensity, increase pain thresholds, and result in less opioid use.
Clinicians should be aware of the mutual association between pain and OSA, when assessing chronic pain patients in order to identify early and manage OSA leading ultimately to better pain outcomes.
KeywordsContinuous positive airway pressure Obstructive sleep apnea Opioids Pain Sleep
Compliance with Ethical Standards
Conflict of Interest
Konstantina Nikolaou, Athanasios Voulgaris, and Paschalis Steiropoulos each declare no potential conflicts of interest.
Human and Animal Rights and Informed Consent
This article does not contain any studies with human or animal subjects performed by any of the authors.
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance
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