Back and Neck Pain Can Deprive You of Sleep

Chronic pain in the neck and low back can cause a host of lifestyle problems and health complications.

A retrospective study has shown that chronic back and neck pain can lead to sleep impairment as well.

Researchers in Germany evaluated 1,016 patient records from an orthopedic department at a university hospital. All the patients had consulted orthopedic doctors with chronic neck pain or chronic low back pain. The study also analyzed factors such as gender, age, diagnosis, pain intensity, and country of origin.

The study found that more than 42% of the patients with chronic back or neck pain had sleep deprivation, even when pain medications were being used. Almost 20% of the patients reported serious sleep impairment, defined as less than four hours sleep per night.

The researchers found no connection between sleep disturbances and age or gender. They did find a correlation between sleep impairment and pain intensity in the neck or low back. Patients who had migrated from another country also had a higher sleep-deprivation risk than the native Germans in the study. Additionally, it was discovered that patients with failed back surgery syndrome were more likely to suffer from sleep problems.

The authors of the study concluded that treatment for chronic neck and back pain should include sleep assessment, especially for patients with high pain intensity, failed back surgery syndrome, and a background of moving between countries.

Sleep deprivation associated with chronic pain is just one of the many health problems that can be addressed under the expert care of a chiropractor.


Artner J, Cakir B, et al. Prevalence of sleep deprivation in patients with chronic neck and back pain: a retrospective evaluation of 1016 patients. Journal of Pain Research 2013; 6:1-6. doi: 10.2147/JPR.S36386.