Sleep Quality, Depression, Pain and Disability

Felix Naughton and his colleagues conducted a study to examine the relationship between sleep quality, depression, pain severity, and disability. Their results (reported in the journal Pain) showed that sleep quality did not directly affect disability, but rather that poor sleep quality tended to make people feel more depressed and tended to make their pain feel worse. These changes, … Read more

Don’t Let Pain Define You

Living with severe pain can be a trigger for depression, a sense of loss of who you are and who you will become, and a belief that you can’t manage your pain or your life. It is true that pain often changes people. You may have lost some of the positive abilities that defined you. These losses are powerful and … Read more

Chronic Pain Can be Lonely: Nine Ways to Reconnect


Chronic pain can make it hard to feel connected to others. Pain puts a strain on friendship – whether you have fibromyalgia, headaches, back pain, arthritis, or any other type of chronic pain. You may have found that you see friends less or that you feel disconnected when you do get together. You may have … Read more

Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

Pain and Anxiety: Rinse It Out

In spin class, I have frequently heard instructors say  “rinse it out” after a particularly intense bout of cycling. I have always supposed that they are encouraging us to slow down and recover a bit and get rid of anything “toxic” in the muscles before we start again. The image of rinsing away any past difficulties or toxic … Read more

What Are The Barriers To Sex?

Paul Karoly, Aaron Taylor, and I conducted a study of over 2,000 people with different forms of chronic pain from across the United States and found that 63%reported that pain interfered with sexual functioning. Other researchers have found similar results; some studies show that people with pain may simply give up sex altogether. I have listed some of the barriers to … Read more

Improve Your Sleep

Improve Your Sleep

Sleep plays a crucial role in the daily experience of people with chronic pain.  Of course, research (and probably your own experience) has demonstrated that pain can make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. In a study involving people with fibromyalgia, Dr. Nancy Hamilton and her colleagues reported a complex set of  findings in which poor sleep had a … Read more

Notice the Positive

It is not uncommon for chronic pain to be linked to depression. For example,  35% of the participants in one study who reported chronic pain were also depressed. Risk of depression was not associated with any particular pain type or site. Pain and depression seem to have a “reciprocal relationship”: they tend to feed upon each other; more pain can … Read more

Rebuilding Intimacy

One of my first research studies involved examining the significance of the three most important people in one’s life to psychological well being and distress. I asked study participants to identify the most, 2nd most, and 3rd most important people in their lives and I asked a series of questions about the involvement of the three most … Read more