Sleep and Pain

Article excerpt

SLEEP AND PAIN Gilles Lavigne, Barry J. Sessle, Manon Choiniere, and Peter J. Soga (Eds.) Seattle: IASP Press, 2007, 473 pp. (hardcover).

This is a serious multiauthored text regarding the interaction of sleep and pain disorders, written by some of the leading researchers in the field of pain and biochemical and neurologic mechanisms. It is one of the current publications of the IASP (International Association for the Study of Pain). Most of the authors are Canadian.

The foreword notes that a recent tally of publications in peer-reviewed journals identified 100,000 citable references to publications on pain and more than 69,000 on sleep but, remarkably, fewer than 2,700 citable references that involve both sleep and pain. Since it is clear that sleep and pain biology may interact, research into this relationship would seem important. The ultimate goal of all this activity is to relieve the suffering of a great many people.

Part I comprehensively reviews the science of sleep and pain, and part II drills down on clinical aspects of sleep disorders and pain. The initial 234 pages of this text deal with the science of sleep and pain in 11 chapters, starting with the most elementary definition and then progressing to specifics of brain function and neurochemistry.

In case you ask, What is sleep?, "the average person spends almost a third of his or her life sleeping. That means that someone who lives for 75 years will spend a total of 25 years asleep. Sleep is not merely a passive or inactive state that follows waking; rather, it is a carefully controlled and highly orchestrated series of states that occurs in a cyclical fashion each night. Sleep is generally defined by behavioral quiescence that is accompanied by closed eyes, recumbent posture, limited muscular activity, and a reduced responsiveness to sensory stimuli; however, unlike coma, sleep can be readily and quickly reversed. …