Sleep problems may decrease the likelihood of recovery from chronic low back pain (LBP) over the long term and those who have musculoskeletal pain on top of insomnia have an even lower possibility of recovery, a study has found.

“The probability of recovery [from LBP] is especially low among persons who often/always experience sleeplessness and who also suffer from co-occurring musculoskeletal pain,” the researchers write.

“Preventing or reducing sleep problems among people with chronic LBP may have the potential of improving the long-term prognosis,” they add.

Eivind Schjelderup Skarpso, PhD, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, and colleagues with the HUNT study, published their findings online December 4 in the Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health.