According to a study published in the journal Arthritis Care & Research, there is no association between obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA) and joint pain or daytime sleepiness.
This lack of association between pain and OSA is surprising given the established link between pain and poor sleep quality, according to Joule J Li, MD, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia, and colleagues.
For the study, 360 community-dwelling men aged 35 years and older from the Men Androgen Inflammation Lifestyle Environment and Stress Study were assessed via a computer-assisted telephone interview or self-completed questionnaire on shoulder, back, hip, knee, hand, and foot pain.
OSA was determined with full in-home unattended polysomnography scored by 2007 AASM (alternative) criteria. Epworth Sleepiness Scale assessed daytime sleepiness and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index assessed sleep quality.
OSA was not associated with the presence of any joint pain (adjusted odds ratio [aOR] = 1.03; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.61-1.76). There was similarly no association between pain variables and excessive daytime sleepiness, except for hand pain (aOR = 3.10; 95% CI, 1.50-6.39).
However, pain was associated with poor sleep quality for those having any pain (aOR = 2.19; 95% CI, 1.25-3.82), shoulder pain (aOR = 2.16; 95% CI, 1.25-3.75), back pain (aOR = 2.24; 95% CI, 1.41-3.55), foot pain (aOR = 2.47; 95% CI, 1.43-4.26).
According to the authors, additional studies are needed to determine whether the relationship between pain and OSA is different depending on the cause of sleep apnoea.
Furthermore, the mechanisms behind the different relationship between pain and sleep apnoea compared with that of pain and sleep quality remain unclear and should be investigated.