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Nocturnal Delta Power is Associated With Lower Next-Day Pain But Not Pain Catastrophizing: Results From a Cohort of Female Participants With Temporomandibular Joint Pain

Published:October 13, 2022DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jpain.2022.10.002

      Highlights

      • Previous evidence suggests that chronic pain patients have reduced delta EEG power during sleep.
      • However, few studies have examined how delta power is linked to pain intensity in chronic pain.
      • We used EEG spectral analysis to compute delta power across the night in 110 patients.
      • Reduced delta power was associated with increased pain severity across multiple measures.

      Abstract

      Existing data demonstrate reduced delta power during sleep in patients with depression and chronic pain. However, there has been little examination of the relationship between delta power and pain-reports, or pain-catastrophizing. We recruited female participants (n = 111) with insomnia and temporomandibular disorder, and measured nocturnal and daytime measures of pain and pain catastrophizing, and calculated relative nocturnal delta (0.5–4 Hz) power during sleep. We fit linear regression models, and further examined the moderating effect of depressive symptom severity. Lower relative delta power across the whole night was significantly associated with greater nocturnal pain (B = -20.276, P = .025, R2 = 0.214). Lower relative delta power during the first-third of the night, was associated with greater nocturnal pain (B = -17.807, p = 0.019, R2 = 0.217), next-day pain (B = 13.876, P = .039, R2 = 0.195), and next-morning pain (B = -15.751, P = .022, R2 = 0.198). Lower relative delta power during the final-third of the night was significantly associated with greater nocturnal (B = -17.602, P = .029, R2 = 0.207) and next-morning pain (3rd: B = -14.943, P = .042, R2 = 0.187). Depressive symptom severity did not moderate these relationships. Delta power was not significantly associated with nocturnal or daytime pain catastrophizing. These findings demonstrate that greater relative delta power during sleep is associated with lower nocturnal and next-day pain in patients with temporomandibular disorder. This data may guide the use of sleep interventions in clinical pain populations, with the aim of improving pain outcomes.
      Perspective: This article presents data demonstrating an association between increased nocturnal delta power and reduced next-day pain. These findings may help promote interventions which aim to increase nocturnal delta power in clinical pain populations, with the goal of improving pain outcomes.

      Key words

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