Pain Dreams and Dream Emotions in Patients with Chronic Back Pain and Healthy Controls
Michael Schredl1, *, Aline Kälberer2, Kai Zacharowski2, Michael Zimmermann2
Identifiers and Pagination:Year: 2017
First Page: 65
Last Page: 72
Publisher ID: TOPAINJ-10-65
Article History:Received Date: 22/12/2016
Revision Received Date: 12/05/2017
Acceptance Date: 25/05/2017
Electronic publication date: 15/08/2017
Collection year: 2017
open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/legalcode). This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Although some theorists have suggested that pain sensations cannot be part of the dreaming world, research has shown that pain sensations occur in about 1% of the dreams in healthy persons and in about 30% of patients with acute, severe pain.
The present study is the first to study pain dreams in patients with chronic pain.
A questionnaire was administered to 100 patients with chronic lower back pain and 270 controls.
The patients reported more pain dreams and more negatively toned dreams compared to healthy controls. In addition, patients reported more often that the dreamed pain persisted into waking state.
In patients, pain dreams might be instigated by actual pain whereas for healthy persons pain dreams might be pain memories (self-experienced pain and/or seeing persons in pain). Future research should clarify how pain is processed during sleep. As patients with chronic pain experience negatively toned dreams, it will be beneficial to ask chronic pain patients about their dreams and, if necessary, offer specific treatment options like imagery rehearsal treatment.