According to study authors at the University of Warwick,
"Engaging in physical activity is a key treatment process in pain management. Very often, clinicians would prescribe exercise classes, physiotherapy, walking and cycling programmes as part of the treatment, but who would like to engage in these activities when they feel like a zombie?"argues study lead-author Dr Nicole Tang.
Dr Tang and study co-author Dr Adam Sanborn examined the day-to-day association between night-time sleep and daytime physical activity in chronic pain patients. "Many of the patients struggled to stay physically active after the onset of pain and we found that chronic pain patients spontaneously engaged in more physical activity following a better night of sleep".
"The research points to sleep as not only an answer to pain-related insomnia but also as a novel method to keep sufferers physically active, opening a new avenue for improving the quality of life of chronic pain sufferers" says Dr Tang.
The authors go on to say that the quality of sleep was more important than pain level and low mood as a driving force in physical activity the next day. This is in contrast to current treatment, which tend to focus more on what happens during waking hours as more important triggers of pain. The restorative power of good quality sleep seems to be the key.
This is sort of like asking what comes first, the chicken or the egg? These authors suggest we've had it all backwards for a very long time.
Sources: ScienceCodex.com; deviant art