To quantify the contributions of atopic disorders, sleep disturbance, and other health conditions to five common pain conditions.
This cross-sectional analysis used data from 655 participants in the OPPERA study. The authors investigated the individual and collective associations of five chronic overlapping pain conditions (COPCs) with medically diagnosed atopic disorders and self-reported sleep disturbance, fatigue, and symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea. Atopic disorders were allergies, allergic rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, allergic asthma, urticaria, allergic conjunctivitis, and food allergy. Logistic regression models estimated odds ratios as measures of association with temporomandibular disorders, headache, irritable bowel syndrome, low back pain, and fibromyalgia. Measures of sleep and atopy disorders were standardized to z scores to determine the relative strength of their associations with each COPC. Sociodemographic characteristics and body mass index were covariates. Random forest regression analyzed all variables simultaneously, computing importance metrics to determine which variables best differentiated pain cases from controls.
Fatigue and sleep disturbance were strongly associated with each COPC and with the total number of COPCs. An increase of one standard deviation in fatigue or sleep disturbance score was associated with approximately two-fold greater odds of having a COPC. In random forest models, atopic disorders contributed more than other health measures to differentiating between cases and controls of headache, whereas other COPCs were best differentiated by measures of fatigue or sleep.
Atopic disorders, previously recognized as predictors of poor sleep, are associated with COPCs after accounting for sleep problems.