• Is chronic pain a small-t trauma? A systematic review of the use of EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain.

      Patel, Kim L. (University of Chester, 2012-10)
      Aim: Chronic pain (CP) hugely impacts negatively on the individual. Similarities between post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and CP include neuro-plasticity, affect and memory, suggesting CP is a small-t trauma with PTSD a big-T Trauma. As such there is a theoretical rationale for the use of eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing (EMDR) in CP treatment. Methodology: A systematic review of the available literature (eight papers) identified two different EMDR protocols. Standard EMDR protocol was used in phantom limb pain (PLP) subjects. Pain protocol EMDR was used in headache, fibromyalgia, and musculoskeletal pain subjects. The papers varied greatly in robustness. Results: PLP subjects had higher pain intensity scores pre-intervention and lower pain intensity scores post intervention compared to other CP subjects. Both EMDR protocols demonstrated significant pain reduction/amelioration, maintained at follow-up. Further research is required; however this systematic review offers that EMDR has the potential to be a useful adjunct in CP management and treatment.