The lingering effects of a traumatic incident can be far-reaching, extending beyond mental anguish to manifest as physical pain that persists over time.
If you find yourself grappling with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain, each day may feel like an uphill battle.
Fortunately, Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR) therapy offers a ray of hope, capable of addressing both your PTSD and chronic pain.
In this blog post, we explore the intricate connection and explore how EMDR therapy can bring relief.
Defining Chronic Pain.
Chronic pain, as defined by the National Institutes of Health, encompasses any type of pain that persists for a duration of twelve weeks or longer.
Often, chronic pain arises as a consequence of an injury, such as a back injury sustained at a construction site.
Nevertheless, in some instances, the origin of chronic pain remains elusive.
The repercussions of chronic pain are not limited to physical discomfort alone.
It frequently triggers mental health challenges, including depression.
This connection is attributable to the erosion of an individual’s quality of life.
Chronic pain can strip away the ability to work, engage in leisure activities, or even perform routine household tasks.
Unraveling The PTSD-Chronic Pain Nexus.
The interplay between PTSD and chronic pain is intricate, often stemming directly from the traumatic incident itself.
Many trauma survivors endure injuries directly associated with the traumatic event, such as those sustained in car accidents or natural disasters like hurricanes and floods.
The persistent pain serves as a relentless and agonizing reminder of the traumatic episode, rekindling distressing memories each time discomfort flares at the injury site.
Importantly, trauma doesn’t always emanate from a single isolated incident.
Regrettably, individuals can bear the burden of chronic pain arising from years of physical abuse.
Irrespective of the pain’s origin, if it curtails your ability to lead the life you desire, depression can swiftly ensue.
Two pivotal factors underscore the connection between trauma and chronic pain:
- Brain Alterations Due To Ongoing Pain: Chronic pain exerts a transformative impact on the brain, akin to a form of ongoing trauma. The brain adapts to accommodate the constant pain signals, amplifying the traumatic aspect of the experience.
- Psychological Amplification Of Pain: Thoughts and emotions exert a substantial influence on how we perceive pain. Emotional and cognitive factors can intensify pain sensations, and individuals often react emotionally to pain in ways that accentuate their discomfort.
Research by The National Center of PTSD underscores the intricate relationship between PTSD and chronic pain.
Further, research by The National Institute of Health reveals that individuals diagnosed with both conditions often report more severe pain than those without a PTSD diagnosis.
This underscores how post-traumatic stress contributes to heightened pain perception, exacerbating the overall suffering.
One contributing factor to this phenomenon is “anxiety sensitivity,” wherein individuals harbor apprehension about pain and its potential repercussions, amplifying their distress.
EMDR Therapy: A Dual Solution For PTSD And Chronic Pain.
EMDR therapy emerges as a promising avenue for simultaneously addressing post-traumatic stress disorder and chronic pain.
By leveraging bilateral stimulation, often through finger movements or tapping, EMDR therapists guide individuals through traumatic memories.
This dual-pronged approach aims to facilitate the brain’s processing and resolution of traumatic experiences.
As EMDR therapy effectively resolves PTSD and its symptoms, it also yields the potential to reduce or even eliminate chronic pain.
The anxiety linked to the traumatic event gradually dissipates, diminishing the fear associated with pain.
The Mind-Body Connection: A Path To Healing.
The intricate connection between the mind and the body cannot be understated.
When one component sustains injury or trauma, the repercussions extend to the other.
If you find yourself grappling with the dual challenges of PTSD and chronic pain, trauma therapy, such as EMDR, holds the potential to alleviate your symptoms.
The path to healing involves recognizing that the mind and body are intimately linked.
Through EMDR therapy, you can unravel the entwined web of trauma and chronic pain, paving the way for relief and restoration.
If you’re wondering whether you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD and chronic pain and you connected with any part of this post and are presently searching for a counselor, we would be honored to offer our support to you.
At Evergreen Counseling, we understand the importance of finding a therapist who resonates with you.
We invite you to take the next step toward your well-being by booking a complimentary 20-minute consultation call with us.