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Open Access EMDR in the Treatment of Chronic Pain

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Chronic pain can significantly diminish life quality, causing depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances, and may lead to neuroplastic processes that influence pain modulation. The current study investigated eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) treatment of 38 patients suffering from chronic pain with 12 weekly 90-minute sessions. A battery of self-reported questionnaires assessing quality of life, pain intensity, and depression level were administered pre- and posttreatment for objective outcome evaluation. The Structured Clinical Interview for DSM was administered at pretreatment to identify participants' personality traits that may influence pain perception. Patients showed statistically significant improvement relative to baseline after 12 weeks of EMDR treatment. Our findings suggest that EMDR is an effective tool in the psychological treatment of chronic pain, resulting in decrease pain sensations, pain-related negative affect, and anxiety and depression levels. We examine possible theories about the mechanisms by which EMDR achieves these effects. Results were consistent with the underlying EMDR premise that posits the important effect of emotions on pain perception.

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Keywords: CHRONIC PAIN; EMDR; NEUROPLASTIC PROCESSES; PAIN MODULATION

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 May 2009

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  • Effective July 1, 2018 Journal of EMDR Practice and Research will no longer be hosted on Ingenta Connect. Please go to http://connect.springerpub.com/content/sgremdr to access your online subscription to Journal of EMDR Practice and Research.
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