EMDR versus treatment-as-usual in patients with chronic non-malignant pain: A randomized controlled pilot study
In recent years, different studies have observed a strong association between chronic pain (CP) and psychological trauma. Therefore, a trauma-focused psychotherapy, such as eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR), could be an innovative treatment option. The aim of this pilot study was to assess whether a specific EMDR protocol for CP leads to (a) a reduction in pain intensity, (b) an improvement in anxiety and depressive symptoms, and (c) an improvement in quality of life. 28 CP patients were randomly assigned to EMDR + treatment as usual (TAU; n = 14) or to TAU alone (n = 14). Patients in the EMDR group received 12 psychotherapeutic sessions of 90 minutes over 3 months. Pain intensity was measured using the Visual Analog Scale and the Pain Disability index, quality of life using the EQ-5D-5L, and anxiety and depressive symptoms using the Hamilton Anxiety and Depression Scale. Measures were taken for both conditions at pre- and post-treatment, and a follow-up in the EMDR condition was taken at 3 months post-treatment. Patients in the EMDR group showed significantly reduced pain intensity and improved quality of life and anxiety and depressive symptoms compared to TAU alone at post-treatment. Improvements were largely maintained at 3-month follow-up. This study suggests that EMDR may be an effective and safe psychological intervention to be used within the multidisciplinary treatment plan of patients with CP.
Original Work Citation
Suárez, N. A., Pérez, J. M., Hogg, B. M., Gardoki-Souto, I., Guerrero, F. G., Cabrera, S. J., Bernal, D. S., Amann, B. L., & Alcázar, A. M. (2021). EMDR versus treatment-as-usual in patients with chronic non-malignant pain: A randomized controlled pilot study. Journal of EMDR Practice and Research, 15(2), x-xx. doi:10.1891/EMDR-D-20-00004
“EMDR versus treatment-as-usual in patients with chronic non-malignant pain: A randomized controlled pilot study,” Francine Shapiro Library, accessed June 18, 2021, https://emdria.omeka.net/items/show/26751.