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Persistent pain after stressful events may have a neurological basis

Many clients come to therapists reporting that they have severe, persistent pain after traumatic events, like car accidents or sexual assaults.  Many times their pain doesn’t seem to be related in a physical way to the event itself, and often doctors will discount it or think that the patient is exaggerating their pain.

A new study suggests that there is an actual biological reason for this pain. “Our study findings indicate that mechanisms influencing chronic pain development may be related to the stress response, rather than any specific injury caused by the traumatic event,” said Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, senior author of the study and assistant professor of anesthesiology. “In other words, our results suggest that in some individuals something goes wrong with the body’s ‘fight or flight’ response or the body’s recovery from this response, and persistent pain results.”

So if you are experiencing severe or chronic pain that began after a stressful event please show this article and the study link to your doctor.  It could make a difference in how your pain is viewed.


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