Chronic pain treatment
John, a veteran from Afghanistan, was complaining of severe stomach pains whenever he faced stress or had to make decisions. The pain was so bad that he had to go to the hospital for stronger medication, sometimes several times a week. He lived in fear of the next attack. John was seeking an effective treatment for his chronic pain.
Day-to-day, he experienced extreme anxiety when making any significant decision that affected his family. The anxiety would often escalate into crippling pain.
He had been reporting this problem since his return from duty. But unfortunately, no GPs or psychiatrists have been able to provide any relief.
As a soldier, he was responsible for decisions that affected his men’s lives. He had witnessed comrades shot and killed and. John’s pain was clearly related to the trauma he experienced on duty.
EMDR therapist recommendation
John followed the EMDR therapist’s recommendation and agreed to work on the traumatic memories related to his fear of making a wrong decision. EMDR therapy focused on the past pain triggers, including memories of seeing his wounded comrades. They also targeted present-day triggers such as making important decisions affecting his family and his fear of making the wrong decision. With the EMDR treatment, he had faced his triggers in a controlled environment for the first time.
Following EMDR desensitisation, John felt less distressed by war memories and less often. John also resolved the fear of making a wrong decision which reduced his anxiety when faced with important decisions in the present.
John was still sensitive and vulnerable to physical tension when under stress, but not near as severely, and could calm himself using bilateral stimulation techniques he had learned.
He had finally gained some control over his pain problem. His quality of life improved; he was more relaxed. While he was still experiencing some pain from time to time, he stopped going to the hospital for pain relief.
For John, EMDR therapy treated an underlying trauma and helped relieve his experience of chronic pain.