Eye Movement Desensitization Reprocessing as Treatment for Chronic Pain Syndromes: Literature Review
Background: Chronic pain is public health problem in the United States, costing upwards of $560 to $635 billion annually. Guidelines consistently recommend psychological treatment for chronic pain. Eye movement desensitization reprocessing (EMDR) psychotherapy may provide an alternate approach to treating chronic pain.
Objective: Review of literature to evaluate the effectiveness of EMDR in the treatment of chronic pain.
Method: A literature search of seven databases was conducted to find relevant studies addressing the use of EMDR for chronic pain.
Results: Most studies reported improvement in pain and psychological indices with EMDR.
Conclusions: Because most literature reported case studies, the results have limited generalizability. However, for clients who suffer from chronic pain, EMDR is a reasonable treatment alternative.
Keywords: EMDR; chronic pain; eye movement desensitization reprocessing; medically unexplained symptoms; somatization.