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Childhood trauma, chronic pain in adulthood

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Dec20,2023

Childhood trauma, chronic pain in adulthood

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The exact mechanism underlying the association between chronic pain in adulthood and adverse childhood experiences is not well understood.

The Canadian Press

Negative experiences in childhood are associated with a higher likelihood of chronic pain in adulthood, finds a meta-analysis led by a researcher at McGill University.

More specifically, individuals who reported being physically abused as children were subsequently significantly more likely to report chronic pain or pain-related disability as adults. .

Adverse childhood experiences are associated with different health problems that can be understood on a psychological level, but also on a physical level, recalled Professor André Bussières, from the McGill School of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy.

We wondered if, in fact, there was a link between these negative experiences in children and later, in adults, long-term consequences.

A quote from André Bussières, McGill School of Physiotherapy and Occupational Therapy

A direct negative childhood experience (such as physical, sexual, or emotional abuse, or neglect) combined with an indirect negative experience (domestic violence or mental illness within the home) increased the risk of chronic pain or disability caused by pain in adulthood.

Risk of chronic pain in adulthood gradually increased depending on whether the subject had been the victim of one or more negative experiences in childhood.

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The increased risk of chronic pain ranged from 31% during a single exposure to 98% during a single exposure. multiple exposures.

Professor Bussières and his colleagues come to these conclusions after reviewing around sixty studies on the subject.

These painful disorders being very common, a modest increase in risk implies a large number of additional cases and therefore a significant impact on the health of the population, emphasize the authors.

Exposure to a negative childhood experience is associated with the most common chronic pain, such as back pain, neck pain or other musculoskeletal disorders, leading to staggering costs for the health system. , they recall.

The exact mechanism underlying the association between chronic pain in adulthood and adverse childhood experiences is not well understood. A change in gene expression that affects brain structure and function, greater sensitivity to pain later in life, and less cortisone production in adulthood are among the hypotheses. the study.

The other [hypothesis] is that it causes continued stress in the patient. individual, stress which can become unconscious, said Professor Bussières.

We do not necessarily remember all the events that have happened to us during our lives and which could lead to possible fatigue of the nervous system, difficulty in controlling pain […] and therefore it happens more at the level of the central nervous system.

A quote from André Bussières, School of physiotherapy and x27;McGill occupational therapy

Approximately one in five Canadians suffer from chronic pain. A study published in 2016 calculated that a billion children – half of the world's children – are exposed to physical, sexual or emotional violence every year.

The findings of the study were published by the European Journal of Psychotraumatology (New window) (in English).

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my 1-800-268-7116

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