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Traumatization and chronic pain: a further model of interaction

Authors Egloff N, Hirschi A, von Känel R

Received 31 July 2013

Accepted for publication 28 August 2013

Published 5 November 2013 Volume 2013:6 Pages 765—770


Checked for plagiarism Yes

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Video abstract presented by Egloff N, Hirschi A, von Känel R.

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Niklaus Egloff,1 Anna Hirschi,2 Roland von Känel1

1Department of General Internal Medicine, Division of Psychosomatic Medicine, Inselspital, University Hospital, Bern, Switzerland; 2Outpatient Clinic for Victims of Torture and War, Swiss Red Cross, Bern-Wabern, Switzerland

Abstract: Up to 80% of patients with severe posttraumatic stress disorder are suffering from “unexplained” chronic pain. Theories about the links between traumatization and chronic pain have become the subject of increased interest over the last several years. We will give a short summary about the existing interaction models that emphasize particularly psychological and behavioral aspects of this interaction. After a synopsis of the most important psychoneurobiological mechanisms of pain in the context of traumatization, we introduce the hypermnesia–hyperarousal model, which focuses on two psychoneurobiological aspects of the physiology of learning. This hypothesis provides an answer to the hitherto open question about the origin of pain persistence and pain sensitization following a traumatic event and also provides a straightforward explanatory model for educational purposes.

Keywords: posttraumatic stress disorder, chronic pain, hypermnesia, hypersensitivity, traumatization

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