The Body Bears the Burden is the title of neurologist Dr. Robert C. Scaer’s book about trauma and chronic pain. For 20 years Dr. Scaer was the director of a multi-disciplinary programme for treating chronic pain. Physicians referred patients they were unable to help to his service. Many who were on huge doses of narcotics were still in pain despite the medication.
A number of factors caused Dr. Scaer to be curious.
With whiplash, for example, almost any treatment worked for a while, but the pain always came back. Why was this? Dr. Scaer went looking for some answers.
Among the findings he discovered that 60% of the chronic pain patients had suffered child abuse. 30% were diagnosed with borderline personality disorder.
Dr. Scaer concluded that whiplash, myofascial neck and back pain, vertigo, labile blood pressure, temperomandibular headaches, low back pain, irritable bowel syndrome, chronic fatigue, fibromyalgia and migraine could be considered “dissociative capsules.”
That is, they were the result of physically held psychological trauma.
Dr. Scaer who spends his time writing and lecturing on the connection between psychological trauma and pain these days says:
If one accepts this premise, then many of the most common causes for visits to physicians’ offices in fact represent the somatic symptoms generated by the autonomic and somatic procedural memories within cumulative dissociative capsules.”
The implications of this are profound. What does it mean for trauma therapists? What does it mean for those of us who have suffered chronic pain that went away when we dealt with our traumatic histories? What might it mean for our health care systems?
What do you know about this subject? Your comments below would be most welcome.