The eye movement desensitization and reprocessing approach in pain management – A case report of a patient with paraparesis
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Polish EMDR Association, Poland
Department of Rehabilitation Psychology and Special Pedagogy, University of Physical Education in Warsaw, Poland
Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medical Science, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Radiotherapy Clinic, Holycross Cancer Center in Kielce, Poland
Faculty of Health Sciences, The Jan Kochanowski University in Kielce, Poland
Submission date: 2015-06-14
Acceptance date: 2015-11-02
Online publication date: 2015-12-18
Publication date: 2020-03-23
Corresponding author
Katarzyna Zaborowska-Sapeta   

Department of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medical Science, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland. Tel.: +48 895393282.
Pol. Ann. Med. 2016;23(1):30-33
Somatic symptoms such as pain from psychiatric cause may result from abnormalities in information processing mechanisms in the central nervous system. Bilateral stimulation of the brain by using alternating eye movements assists to unlock and reprocess experiences.

The aim of this article is the presentation of the eye movement desensitization and reprocessing (EMDR) method in pain treatment.

Case study:
A 23-year-old patient with paraparesis due to traffic accident three years earlier resulting in incomplete transverse spinal cord damage reported severe pain in paralyzed lower limbs from about one year. Thorough physical and imaging examination had ruled out organic causes of the pain and the patient was diagnosed with psychogenic pain. The standard EMDR protocol was used. In order to determine the mental state of the patient, the following tests were applied: (1) beck depression inventory, (2) the pain disability index, (3) subjective units of distress, and (4) validity of cognition. Therapy was completed when the patient declared resolution of leg pain and returned to rehabilitation. Measurements were performed three times: before treatment, immediately after treatment completion and four months after treatment completion.

Results and discussion:
During a six-week EMDR therapy, the patient achieved a significant improvement. The importance of eye movements in planning rehabilitation strategies in other approach, i.e. modulation of motor control, indicates new research directions of the contemporary comprehensive rehabilitation approach. This study is a single case report, and thus further larger scale studies are required.

The EMDR method could be helpful in psychogenic pain treatment.

None declared.
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