Study Links History of Abuse to Pain
SWACH Opioid Collaborative Member Delena Meyer Describes Implications for Providers
New research indicates that patients who have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) or childhood maltreatment may have higher pain levels due to alterations in the pain processing pathways. These changes are likely to be both biological and psychological in nature. The study was described in a recent story in Pain Medicine News titled History of Child Abuse Linked to Risk Factors, Pain Pathways in Adults
What Does This mean for Providers?
SWACH Opioid Collaborative member Delena Meyer is a community leader in trauma informed care and ED of Way Enough Consulting. SWACH asked her to share her perspective on implications of this research for providers. Her response is below.
Curiosity and compassion. A vast body of research tells a bigger story about providers’ role in healing. Remaining curious about patient experiences, asking questions, and considering the role of trauma in how pain is felt by an individual will increase quality of care AND begin to eliminate stigma-based treatment decisions that harm patients.
Compassion challenges us to see, acknowledge and treat the whole person. For patients with trauma histories, pain management must be treated within the context of trauma recovery. Treatment options that ignore or disregard the role of trauma do more than just prolong injury or affliction. In many instances, providers may unintentionally re-traumatize patients and increase the likelihood of further illness or injury. Compassion asks us to broaden our lens to consider how a patient might fair best within the context of broader healing.
SWACH is currently working with partnering providers on developing plans to effectively support trauma informed care in our region.