Relationship between traumatic events in childhood & chronic pain – fibromyalgia research

PURPOSE: The purpose was to examine the relationships between

traumatic events in childhood, such as sexual and physical

abuse, alcoholism, and drug addiction, and three types of

chronic pain: facial pain, myofascial pain, and fibromyalgia.

A fourth group, a heterogeneous group of other pain, was used

as a comparison group.

METHOD: Ninety one patients with

chronic pain, age range 20-60, were consecutively recruited

from the outpatient clinics of a rehabilitation hospital and a

general hospital. Patients were given four measures for

completion at evaluation: Childhood History Questionnaire;

Childhood Traumatic Events Scale; McGill Melzack Pain

Questionnaire; Pain Disability Index. Chi- square was used to

test significant differences among four pain groups on sexual,

physical, and verbal abuse; alcoholism; drug dependence;

medications; major upheaval, childhood illness, death of a

family member or friend, and separation or divorce of parents.

Logistic regression was used to predict membership in the four

pain groups.

RESULTS: All pain groups had a history of abuse

exceeding 48%: fibromyalgia, 64.7%; myofascial, 61.9%; facial,

50%; other pain, 48.3%. All groups had a history of family

alcohol dependence exceeding 38%, and a history of drug

dependence ranging from 5.8 to 19.1%. A combined history of

pain, child physical abuse, and alcoholism was prevalent in

12.9 to 35.3%. Logistic regression showed patients who were

female, with an alcoholic parent, using non-narcotic drugs

were more likely to be members of the facial, myofascial, and

fibromyalgia groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Child traumatic events are

significantly related to chronic pain. Since the problem of

child abuse is broader than physical and sexual abuse, health

and rehabilitation agencies must shift from individualized

treatment to interdisciplinary treatment of the family and


Goldberg RT, Pachas WN, Keith D

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