Trauma: The Lesion That Doesn't Show Up on the Scan

Author: Christian Washburn

Childhood traumas. For the purposes of this article, “trauma” will be referring to psychological trauma, or adverse childhood events (ACE). ACEs—physical, sexual, and emotional abuse; neglect; and household dysfunction— are prevalent within our communities and can lead to a wide range of mental and physical problems, including chronic pain. Assessment and treatment of trauma, however, are often ignored in medical facilities. ACEs are a toxic form of stress that impacts biological foundations. The original Adverse Childhood Experiences research and subsequent studies signified the need to acknowledge and treat trauma. This article explains ACEs and chronic pain, the neurobiology of ACEs, treatment of trauma and chronic pain, and discusses provider education.

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