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Can EMDR help fibromyalgia?


Research indicates that having adverse childhood events or traumatic memories may be related to the ensuing of Fibromyalgia. Regarding the research findings and understanding of AIP Model (see notes) I worked with a client, who was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia, with EMDR

Recent studies have found vast improvements on the condition.

What is Fibromyalgia?•

There is no relevant organic pathology in medically unexplained physical symptoms (MUPS). •Fibromyalgia Syndrome (FMS) is acknowledged as one of the MUPS.• According to the American College of Rheumatology, Fibromyalgia Syndrome is a medical problem. •Fibromyalgia is known as ‘chronic disorder that causes: muscle pain and muscle weakness on the specific parts of the body such as neck, back and shoulder’

Fibromyalgia patients also show other symptoms such as:

  • fatigue
  • depressed mood
  • disturbed sleep
  • low energy
  • poor general health
  • cognitive impairment
  • anxiety
  • stress etc.
  • They mostly restrict people’s life, relationships and also cause emotional problems.

There is a different protocol for fibromyalgia as follows:

EMDR Protocol for Fibromyalgia The Protocol Phase

1: History Taking Phase

2: Preparation Phase

3: Assessment Phase

4-7 : Desensitization-Closure Phase

8 Revaluation

In the 1st phase we are looking for

  • First Memory related To First Fibromyalgia Pain,
  • Other Memories Related to Fibromyalgia Pain
  • Pain as Trauma
  • Unrelated Memories Before Fibromyalgia Onset
  • “Triggers”

Before treatment commences we will also carry out certain assessment such as.

“•   Fibromyalgia Impact Questionnaire (FIQ)”

“•   Visual Analog Scale (VAS)”

“•   Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI)”

“•   Beck Depression Inventory (BDI)”

“•   Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE)”

“•  PTSD Checklist Civilian Version (PCL-C)”

“•   Trauma Symtom Checklist (TSC-40)”

“•   The World Health Organization Quality of Life (WHOQOL)”

In the assessment phase the focus is on any trauma around the time of the onset of fibromyalgia


The Adaptive Information Processing Model (AIP)

TRAUMA PERSPECTIVE AIP in a Nutshell Unprocessed memories and memory networks are the primary base of psychopathology. •The disruption on the information process causes storage of disturbing memories as they are. These are called dysfunctional memories. Adaptive Information Process takes the disturbances an adaptive solution. In this way, it builds functional memory networks. •The networks built by memories are the basis of perceptions, attitudes, and behaviours: Personality

Research studies

Branco,J.C., Bannwarth,B., Failde,I., Carbonell,J.A., Blotman,F., Spaeth,M., . . . Matucci-Cerinic,M. (2010). Prevalence of Fibromyalgia: A Surveyin FiveEuropeanCountries.Seminarsin ArthritisandRheumatism. doi:10.1016/j.semarthrit.2008.12.003Breivik,H., Collett,B., Ventafridda,V., Cohen,R., & Gallacher,D. (2006). Survey of chronic pain in Europe: Prevalence, impact on daily life, and treatment.European Journal of Pain,10(4), 287-333.Chronic Pain Alternative Treatment: Physical Therapy, Accupuncture, Hydrotherapy, and More. (n.d.). Retrieved from,D.M., Dillworth,T.M., & Turner,J.A. (2014). Cognitive-Behavioral Therapy for Individuals With Chronic Pain.American Psychological Association,69(2), 153-166. Elkins,G., Jensen,M.P., & Patterson,D.R. (2007). Hypnotherapy for the Management of Chronic Pain.International Journal of Clinical and Experimental Hypnosis,55(3), 275-287. doi:10.1080/00207140701338621 Forbes,D., & Chalmers,A. (2004). Fibromyalgia: revisiting the literature.JCCA,48(2), 119-131.Forgash,C. (0). Deepening EMDR Treatment Effects Across The Trauma Spectrum: Integrating EMDR And Ego State Work.

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