I am a
Home I AM A Search Login

Papers of the Week

Papers: 2 Apr 2022 - 8 Apr 2022


2022 Apr 05

Curr Pain Headache Rep

A Theoretical Endogenous Opioid Neurobiological Framework for Co-occurring Pain, Trauma, and Non-suicidal Self-injury.



Individuals with chronic pain are significantly more likely to have experienced overwhelming trauma early and often in key developmental years. There is increasing acknowledgment that childhood trauma disrupts how individuals process and cope with both physical and emotional pain. Emerging studies acknowledge elevated rates of non-suicidal self-injury (NSSI) in chronic pain populations. This review provides a theoretical framework to understand the relationship between NSSI behavior and pain experience in persons with chronic pain and childhood trauma histories. We discuss how NSSI may act to regulate neurobiological (e.g., endogenous opioid systems) and psychological (e.g., heightened negative affect and emotion dysregulation) systems affected by childhood trauma, leading to temporary pain relief and a cycle of negative reinforcement perpetuating NSSI. As these concepts are greatly understudied in pain populations, this review focuses on key areas relevant to chronic pain that may provide a testable, conceptual framework to support hypothesis generation, future empirical investigation, and intervention efforts.