P A I N   S T U D Y

Pain Study and Treatment Study to Research the Correlation between (complex) Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and chronic Pain Disorders

A multicenter therapy study will investigate the development, perpetuation and correlation of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with chronic pain. Thereby a new treatment method for traumatized refugees with chronic pain will be evaluated.


Traumatic events often result in a Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, which is accompanied frequently by intense pain, even a long time after the traumatic experience. This pain may be the result of injuries sustained during the event, or may come from a general high level of tension that occurs after the traumatic event (eg. headaches, back pain).

The Perpetual Avoidance Model (Liedl & Knaevelsrud, 2008) was developed in order to clarify the mechanisms of development and perpetuation of both these disorders as well as the treatment implications involved.

Bio-Feedback Therapy and Physical Activity

Bio-Feedback Therapy is a method that aims to achieve self-control in phsyical activities. During Bio-Feedback treatment, physical functions of patients are continually reported through acoustic or visual signals. Thereby reinforcing the positive effects of these phsyical actions (relaxation).

Muscular tension that results from feelings of pain can lead to the perpetuation of pain through an ongoing vicious circle of pain – stress and tension – reduction of physical activity – decreased blood flow – more stress – more pain. The treatment focuses on reducing muscle tension in order to break the increasing pain produced in the vicious circle. Another aim of Bio-Feedback Training is the development of physical awareness and to maintain a certain physical relaxation even during stressful situations. In this study, Bio-Feedback is combined with Psycho-education (relating to the correlation between pain and Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms) of pain-focused behavioural-therapeutic-cognitive interventions and the use of physical activity.

Aims and Hypotheses

A randomized control study will investigate the effectiveness of pain intervention in combination with physical activity for traumatized patients with chronic pain disorders. It is assumed in this study that Bio-Feedback treatment can significantly reduce clinical stress and biophysiological irregularities related to chronic pain. Additionally, it will be expected that biological aspects like muscle tension will be reduced and that the associated areas of Post-Traumatic Stress symptoms, subjective perception of health and quality of life will improve.

Cooperation Partner

Outpatient Clinic for Victims of War and Torture (afk) in Zurich
Outpatient Center for Pain, Charité in Berlin
University of Southhampton
Technical University in Dresden

Contact Person

Dr. Maria Böttche

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