Adverse Childhood Experiences Increase Pain in Adulthood

Children who experience traumatic events are more likely to suffer from chronic pain as adults.


A new study examined the neural effects of adverse childhood experiences (ACEs). These researchers found that children who experience major ACEs exhibit lasting changes to the HPA axis and sensitivity to stress. Additionally, epigenetic changes can occur to further promote these effects. Levels of neurotransmitters, such as serotonin and dopamine, can be effected, and changes can also occur to the endogenous opiod and canniboid systems. All of these changes can decrease one’s pain tolerance and increase one’s susceptibility to chronic pain during adulthood.



Numerous studies have documented the long-lasting effects of adverse childhood experiences. This study demonstrates that many unlikely variables can influence the amount of pain that people are subjected to.



Burke, N. N., Finn, D. P., McGuire, B. E., & Roche, M. (2017). Psychological stress in early life as a predisposing factor for the development of chronic pain: Clinical and preclinical evidence and neurobiological mechanisms. Journal of neuroscience research95(6), 1257-1270.