“Some small worm is chewing my stomach”: Chronic pain in movement and narratives, a cross-sectional study

T. Weismann, J. Czamanski-Cohen, D. J. Federman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Chronic pain is multidimensional with physiological, psychological-emotional, and body-movement components. Studies of the bodily manifestation of pain are scarce. Our aim was to investigate the relationship between the narrative of chronic pain and its non-verbal bodily expressions and the relationship between emotional regulation and pain. Method: To obtain this aim, we conducted a cross-sectional correlational study in which 30 individuals suffering from chronic pain were recruited and asked to tell a story about their pain as well as a neutral narrative. Movement during both narratives was analyzed. Results: The pain narratives were statistically significantly longer in duration and were characterized by higher numbers of movements. Pain intensity was found to be related to the number of movements and more use of suppression. Movement analysis showed three clusters of movements: illustrative, comforting, and turning upwards. Discussion: These findings contribute to the understanding of how movement, emotion and verbal expression are interwoven and emphasize the central role of the body in the context of mental and psychological processing, especially during verbal narration of individuals with chronic pain. Clinical implications may include the use of these components in the process of therapy that uses movement and verbal interventions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102049
JournalArts in Psychotherapy
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Chronic pain
  • Emotion regulation
  • Movement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Professions (miscellaneous)
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health


Dive into the research topics of '“Some small worm is chewing my stomach”: Chronic pain in movement and narratives, a cross-sectional study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this