EFT can be used in a variety of ways for pain. In the beginning people usually use tapping for the physical sensation of pain (e.g. severity, intensity or the impact in their lives), but it can also be applied to any emotions associated with pain too. People with acute pain (e.g. an injury that has just happened) report that EFT helps with coping until they receive medical care. EFT is not designed to stop pain that is appropriate here – acute pain is a signal there is something wrong, but EFT might help with coping until you obtain medical intervention.
Chronic pain however, is typically described as pain that still exists beyond the period of time where the body has repaired an injury. Sometimes there is no origin for chronic pain either – it just starts one day without an event or incident. EFT in this case can be applied to symptoms (pain rating out of 10), everyday coping, the emotions associated with having this long lasting pain (e.g. angry it never goes away) or even to the event that started it (if there was one).
In my own study of chronic pain sufferers, an overwhelming 82% discussed the stigma they experienced from health professionals not believing the extent of their pain, and only 4% indicated they received any pain relief from psychological treatment. We taught them EFT for 4 hours in an intensive workshop they reported a significant decrease in the severity and impact of pain during this time, and a significant improvement in their overall psychological distress. There was also a significant improvement in their depression, anxiety, and stress symptoms. A significant association was found between pain and psychological distress. After 6-months, they still reported positive gains.