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      The role of posttraumatic stress symptoms on chronic pain outcomes in chronic pain patients referred to rehabilitation

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          Abstract

          Objectives

          Posttraumatic stress symptoms (PTSS) are highly prevalent in chronic pain patients and may affect pain symptomatology negatively, but there is still a great need to explore exactly how this occurs. Therefore, this study investigated differences in pain intensity, pain-related disability, and psychological distress between chronic pain patients not exposed to a trauma, patients exposed to a trauma with no PTSS, and patients exposed to a trauma with PTSS. Moreover, the moderating effects of PTSS on the associations between pain intensity and pain-related disability and psychological distress were investigated.

          Methods

          In this cross-sectional cohort study, data were consecutively collected over the course of a year in patients with chronic non-malignant pain referred for multidisciplinary pain rehabilitation at a Danish university hospital pain center using questionnaires assessing pain, pain-related disability, PTSS, anxiety, and depression.

          Results

          The final sample consisted of 682 chronic pain patients, who were divided into three subgroups (no trauma, 40.6%; trauma/no PTSS, 40.5%; trauma/PTSS, 18.9%). Chronic pain patients with PTSS reported significantly higher levels of pain intensity, pain-related disability, depression, and anxiety compared to chronic pain patients without a trauma and chronic pain patients without PTSS. Moreover, PTSS significantly moderated the associations between pain intensity and pain-related psychosocial disability, depression, and anxiety.

          Conclusion

          These results highlight the importance of assessing PTSS in chronic pain patients and suggest that PTSS have a specific influence on the association between pain intensity and more psychosocial aspects of the pain condition.

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          Most cited references 34

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          A comparison of inclusive and restrictive strategies in modern missing data procedures.

          Two classes of modern missing data procedures, maximum likelihood (ML) and multiple imputation (MI), tend to yield similar results when implemented in comparable ways. In either approach, it is possible to include auxiliary variables solely for the purpose of improving the missing data procedure. A simulation was presented to assess the potential costs and benefits of a restrictive strategy, which makes minimal use of auxiliary variables, versus an inclusive strategy, which makes liberal use of such variables. The simulation showed that the inclusive strategy is to be greatly preferred. With an inclusive strategy not only is there a reduced chance of inadvertently omitting an important cause of missingness, there is also the possibility of noticeable gains in terms of increased efficiency and reduced bias, with only minor costs. As implemented in currently available software, the ML approach tends to encourage the use of a restrictive strategy, whereas the MI approach makes it relatively simple to use an inclusive strategy.
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            Chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder: mutual maintenance?

            Common sequelae following a traumatic event include chronic pain and posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Over the last decade, the literature relating to PTSD has become progressively more sophisticated, resulting in well-supported theories and treatments for sufferers. Equivalent research relating to chronic pain has more recently gathered momentum. However, to date there has been minimal attention devoted to the concurrence of the two disorders, even though high comorbidity has been noted. This review begins by briefly summarizing the literature relating to the two disorders in terms of symptoms, prevalence and comorbidity. It explicates the major psychological theories of chronic pain and PTSD and reviews the evidence relating what factors maintain the disorders. A number of pathways by which chronic pain and PTSD may be mutually maintaining are highlighted. We conclude that chronic pain and PTSD are mutually maintaining conditions and that there are several pathways by which both disorders may be involved in the escalation of symptoms and distress following trauma. Treatment implications are considered, as are issues for future research.
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              Derivation of a clinical prediction rule to identify both chronic moderate/severe disability and full recovery following whiplash injury.

              Recovery following a whiplash injury is varied: approximately 50% of individuals fully recover, 25% develop persistent moderate/severe pain and disability, and 25% experience milder levels of disability. Identification of individuals likely to develop moderate/severe disability or to fully recover may help direct therapeutic resources and optimise treatment. A clinical prediction rule (CPR) is a research-generated tool used to predict outcomes such as likelihood of developing moderate/severe disability or experiencing full recovery from whiplash injury. The purpose of this study was to assess the plausibility of developing a CPR. Participants from 2 prospective, longitudinal studies that examined prognostic factors for poor functional recovery following whiplash injury were used to derive this tool. Eight factors, previously identified as predictor variables of poor recovery, were included in the analyses: initial neck disability index (NDI), initial neck pain (visual analogue scale), cold pain threshold, range of neck movement, age, gender, presence of headache, and posttraumatic stress symptoms (Posttraumatic Diagnostic Scale [PDS]). An increased probability of developing chronic moderate/severe disability was predicted in the presence of older age and initially higher levels of NDI and hyperarousal symptoms (PDS) (positive predictive value [PPV]=71%). The probability of full recovery was increased in younger individuals with initially lower levels of neck disability (PPV=71%). This study provides initial evidence for a CPR to predict both chronic moderate/severe disability and full recovery following a whiplash injury. Further research is needed to validate the tool, determine the acceptability of the proposed CPR by practitioners, and assess the impact of inclusion in practice.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2018
                08 March 2018
                : 11
                : 527-536
                Affiliations
                [1 ]Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
                [2 ]The Specialized Hospital for Polio and Accident Victims, Roedovre, Denmark
                [3 ]Pain Research Group, Pain Center South, Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Odense University Hospital, Odense, Denmark
                [4 ]Department of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Sophie Lykkegaard Ravn, Department of Psychology, University of Southern Denmark, Campusvej 55, DK-5230 Odense M, Denmark, Tel +45 2681 9022, Email slravn@ 123456health.sdu.dk
                Article
                jpr-11-527
                10.2147/JPR.S155241
                5848846
                © 2018 Ravn et al. This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited

                The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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                Original Research

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