Examining the relationship and clinical management between traumatic brain injury and pain in military and civilian populations

Melissa L. Mehalick, Amanda C. Glueck

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


In this review, we discuss the comorbidity of traumatic brain injury (TBI) and pain among civilians and military members, the common causes of pain resulting from TBI, and offer insight about the therapeutic management of TBI symptoms and pain. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) is a debilitating health problem and one of the most common post-TBI symptoms is pain, which can contribute to psychological issues such as Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression. Headache pain appears to be the most common type of pain that results from TBI, yet pain can also be more widespread. Managing TBI symptoms and pain simultaneously is difficult because extensive randomized control and clinical studies assessing the effectiveness of therapeutic approaches are lacking. Pharmacological agents such as antidepressants and Triptans and nonpharmacological therapies such as cognitive rehabilitation and physical therapies are commonly used yet it is unknown how effective these therapies are in the long-term. A combination of pharmacological and non-pharmacological therapies is often more effective for managing TBI symptoms and pain than either treatment alone. However, future research is needed to determine the most therapeutic approaches for managing the comorbidity of pain and TBI symptoms in the long term. This review offers suggestions for such future studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1307-1314
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Injury
Issue number11
StatePublished - Sep 19 2018

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018, © 2018 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.


  • PSTD
  • Veterans
  • blast-related traumatic brain injury
  • chronic pain
  • polytrauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Clinical Neurology


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