Introduction Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain are frequently co-morbid conditions in the U.S. veteran population. Although several theories about the cause of increased pain prevalence in individuals with PTSD have been presented, no synthesis of primary data informing the impact of co-morbid PTSD and pain has been completed. The purpose of this study was to systematically review the literature and quantify disability, function, and pain-related beliefs and outcomes in veterans with PTSD compared to veterans without PTSD. Materials and Methods A systematic search of three electronic databases was conducted. Inclusion criteria required pain-related comparison of veterans with PTSD to those without PTSD. Primary outcome measures and standardized mean differences (SMDs) were assessed for pain, function, disability, pain beliefs, and healthcare utilization using a random effects model. Results 20 original research studies met inclusion criteria and were assessed for quality and outcomes of interest. The majority of studies were cross-sectional. Veterans with PTSD and pain demonstrated higher pain (SMD = 0.58, 95% CI 0.28–0.89), disability (SMD = 0.52, 95%CI 0.33–0.71), depression (SMD = 1.40, 95%CI 1.2–1.6), catastrophizing beliefs (SMD = 0.95, 95% CI 0.69–1.2), sleep disturbance (SMD = 0.80, 95% CI 0.57–1.02), and healthcare utilization; they had lower function (SMD = 0.41, 95% CI 0.25–0.56) and pain self-efficacy (SMD = 0.77, 95% CI 0.55–0.99) compared to veterans without PTSD. Conclusion In veterans with chronic pain, PTSD symptomology has a large effect for many negative health-related outcomes. This review supports the need for clinicians to screen and understand the effects of PTSD symptoms on patients with pain. Clinicians should recognize that veterans with PTSD and pain likely have elevated pain catastrophizing beliefs and decreased self-efficacy that should be targeted for intervention.
|State||Published - Sep 1 2020|
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ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health