JOURNAL ARTICLE

Prevalence of chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder, and persistent postconcussive symptoms in OIF/OEF veterans: polytrauma clinical triad

Henry L Lew, John D Otis, Carlos Tun, Robert D Kerns, Michael E Clark, David X Cifu
Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development 2009, 46 (6): 697-702
20104399
This study examines the prevalence and coprevalence with which returning Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF)/Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) veterans were reporting symptoms consistent with chronic pain, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and persistent postconcussive symptoms (PPCS). The medical records of 340 OIF/OEF veterans seen at a Department of Veterans Affairs Polytrauma Network Site were comprehensively reviewed. Analyses indicated a high prevalence of all three conditions in this population, with chronic pain, PTSD, and PPCS present in 81.5%, 68.2%, and 66.8%, respectively. Only 12 of the veterans (3.5%) had no chronic pain, PTSD, or PPCS. The frequency at which these three conditions were present in isolation (10.3%, 2.9%, and 5.3%, respectively) was significantly lower than the frequency at which they were present in combination with one another, with 42.1% of the sample being diagnosed with all three conditions simultaneously. The most common chronic pain locations were the back (58%) and head (55%). These results underscore the complexity of the presenting complaints in OIF/OEF veterans and support the importance of a multidisciplinary team approach to assessment and treatment.

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