Trauma Patients Experience Chronic Pain

Photo: Sad woman

Trauma patients often suffer from
chronic pain; © SXC

Recent studies have shown that most patients with pelvic fractures and lower extremity injuries continue to experience chronic pain five to seven years after injury. Pain after injury can lead to disability, post-traumatic stress disorder and depression.

Frederick P. Rivara, M.D., M.P.H., of the University of Washington, Seattle, and colleagues analyzed information from 3,047 patients, age 18 to 84, who were admitted to the hospital and survived to one year after experiencing acute trauma. Pain twelve months after injury was measured on a ten-point scale. Personal, injury and treatment factors that may predict chronic pain in these patients were also noted.

“At twelve months after injury, 62.7 percent of patients reported injury-related pain. Most patients had pain in more than one body region, and the average severity of pain in the last month was 5.5 on a ten-point scale,” the authors write. The occurrence of pain one year after injury was most common in those age 35 to 44 and least common in those 75 to 84. “The most common painful areas were joints and extremities (44.3 percent), back (26.2 percent), head (11.5 percent), neck (6.9 percent), abdomen (4.4 percent), chest (3.8 percent) and face (2.8 percent).”

Most (59.3 percent) of those with injury-related pain had three or more painful areas one year after injury, while only 37.3 percent had a single painful area. Patients age 75 to 84 had the fewest number of injury-related painful areas, while those 35 to 44 had the most. “The findings of this study suggest that interventions to decrease chronic pain in trauma patients are needed,” the authors conclude.

MEDICA.de; Source: JAMA and Archives Journals