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Trauma Patients Likely To Experience Moderately Severe Pain One Year After Injuries

Date:
March 20, 2008
Source:
JAMA and Archives Journals
Summary:
Most patients have moderately severe pain resulting from their injuries one year after sustaining major trauma, according to a new article. 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.
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Most patients have moderately severe pain resulting from their injuries one year after sustaining major trauma, according to a new article.

"Pain is a natural accompaniment of acute injury to tissues and is expected in the setting of acute trauma," according to background information in the article. 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 12 months after injury was measured on a 10-point scale. Personal, injury and treatment factors that may predict chronic pain in these patients were also noted.

"At 12 months after injury, 62.7 percent of patients reported injury-related pain. Most patients had pain in more than one body region, and the mean [average] severity of pain in the last month was 5.5 on a 10-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 reported presence of pain varied with age and was more common in women and those who had untreated depression before injury," the authors write. "Pain at three months was predictive of both the presence and higher severity of pain at 12 months. Lower pain severity was reported by patients with a college education and those with no previous functional limitations."

"The findings of this study suggest that interventions to decrease chronic pain in trauma patients are needed," the authors conclude. "The high prevalence of pain, its severity and its effect on functioning warrant such interventions. This may consist of interventions during the acute phase of hospitalization to aggressively treat early pain and better manage neuropathic pain."

Journal referenced: Arch Surg. 2008;143[3]:282-287.

This study was funded by a grant from the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and a grant from the National Institute on Aging, National Institutes of Health.


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The above post is reprinted from materials provided by JAMA and Archives Journals. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


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JAMA and Archives Journals. "Trauma Patients Likely To Experience Moderately Severe Pain One Year After Injuries." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 20 March 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317164404.htm>.
JAMA and Archives Journals. (2008, March 20). Trauma Patients Likely To Experience Moderately Severe Pain One Year After Injuries. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 2, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317164404.htm
JAMA and Archives Journals. "Trauma Patients Likely To Experience Moderately Severe Pain One Year After Injuries." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/03/080317164404.htm (accessed July 2, 2015).

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