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PTSD’s Effect on Chronic Pain and Depression

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and depression are commonly experienced by individuals living with accident or trauma related chronic pain.

However, how PTSD relates to mood disorders and pain severity in chronic pain patients has remained a mystery.

As a result, scientists from the University of Michigan researchers examined the contribution of PTSD to the pain experience, functional disability and frequency of depressive symptoms.

They studied 241 patients referred to the university hospital’s pain rehabilitation program who reported their pain began after a traumatic injury. The subjects completed the McGill Pain Questionnaire and were administered the Pain Disability Index and the Post-traumatic Chronic Pain Test.

Results showed PTSD and depression are significantly correlated and both disorders are associated with perceived disability attributed to chronic pain.

Therefore, in cases of disabling accident-related chronic pain with comorbid depression, symptoms of PTSD may be critical to understanding both disorders.

The authors concluded that increased attention to treating PTSD as a primary focus in the rehabilitation of patients with chronic pain and comorbid depression is important when prior treatment efforts for pain and depression have not been successful.

Source: American Pain Society

PTSD’s Effect on Chronic Pain and Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). PTSD’s Effect on Chronic Pain and Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on February 18, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
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