Journal of Rehabilitation Research & Development (JRRD)

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Volume 51 Number 8, 2014
   Pages 1189 — 1202

Abstract — Correlates of pain symptoms among Iraq and Afghanistan military personnel following combat-related blast exposure

Kelcey J. Stratton, PhD;1–3* Sage E. Hawn, BS;3 Ananda B. Amstadter, PhD;3 David X. Cifu, MD;1,4 William C. Walker, MD1,4

1Hunter Holmes McGuire Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Richmond, VA; 2Department of Psychology, 3Virginia Institute for Psychiatric and Behavioral Genetics, and 4Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA

Abstract — Pain complaints are highly prevalent among military servicemembers and Veterans of the recent combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The high comorbidity of pain with conditions such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injury (TBI) underscores the importance of a greater understanding of factors associated with complex polytraumatic injuries among military personnel. The present study aimed to identify correlates of current pain among 201 U.S. military personnel who reported at least one blast experience during combat deployment (age [mean +/– standard deviation]: 27.20 +/– 7.58 yr). Theoretically derived subsets of variables were analyzed in successive hierarchical regression models to determine correlates of self-reported pain symptoms. Preliminary models evaluated demographic features, medical and injury characteristics (e.g., TBI classification), psychosocial history (e.g., trauma exposure), and psychiatric variables. A final model was then derived, in which older age, possible or probable mild TBI, depression symptoms, and PTSD re-experiencing symptoms emerged as significant correlates of pain. The findings further the understanding of polytrauma symptoms among military personnel by identifying specific patient characteristics and comorbidity patterns related to pain complaints. Increased awareness of demographic, psychiatric, or medical factors implicated in pain will enhance comprehensive clinical assessment and intervention efforts.

Key words: blast exposure, combat, depression, military, OIF/OEF/OND, pain, polytrauma, posttraumatic stress disorder, trauma, traumatic brain injury.


View HTML ¦ View PDF ¦ Contents Vol. 51, No.8

This article and any supplementary material should be cited as follows:
Stratton KJ, Hawn SE, Amstadter AB, Cifu DX, Walker
WC. Correlates of pain symptoms among Iraq and Afghanistan military personnel following combat-related blast exposure. J Rehabil Res Dev. 2014;51(8):1189–1202.
http://dx.doi.org/10.1682/JRRD.2014.04.0111
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