A different kind of comorbidity: Understanding posttraumatic stress disorder and chronic pain


Many traumatic events leave lingering physical injuries and chronic pain in their wake, in addition to trauma-related psychopathology. In this review, we provide an overview of developments in the recent literature on comorbid posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain. Starting with the conceptual models presented by Sharp and Harvey (2001) and Asmundson, Coons, Taylor, and Klatz (2002), this review summarizes newer studies that examine prevalence of these comorbid conditions. Additionally, we present an updated synthesis of research on factors that may maintain both chronic physical pain and PTSD in trauma survivors. Consideration of the impact of this comorbidity on psychosocial assessment and treatment also is discussed, with particular attention to issues that warrant additional research. © 2011 American Psychological Association.

Publication Title

Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy