The Interaction Between Chronic Pain and PTSD

Curr Pain Headache Rep. 2019 Nov 28;23(12):91. doi: 10.1007/s11916-019-0828-3.


Purpose of review: Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and chronic pain often co-occur. Understanding the shared mechanisms, signs to identify PTSD, and treatment options is integral in allowing providers to better serve their patients.

Recent findings: Individuals with comorbid PTSD and chronic pain report greater PTSD symptoms, pain, anxiety, depression, disability, and opioid use than those with only one of these conditions. There are several empirically supported therapies for chronic pain, and for PTSD, as well as pilot data for a treatment of comorbid pain and PTSD. The purpose of this paper is to review and synthesize current literature investigating the interaction between chronic pain and PTSD, and provide treatment recommendations for providers treating patients with chronic pain and PTSD.

Keywords: Chronic pain; Headache; PTSD; Trauma.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Pain / epidemiology*
  • Comorbidity
  • Humans
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / epidemiology*