Objective: To index the frequency of reported chronic pain in patients with traumatic brain injury (TBI).
Design: A case series study was conducted on consecutive patients with TBI.
Setting: TBI patients were recruited from an adult tertiary care center brain injury clinic.
Patients: A consecutive sample of 132 patients who attended a brain injury rehabilitation center after TBI. The sample included 53 mild and 79 moderate/severe TBI patients.
Outcome measures: Patients were administered a protocol that indexed pain site, frequency, severity, and duration.
Results: Chronic pain was reported by 58% of mild TBI and 52% of moderate/severe TBI patients. Headaches were the most commonly reported pain problem. Chronic headaches were reported by 47% of mild TBI patients and 34% of moderate/ severe TBI patients. Neck/shoulder, back, upper limb, and lower limb pain were reported similarly by mild and moderate/severe TBI patients.
Conclusions: Findings indicate that chronic pain is a significant problem in mild and moderate/severe TBI patients. More effective diagnosis of TBI patients with chronic pain may facilitate rehabilitation of these patients.