Chronic posttraumatic stress disorder and chronic pain in Vietnam combat veterans

J Psychosom Res. 1997 Oct;43(4):379-89. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3999(97)00129-3.


A study was conducted to investigate chronic pain patterns in Vietnam veterans with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Combat veterans with PTSD completed standardized PTSD severity, pain, somatization, and depression measures. Of 129 consecutive out-patient combat veterans with PTSD, 80% reported chronic pain. In descending order were limb pain (83%), back pain (77%), torso pain (50%), and headache pain (32%). Compared to PTSD combat veterans without chronic pain, PTSD veterans who reported chronic pain reported significantly higher somatization as measured by the Minnesota Multiphasic Inventory 2 hypochondriasis and hysteria subscales. In the sample of 103 combat veterans with PTSD and chronic pain, MMPI 2 hypochondriasis scores and B PTSD symptoms (reexperiencing symptoms) were significantly related to pain disability, overall pain index, and current pain level MMPI 2 hypochondriasis and depression scores were also significantly related to percent body pain. These results are discussed in the context of current conceptualizations of PTSD.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Depression / complications
  • Humans
  • MMPI
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / complications*
  • Pain / psychology
  • Regression Analysis
  • Severity of Illness Index
  • Somatoform Disorders / complications
  • Stress Disorders, Post-Traumatic / complications*
  • Veterans / psychology*
  • Warfare*