Is pain after orthopedic trauma surgery associated with depression, PTSD? 3 study insights


A study in the Clinical Journal of Pain suggests early intervention in orthopedic trauma patients with uncontrolled postoperative pain may be able to reduce rates of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.

The researchers analyzed 133 patients who were admitted to an academic level 1 trauma center for surgical treatment of a traumatic lower-extremity or upper-extremity orthopedic injury. Pain was measured at hospital discharge; physical and mental health was assessed at the one-year follow-up.


Here's what you need to know:


1. Increased pain at discharge was significantly associated with depression and PTSD. This association was maintained even after controlling for age, education, injury severity score and either depressive or PTSD symptoms at hospital discharge.


2. However, early postoperative pain was not a significant risk factor for other long-term physician or mental health outcomes.


3. The researchers concluded that early screening for uncontrolled postoperative pain can help to "identify patients at high risk for poor psychological outcomes and who could benefit from more aggressive pain management."


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