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Researchers develop an integrated treatment for veterans with chronic pain and posttraumatic stress
Date:9/29/2009

(Boston) The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have resulted in a growing number of soldiers evacuated to the United States for comprehensive care for physical and psychological trauma. Given the number of physical injuries often experienced by soldiers, it is not surprising that chronic pain is a frequent problem among returning soldiers from Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (OIF/OEF). Common sources of pain are in the head (traumatic-brain injury or post-concussion syndrome), legs (fractures, amputations, burns) and shoulders. Other physical injuries include spinal-cord and eye injuries as well as auditory trauma. In addition, veterans are reporting high rates of mental health issues, including posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression and alcohol use disorders.

Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) researchers have developed an integrated treatment program for veterans with comorbid chronic pain and PTSD. This study appeared in the October issue of Pain Medicine.

BUSM researchers found in this pilot study that soldiers have shown great benefit from receiving the integrated treatment for pain and PTSD. BUSM researchers used components of cognitive processing therapy (CPT) for PTSD and cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) for chronic pain management. A 12-session integrated treatment for veterans was developed including a therapist manual and patient workbook for weekly readings and homework assignments. Participants received pre and post-treatment evaluations using measures of pain, PTSD, physical disability and psychological distress.

The CBT approach has been shown to be highly effective in treating a range of disorders, from PTSD to chronic pain in children and adults. Using CBT for chronic pain involves challenging maladaptive beliefs and teaching patients' ways of safely reintroducing enjoyable activities into their lives. BUSM researchers used different methods for treating chronic pain and
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Contact: Allison Rubin
allison.rubin@bmc.org
617-638-8490
Boston University Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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