Psychological trauma, PTSD, pain, exposure therapy, psychotherapy, imagery rescripting, prevalence, clinical trials, eye movements, combat
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Background: As many as 70% of veterans with chronic pain treated within the US Veterans Administration (VA) system may have posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and conversely, up to 80% of those with PTSD may have pain. We describe pain experienced by US service members and veterans with symptoms of PTSD, and report on the effect of Accelerated Resolution Therapy (ART), a new, brief exposure-based therapy, on acute pain reduction secondary to treatment of symptoms of PTSD.
Methods: A randomized controlled trial of ART versus an attention control (AC) regimen was conducted among 45 US service members/veterans with symptoms of combat-related PTSD. Participants received a mean of 3.7 sessions of ART.
Results: Mean age was 41.0 + 12.4 years and 20% were female. Most veterans (93%) reported pain. The majority (78%) used descriptive terms indicative of neuropathic pain, with 29% reporting symptoms of a concussion or feeling dazed. Mean pre-/post-change on the Pain Outcomes Questionnaire (POQ) was −16.9±16.6 in the ART group versus −0.7±14.2 in the AC group (p=0.0006). Among POQ subscales, treatment effects with ART were reported for pain intensity (effect size = 1.81, p=0.006), pain-related impairment in mobility (effect size = 0.69, p=0.01), and negative affect (effect size = 1.01, p=0.001).
Conclusions: Veterans with symptoms of combat-related PTSD have a high prevalence of significant pain, including neuropathic pain. Brief treatment of symptoms of combat-related PTSD among veterans by use of ART appears to acutely reduce concomitant pain.
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Citation / Publisher Attribution
European Journal of Psychotraumatology, v. 5, issue 1, p. 1-12
Scholar Commons Citation
Kip, Kevin E.; Rosenzweig, Laney; Hernandez, Diego F.; Shuman, Amy; Diamond, David M.; Girling, Sue Ann; Sullivan, Kelly L; Wittenberg, Trudy; Witt, Ann M.; Lengacher, Cecile A.; Anderson, Brian; and McMillan, Susan C., "Accelerated Resolution Therapy for Treatment of Pain Secondary to Symptoms of Combat-Related Posttraumatic Stress Disorder" (2014). Psychology Faculty Publications. 2374.