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Neuropharmacology. 2012 Feb;62(2):586-97. doi: 10.1016/j.neuropharm.2011.04.028. Epub 2011 May 10.

Pain and post traumatic stress disorder - review of clinical and experimental evidence.

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  • 1University of California San Diego, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


Pain and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) are highly comorbid conditions. Patients with chronic pain have higher rates of PTSD. Likewise, patients with PTSD are often diagnosed with numerous chronic pain conditions. Despite the high pain-PTSD comorbidity, the neurobehavioral mechanisms underlying this phenomenon are incompletely understood and only recently researchers have started investigating it using experimental models. In this article, we systematically review the substantial clinical evidence on the co-occurrence of pain and PTSD, and the limited experimental evidence of pain processing in this disorder. We provide a detailed overview of the psychophysical and brain imaging experiments that compared somatosensory and pain processing in PTSD and non-PTSD populations. Based on the presented evidence, an extensive body of literature substantiates the clinical coexistence of pain and PTSD in patients but the limited experimental data show inconsistent results highlighting the need for well-controlled future studies. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled 'Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder'.

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