Background: The polytrauma clinical triad (PCT) is a complex disorder composed of three comorbid diagnoses of chronic pain, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and postconcussion syndrome (PCS). PCT has been documented in veterans returning from deployment, but this is the first report on PCT prevalence in nonmilitary personnel after a motor vehicle collision (MVC). Methods: Data were drawn from routine intake assessments completed by 71 patients referred to a community-based clinic for chronic pain management. All patients completed the posttraumatic stress disorder checklist for the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (PCL-5), and Rivermead Post-Concussion Symptoms Questionnaire (RPQ) during a standardized intake assessment. An additional modified RPQ score was derived to address previously reported symptom overlap between PCS and chronic pain. Results: Standard and modified RPQ scores yielded PCS prevalence rates of 100% and 54.9% in our sample, respectively. Results suggest that a modified RPQ score, limited to visual and vestibular symptoms, may be more useful PCS screening criteria in patients with chronic pain. PTSD screening criteria on the PCL-5 were met by 85.9% of the patients. More than half of the patients referred for chronic pain after MVC met criteria for PCT (52.1%). Patients who met PCT criteria reported worse headache, overall pain, and sleep quality outcomes. Conclusion: Among patients in our sample with chronic pain after MVC, more than half met criteria for PCT. A modified approach to RPQ scoring limited to visual and vestibular symptoms may be required to screen for PCS in these patients.

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Journal of Pain Research
Department of Biology

Peixoto, C. (Cayden), Hyland, L, Buchanan, D.M. (Derrick Matthew), Langille, E. (Erika), & Nahas, R. (Richard). (2018). The polytrauma clinical triad in patients with chronic pain after motor vehicle collision. Journal of Pain Research, 11, 1927–1936. doi:10.2147/JPR.S165077