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Pain Catastrophizing Correlates with Early Mild Traumatic Brain Injury Outcome
Background: Identifying which patients are most likely to be at risk of chronic pain and other postconcussion symptoms following mild traumatic brain injury (MTBI) is a difficult clinical challenge. Objectives: To examine the relationship between pain catastrophizing, defined as the exaggerated negative appraisal of a pain experience, and early MTBI outcome. Methods. This cross-sectional design included 58 patients diagnosed with a MTBI. In addition to medical chart review, postconcussion symptoms were assessed by self-report at 1 month (Time 1) and 8 weeks (Time 2) after MTBI. Pain severity, psychological distress, level of functionality, and pain catastrophizing were measured by self-report at Time 2. Results: The pain catastrophizing subscales of rumination, magnification, and helplessness were significantly correlated with pain severity (r = .31 to .44), number of postconcussion symptoms reported (r = .35 to .45), psychological distress (r = .57 to .67), and level of functionality (r = −.43 to −.29). Pain catastrophizing scores were significantly higher for patients deemed to be at high risk of postconcussion syndrome (6 or more symptoms reported at both Time 1 and Time 2). Conclusions: Higher levels of pain catastrophizing were related to adverse early MTBI outcomes.Theearly detection of pain catastrophizingmay facilitate goal-oriented interventions to prevent or minimize the development of chronic pain and other postconcussion symptoms.
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