Original Research| Volume 43, ISSUE 8, P753-759, October 2020

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Factors Associated With Posttraumatic Stress Disorder Among Veterans of Recent Wars Receiving Veterans Affairs Chiropractic Care



      Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is thought to complicate pain management outcomes, which is consistent with the impact of other psychosocial factors in the biopsychosocial model of pain. This study aimed to identify patient sociodemographic and clinical characteristics associated with PTSD prevalence among veterans of Operations Enduring Freedom/Iraqi Freedom/New Dawn (OEF/OIF/OND) who received Veterans Affairs (VA) chiropractic care.


      A cross-sectional analysis of electronic health record data from a national cohort study of OEF/OIF/OND veterans with at least 1 visit to a VA chiropractic clinic from 2001 to 2014 was performed. The primary outcome measure was a prior PTSD diagnosis. Variables including sex, race, age, body mass index, pain intensity, alcohol and substance use disorders, and smoking status were examined in association with PTSD diagnosis using logistic regression.


      We identified 14,025 OEF/OIF/OND veterans with at least 1 VA chiropractic visit, with a mean age of 38 years and 54.2% having a diagnosis of PTSD. Male sex (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.23, 95% CI = 1.11-1.37), younger age (OR = 0.99, CI = 0.98-0.99), moderate-to-severe pain intensity (numerical rating scale ≥ 4) (OR = 1.72, CI = 1.59-1.87), body mass index ≥ 30 (OR = 1.34, CI = 1.24-1.45), current smoking (OR = 1.32, CI = 1.20-1.44), and having an alcohol or substance use disorder (OR = 4.51, CI = 4.01-5.08) were significantly associated with a higher likelihood of PTSD diagnosis.


      Post-traumatic stress disorder is a common comorbidity among OEF/OIF/OND veterans receiving VA chiropractic care and is significantly associated with several patient characteristics. Recognition of these factors is important for the appropriate diagnosis and management of veterans with PTSD seeking chiropractic treatment for pain conditions.

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