Acute Pain in the Trauma Patient


North Carolina


Mission Hospital

Document Type

Review Article

Publication Date



acute pain, trauma, multimodal therapy, post-traumatic stress disorder, opioid use distorder


Emergency Medicine | Surgery | Trauma


Purpose of Review

This review will discuss the unique challenges associated with pain control in the trauma patient. Trauma is accompanied by painful conditions such as fractures, surgery, and nerve injury, but the trauma population also provides additional challenges compared to the general hospitalized population with respect to pain control because of the acute stress reaction and other psychological responses to trauma, often underlying chronic pain, and the increased risk of opiate use at baseline in this population.

Recent Findings

The importance of recognizing uncontrolled pain early is essential to prevent adverse acute and chronic outcomes including post-traumatic stress disorder, transition to chronic pain, delirium, and respiratory failure.


A true multimodal approach to pain control in trauma patients includes early evaluation and consideration of techniques such as epidural anesthesia as well as nerve and fascial blocks, the use of non-opiate medications in addition to opiate medication, and early evaluation for uncontrolled stress, anxiety, and risk factors for post-traumatic stress disorder.


Part of Topical Collection on Pain Management in Trauma

Publisher or Conference

Current Trauma Reports