Pain and mental health symptom patterns and treatment trajectories following road trauma: a registry-based cohort study

Sherry Huang, Joanna F. Dipnall, Belinda J. Gabbe, Melita J. Giummarra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Purpose: This study aimed to characterise recovery from pain and mental health symptoms, and identify whether treatment use facilitates recovery. Methods: Victorian State Trauma Registry and Victorian Orthopaedic Trauma Outcomes Registry participants without neurotrauma who had transport injury claims with the Transport Accident Commission from 2007 to 2014 were included (n = 5908). Latent transition analysis of pain Numeric Rating Scale, SF-12, and EQ-5D-3L pain and mental health items from 6 to 12 months, and 12 to 24 months post-injury were used to identify symptom transitions. Results: Four transition groups were identified: transition to low problems by 12-months; transition to low problems at 24-months; stable low problems; and no transition from problems. Group-based trajectory modelling of pain and mental health treatments found three treatment trajectories: low/no treatment, a moderate treatment that declined to low treatment 3–12 months post-injury, and increasing treatment over time. Predictors of pain and mental health recovery transitions, identified using multinomial logistic regression, were primarily found to be non-modifiable socioeconomic and health-related characteristics (e.g., higher education, working pre-injury, and not having comorbidities), and low treatment trajectories. Conclusions: Targeted and collaborative rehabilitation should be considered for people at risk of persistent pain or mental health symptoms to optimise their recovery, particularly patients with socioeconomic disadvantage.IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION Two-thirds of people experience pain and/or mental health within the first 24-months after hospitalization for road trauma, of whom only 6–7% recover by 12-months, and a further 6% recover by 24-months post-injury. There were three main trajectories of administrative records of treatments received in the first two years after injury: 76 and 83% had low treatment, 18 and 12% had moderate then declining treatment levels, and 6 and 5% had stable high treatment for pain or mental health, respectively. People who recovered from pain or mental health symptoms generally had lower treatment and higher socioeconomic position, highlighting that coordinated rehabilitation care should be prioritized for people living with socioeconomic disadvantage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8029-8041
Number of pages13
JournalDisability and Rehabilitation
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 4 Dec 2022


  • healthcare use
  • injury
  • mental health
  • Pain
  • recovery

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