Medical professionals group pain into two categories. Acute pain, which is what you’re likely to experience immediately following a car accident, is a sharp or sudden pain that decreases over time. Chronic pain, however, lasts for an indefinite amount of time and doesn’t improve on its own.
If you’re experiencing chronic pain after an accident, you’re not alone. Many car accident victims find themselves in similar situations. Part of dealing with chronic pain is understanding why is happens and how it can affect you.
How Do Car Crashes Cause Chronic Pain?
Injuries are almost certain when a body is subjected to the trauma of a car accident. While many victims heal completely from their injuries, this isn’t always the case. When a patient continuously experiences pain after a wreck, they may be diagnosed with chronic pain. According to the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI), 11-13% of adults suffer from chronic widespread pain. Common types of chronic pain include:
- Postsurgical Pain. There are some car accident injuries, like broken bones, that could require surgery to aid in the recovery process. Along with surgery comes postoperative pain. While this is likely to go away after the injury heals, that can take months or even longer depending on the extent of the injury. In some cases, the patient could suffer permanently from pain.
- Post-Trauma Pain. When the body is put through trauma, pain is likely to result. A common example of chronic post-trauma pain is whiplash. The symptoms of whiplash often linger for months after an accident, as muscles and tendons can take a long time to heal.
- Lower Back Pain. Lower back pain is a common car accident injury. If discs are inflamed or ruptured, the pain can become chronic.
- Neurogenic Pain. Neurogenic pain refers to pain that’s caused by nerve damage. Nerve damage pain is challenging to treat.
- Psychogenic Pain. The mind is powerful, especially when trauma is present. Psychogenic pain isn’t caused by injury, nerve damage, or disease. Instead, it’s caused by prolonged mental or emotional pain.
The Consequences of Chronic Pain
The effects of chronic pain can be physical and emotional. The physical effects often include tense muscles, lack of energy, changes in appetite, and limited ability to move. Emotionally, someone may experience depression, anxiety, anger, or fear of re-injury.
As a result of the physical and emotional consequences, chronic pain sufferers may lose interest in their hobbies, be unable to complete everyday tasks, or may be unable to return to work in the same capacity as before the accident. Feelings of isolation and immobility can quickly impact a person’s mental state.
The effects you personally experience should be documented, so you have an accurate account of your losses related to the car accident. Recording your ongoing health problems not only gives your doctor an idea of how you’re experiencing pain, but your records will support your personal injury claim.
Coping with Chronic Pain After an Accident
Treatment for chronic pain needs to address a person’s physical, mental, and emotional needs. Depending on the level of pain, a life-long wellness plan may be developed so the patient can function on a daily basis. Physical therapy, occupational therapy, and psychological treatments are common.
In addition to treatment from doctors, chronic pain sufferers can learn some tricks on managing the pain on their own. For example, focusing on deep breathing techniques and positive thoughts, setting achievable goals, cutting down on alcohol, and quitting smoking can improve a person’s quality of life. When pain is effectively managed, the person can return to a productive and fulfilling lifestyle.
Dealing with chronic pain after a car accident is not only stressful, but it can be expensive. If you’re trying different methods of pain relief as recommended by your physician, you could easily be racking up extensive medical bills. If you believe your crash was the result of another driver’s negligence, you have the right to take legal action to seek compensation for your losses. Expenses related to chronic pain can be taken into consideration.
Insurance companies are often hesitant to award compensation for chronic pain. That’s why it’s crucial to work with an experienced attorney who can build a strong claim on your behalf that proves you’re owed for your sufferings. When you work with Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law, our team will fight on your behalf to ensure you receive justice and have the means to manage your chronic pain and move comfortably into the future. To learn more about the benefits of seeking legal counsel after a car accident, get in touch with our firm today.