Chronic pain is defined as any pain that persists for longer than six months. There are approximately 100 million sufferers in the United States, which means it affects more people than cancer, diabetes, heart attack and stroke combined. Chronic pain can be categorized a number of ways that vary from person to person. It ranges from bearable to excruciating, periodic to recurrent, and from inconvenient to debilitating. Most instances of chronic pain originate from injuries sustained in accidents and are considered relatively difficult to treat.
Nerve damage: Nerve pain, also known as neuropathic pain, is usually due to damaged or dysfunctional nerves that send false signals to pain centers in the body. As a result, they cause chronic pain. The nature of neuropathic pain is distinguished by doctors by its impact both at the site of the injury and affected areas around the injury. Due to its large impact, it could even remain prevalent in situations when parts of the body are removed due to an injury. Since the brain still gets messages of pain from surrounding nerves, sufferers may still feel impulses from the missing limb. Nerve damage is commonly caused by whiplash, which happens frequently in car accidents.
Spinal injuries: Severe back pain is often an indicator that there are issues with the spine. As an essential part of the body, much of a person's total health is dependent on the condition of the spine. It is comprised of tendons, muscles, ligaments, spinal discs, joints, and vertebrae. The vertebrae contains a canal where the spinal cord lies, where it serves as a nerve path to the body's central nervous system. If parts of the spine become damaged in an auto accident, it could lead to the following several spine conditions that cause chronic back pain: spinal arthritis, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis and herniated disks.
Diagnosing Chronic Pain After an Auto Accident
A doctor may order an electromyography test to determine whether a patient's chronic pain originates from the nerve supply or from muscle dysfunction. It is used to measure the electrical activity from the brain and/or spinal cord to a nerve root that controls the muscles. During an EMG, a doctor will insert small wires into a muscle to dictate changes in electrical voltage that occur through movement within the body. It lasts a duration of approximately 20-40 minutes depending on the severity of an injury.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
An MRI scan uses magnetic fields and radio waves to display a picture of tissues and organs within the body. A physician may order an MRI scan to predict if a patient will develop chronic pain within the first two weeks of an auto collision injury.
Treatment for Chronic Pain
Acupuncture is a broadly accepted medical treatment for pain among the medical community and is considered relatively popular with patients. Needles, heat, and pressure are applied to specific areas of a patient's skin to redirect the body's own self-healing mechanism to imbalances or blockages in those areas. According to the National Institute of Health, this method of treatment works especially well for patients with chronic pain in their back, neck, knees and head.
Electrical stimulation is also a popular procedure used to treat patients with severe chronic pain. A doctor implants a permanent stimulator with tiny coated wires under the skin or in the spinal canal so they connect with nerves throughout the body. Physicians use either a sedative or an anesthetic when implanting the device. Upon completion, patients and doctors agree to a comfortable pulse strength level and patients are given a controller to use when at home. The device creates a tingling sensation for pain relief.
When a doctor administers nerve blocks, they inject a group of damaged or dysfunctional nerves - called a plexus or ganglion - with medication to numb them on specific areas of the body. There are several different varieties of nerve blocks each used for different purposes. But they are generally administered to patients who wish to avoid undergoing a surgical procedure.
On the other hand, surgery for chronic pain is not common. Although it may provide some relief, it's considered a last resort for sufferers due to the risk factors associated with surgical procedures. Damage in a patient's ability to discern certain sensations, like temperature changes and light touch have been reported by patients. Decompression is a type of surgery underwent to ease nerve pain. A doctor creates an incision in the skin with the intent to move blood vessels or any other culprits rubbing on nerves to cause the chronic pain.
Self-management programs teach patients coping techniques including relaxation, strength building, positive thinking and the use of appropriate medication. These Programs aim to encourage people with chronic pain through mutual support and advice from other sufferers.
Opioids are routinely prescribed for those who have chronic pain from injuries inflicted due to a car accident. The long-term treatment of opioids in people with chronic pain has been a controversial topic in the medical community for years. In the midst of an opioid crisis, many question if the risks of addiction outweigh the benefits. But they have been proven to be effective in patients who experience great distress and have sustained catastrophic injuries.
Compensation for Chronic Pain Treatment Fees
If you have suffered chronic pain stemming from an auto accident, you may be entitled to compensation for the medical treatments you've used to recuperate. By taking legal recourse, you could seek damages for medical expenses and wages lost as a result of your injury.
Denver Car Accident Victim Attorney
At Jeremy Rosenthal's law office, we understand how chronic pain taints your everyday life. It's a syndrome that requires lots of maintenance for relief, which forces victims to deal with financial hardship along with their ongoing physical pain. We encourage you to initiate the process of obtaining the compensation you rightfully deserve for your injuries and costs spent to cope by contacting us at 303.825.2223 today.