Chronic pain myths and facts

Intro by David M. Chester, Ohio Brain Injury Lawyer

Very common with serious injuries received in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident is traumatic brain injury or know as TBI. TBI often involves damage to different areas of the brain that generate long-term disabilities and chronic pain. If you have experienced chronic pain it is important to understand the myths and facts about treating chronic pain.

Author: Susan Ardizzoni Ph.D.

If you’ve been in a serious car, motorcycle or truck accident, then you’ve experienced pain. Chronic pain (long-term pain) is a serious and debilitating problem. In general, people suffering chronic pain become desperate for pain relief that they will try anything. Beware not to be taken in by chronic pain myths that can be dangerous. Listed below are myths and facts about treating chronic pain.

In order to cure your chronic pain you should just treat the underlying cause. Myth or fact? Myth!

Wouldn’t it be nice if it were that simple? There are occasions when this happens but this is usually a myth. Never the less if you experience chronic pain you need to get a complete exam to see if you have a treatable condition. Generally, the underlying cause and pain is much more complicated. Quite often pain lingers after the original cause has healed. Coming up with a diagnosis in this situation can be impossible. Chronic pain requires 2 approaches: treat the underlying cause if there is one that can be identified and treat the pain which requires several health care providers working together.

If you’re experiencing mild chronic pain there is no reason to go to a doctor. Myth or fact? Myth!

Too many patients go through life with chronic pain. Patients often think that if their pain is somehow bearable then it’s not worth seeing a doctor about it. Mild chronic pain needs to be evaluated as it can be a symptom of an underlying health problem that needs treatment. Treatment now can prevent your mild chronic pain from turning into severe chronic pain that may not be manageable. Chronic pain can easily modify your behavior in abnormal ways trying to cope with it. This includes excessive use of over-the-counter (OTC) painkillers, alcohol and other substances. Chronic pain will lead to sleep disorders, social isolation and depression.

Have you been told that bed rest is usually the best cure for pain? Myth or fact? Myth!

It is now known by the medical community that for almost all forms of chronic pain, not just spinal pain, and prolonged bed rest is almost never helpful. In fact it can make you worse. The longer you stay in bed the longer it will take you to recuperate. Physical activity will help you recover faster. If you are in the initial phase of acute injury, bed rest is necessary but beyond that activity is a must. Always follow your doctor’s advice.

Have you been told that you will experience more pain as you age? Myth or fact? Myth!

Many people and doctors believe this is true. Consequently an older patient with pain tends to be ignored as a process of aging. Granted that chronic pain can develop such as arthritis as we age, this condition is treatable. Many senior citizens live pain free with proper diet and exercise. Exercise is important.

Chronic pain is associated with depression. Myth or fact? Fact!

Chronic pain is debilitating and will bring about depression, anxiety and a whole host of other psychological conditions. Pain can be a symptom of depression and depression can make pain worse. Sometimes it can be difficult to know which came first. Medical studies have demonstrated a clear association between emotional trauma and pain disorders. Brain imaging shows that physical and psychological pain activates some identical areas in the brain.

Chronic pain and depression are connected so chronic pain should not be ignored. In fact, some antidepressants have been shown to help mange certain types of chronic pain even if you are not depressed. You need to get the best possible care as soon as possible to safe guard your mental health.

Do you believe that taking opioid drugs will always lead to drug addiction? Myth or fact? Myth!

In general this is not true. Unfortunately some people who really need these drugs refuse to take them because they are afraid they will become addicted. Under a doctor’s care, these drugs taken short-term and used as directed should not cause dependency. Opioids will not treat all kinds of pain and can make some types of pain worse.

It is possible to get a single treatment that will cure chronic pain. Myth or fact? Myth!

Many people believe that there is one perfect treatment that will cure all their pain. It’s rarely that simple. Generally, chronic pain requires a group of healthcare providers using a wide range of treatments. These treatments include various medications, physical therapy, chiropractors, acupuncture, psychological counseling and relaxation techniques to gain control. Because of this, it is important to establish a realistic outlook. It will take some hard work, many different types of therapy and time.

Your chronic pain might not go away even with proper treatments. Myth or fact? Fact!

Managing your chronic pain will probably be a long-term process and might not go away or have little improvement. It is important that you don’t become discouraged. Continuing treatment is paramount even if you can’t get rid of all your pain. What’s important is that your quality of life can improve and allow you to do things you weren’t able to do before.

It is also important that if you’ve been in a car, truck or motorcycle accident and your brain/spinal injury was caused by the carelessness of another person, you may be entitled to financial compensation for pain and suffering, medical bills and lost wages.

Susan Ardizzoni Ph.D.

These types of accidents often involve long-term rehabilitation and pain management so you need to consider continued medical care and loss of your ability to earn wages in the future. You should contact an experienced Ohio brain injury attorneys at the Chester Law Group. These Ohio personal injury attorneys are experienced in car, truck and motorcycle accidents involving spinal/brain injury and can guide you through a personal injury settlement. It is important that you consult with an attorney before you attend a Defense Medical Exam (DME) and don’t ask a doctor for advice.