No one expects to be involved in a car crash, but they happen. If you’ve been involved in one or know someone who has, then you know how dangerous they can be.
Those who suffer from spinal injuries as a result of an automobile crash may be left with long-term pain and dysfunction of the body below the point of injury. Spinal injuries, even when they do not cause paralysis, can be painful, dangerous and life-changing.
How common is chronic pain among spinal cord injury patients?
Chronic pain is common among SCI patients. Around 70% of patients have chronic pain of some kind. Of them, another third experience acute pain that impacts their overall quality of life.
The most common kind of pain is called nociceptive pain. This type of pain occurs because the nerve cells have been stimulated due to damage or disease.
This pain often accompanies dysfunction due to nerve, muscle or tissue damage, but not always. It’s also common to hear a patient say that they do not have sensation below the point of the injury but do have pain.
How is pain treated in spinal cord injury patients?
Generally, treatment begins with a multidisciplinary approach. It’s important to treat the biological cause of the pain as well as the psychological causes. The patient may need to go through psychotherapy, cognitive-behavioral therapy or other mental health treatments if they have anxiety or depression related to the pain, for example, while also taking medications to help block the pain.
For some people, surgery or nerve blocks may help reduce pain, so this is another treatment that might be considered. Less invasive options, like physiotherapy and medication, are usually used as first-line options, unless a more invasive approach has a higher likelihood of success.
Pain after a collision: Getting care
In the long term, chronic pain can have a negative impact on a person’s life. It’s uncomfortable, upsetting and disruptive. Fortunately, there are often treatment options. After a collision, making sure to get enough compensation could be beneficial, so that the patient can pursue all possible avenues for pain relief.