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car crashes and chronic pain


Whiplash Chronic Pain

Tumisu – English – Pixabay

The great majority of these individuals are discharged to home after emergency department evaluation, but a subset of these individuals develop motor vehicle collision-related widespread pain which is characterized by substantial suffering and functional loss. We believe that our research indicates that doctors have to start treating these individuals with persistent widespread pain very early, and not wait for the pain to resolve in itself.”    – June Hu as told to MedPage Today
Recently, June Hu, as statistician with the University of North Carolina’s TRYUMPH Research Program (within their anesthesiology department) revealed their team’s yet-to-be-published research at the annual meeting of the American Pain Society in Tampa, Florida.  Her presentation revealed that over 4 million Americans are taken to the Emergency Room each year as the result of MVA (Motor Vehicle Accidents). Ten percent of these people (400,000) end up with pain, which, instead of decreasing over the course of the first six weeks, actually increases.  What she is describing here is often times the beginnings of a process called “CENTRALIZATION“.  Centralization simply means that the pain has been “centralized” or locked into the Brain & Nervous System.

Interestingly enough, this is not the first time I have heard similar information.  Back in the mid-1990’s while attending a seminar on WHIPLASH by the venerable Dan Murphy, he was presenting studies (possibly by Gargan & Bannister) who were saying essentially the same thing.  In fact, the research from two decades ago revealed that people who were not improving at 30 days and 60 days post-accident, were not very likely to get better — ever.  These were the people who entered the world of CHRONIC PAIN that Hu is speaking about.

In the same way that repeating an activity —- say, playing a trumpet —- will improve your ability to perform said activity, it can also increase your chances of developing Chronic Pain.  Allow me to explain.  The more you do a certain activity, the better defined the neurological pathways in the Brain and Nervous System become.  The first time you picked up a trumpet, you had no idea how to handle or play it.  But over time, you developed the nerve pathways to the point that you do not even have to think about playing.  It just happens.  It feels natural.  The problem is that pain can act in the exact same manner. A person who is struggling with pain, can lock that pain into their Nervous System.  In other words, there are factors (including the length of time you’ve had the pain, severity of the pain, and the nature of your injury) that actually “lock” the pain into your Brain and Nervous System.  As you might surmise, this is never a good thing.
For the most part, medical doctors tend to approach these types of injuries differently than do other healthcare practitioners.  The tend to prescribe ANTI-INFLAMMATION DRUGS, CORTICOSTEROIDS, Muscle Relaxers, and PAIN MEDS.  Dr. Stephen Sorsby, MD of Little Rock, Arkansas, commented on the article in MedPage Today and said this, “There is clear evidence that reliance on opioids for more than a very short time period increases long term disability.”  Did you catch that?  Pain meds actually increase your chances of developing a long term disability.  So what is a person to do?  To understand what to do after an MVA, we need to look at Hu’s quote from the top of the page, where she talks about, “functional loss“.   What is “Functional Loss” you ask?  It is exactly what it sounds like.  A loss of ability to perform certain functions, movements, or actions, on a day-to-day basis. 

If you are interested in learning more about how to deal with “Functional Loss”, our site is a great place to start.  We have lots of information on WHIPLASH and MVA, INFLAMMATION, and Chronic Pain due to FASCIAL ADHESIONS, as well as hundreds of VIDEO TESTIMONIALS from those who know what we do works!  If you are struggling with Chronic Pain, click the links and educate yourself.  Knowledge is power, and if you are not serious about learning how to avoid living a life of Chronic Pain, you will be taken advantage of, ignored, or both, by the medical community.


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