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Chronic Pain & Car Accidents 

Car accidents are unpredictable. Even when anticipated, they can cause severe, lasting injuries.

Research shows that of the nearly 100 million Americans who suffer from chronic pain, auto accidents are a leading contributor. It is estimated that 37% of chronic pain cases are neck and back injuries resulting from traffic accidents and whiplash.

Types of Pain from Car Accidents

Injuries derived from tra&c accidents can be vast, ranging from whiplash and general back or neck pain to broken bones and burns. Understanding the type of damage after a crash helps determine what kinds of treatment to seek.

Whiplash is one of the most common vehicular-accident related injuries. This neck strain occurs when there is an abrupt jerking of the head, either forward or backward. Typical symptoms include neck stiffness, headaches, general upper back or shoulder pain, neck tightness and pain and dizziness. CT scans and MRI might be necessary to diagnose the injury. Depending on the severity of whiplash, treatment can include physical therapy.

Back and neck pain are often due to muscle dysfunction but may also be more serious spinal injuries. According to the Mayo Clinic, car accidents contribute to over 35% of new, annual spinal injuries. Common spinal injuries include spondylolisthesis and disc herniation. Spondylolisthesis happens when vertebra slides out of place, which may cause pinched nerves, pain, and weakness. In severe cases, this injury can lead to a loss of bowel and bladder control.

Similarly, herniated discs occur when cushiony discs between the vertebra slip out of place. This injury may cause weakness and numbing of arms or legs. Physical therapy is the most common treatment.

Treating Chronic Pain after an Accident

Even minor car accidents can cause serious injuries that vary from person to person. After an accident, if you are feeling any pain, it is essential to seek medical advice. Initial minimal pain can signify a more serious injury. New Health Services understands how accident-related pain differs and goes beyond just the physical pain. At New Health Services, our comprehensive care philosophy evaluates pain on an individual basis to develop the best way to treat the whole person.

If you or someone you know is experiencing post-accident pain, contact us today.

Coping Methods for Families with Someone in Chronic Pain

The impacts of chronic pain reach beyond those affected. Chronic pain is pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks and often changes family dynamics. Challenges and role shifts can negatively impact self-images and self-esteem and can lead to guilt, depression, anxiety, resentment and powerlessness. Practicing coping can help families deal with the impacts of chronic pain.  

Generally, coping practices deal with in-the-moment actions and are either problem- or emotional-focused. At New Health Services, we understand that coping, like our treatment, should be comprehensive. We recommend an adaptable, relationship-focused coping approach. While family members might feel overwhelmed and powerless as caregivers, relationship-focused coping emphasizes maintaining high-quality relationships.  

Relationship-Focused Coping

Relationship-focused coping is entirely adaptable per individual and generally includes the needs to communicate, negotiate, compromise and be empathetic. To do this effectively, chronic pain or illness must be viewed as a family problem, not that of just the affected individual nor primary caregiver. After the family accepts the pain as a collective responsibility, it is key to identify the varying coping techniques of each member of the family. Everyone has different coping methods and identification leads to complementing or compromising methods. Regardless of combined coping, it is essential for all family members to reassure unconditional love and genuine concern.  

In relationship-focused coping, some will take the protective buffering strategy, which encourages the avoidance of disagreements. However, this method limits expression and makes members feel constrained in conveying any negative emotions. Thus, families must openly and constructively communicate with one another with active and empathic listening skills. While respecting varying coping methods, family members should continually be mindful of what is being communicated, how it is being said and when it is being said. They must maintain a mindful outlook that is considerate of other perspectives.    

Relationship-focused coping does not only help maintain and foster the relationships of caregiver members but accentuates the needs of the individual in pain. For individuals in chronic pain, not all support is good. Families should consider how the member in pain wants to receive support—some want practical help, to be listened to or to feel strong and capable. To better care for these individuals, everyone in the family needs to be open to asking questions! Most importantly, ask how you can help the member facing chronic pain. They might feel guilty and are not ready to ask for help themselves.  

Coping: The Key to Effective Support

Understanding coping methods for everyone in the family is key to supporting mental wellness associated with chronic pain. It is important to always be genuine, believe in your family, be aware of nonverbal communication and accentuate the positives! Remember, effective coping systems will become less efficient when the family and member in chronic pain do not receive professional help. Choosing a provider who supports your needs and comprehensive wellness is the key to success.  

Contact New Health Services today to learn more about our comprehensive care and how we can help improve your family’s coping methods.