Chronic Pain: Why Is This Common Car Accident Injury Is So Hard To Treat?

By Pace Law | January 8, 2018

More people suffer from chronic pain than from diabetes, heart disease and cancer combined, according to the American Academy of Pain Medicine.

Pain in and of itself is an extremely important component of humanity. It protects our body by teaching us to associate harmful actions with the sensation of pain. Pain provides the protecting against walking on a broken leg, fear of pain prevents touching a hot flame. Pain also is an alert system, flagging infections or illnesses.

Chronic pain, however, is much more complicated and perplexing. Advanced neuro-imaging has now been able to show that chronic pain, unlike short-term or acute pain, can actually change the brain in a structural manner, leading to cognitive and psychological issues.

Chronic pain has different forms, but the two most common are:

Pain with an identifiable cause: Usually results from a physical injury or degenerative disease.

Pain with no identifiable cause: Usually persists long after tissue has healed. There is no clear method to identify the cause. Here, the nervous system may be sending signals to the brain signifying pain long after tissue has healed. In this case, pain is a disease as opposed to a symptom of an injury. This is “Chronic benign pain”.

In many cases there are physical origins to pain, and thus, a treatment or cure is available. If you break a bone, a doctor can set it, splint or cast it and it will take a few weeks to heal.

Dealing with soft-tissue injuries; these include injuries to the muscle, nerves, discs, ligaments and tendons, are much more complex. A common soft tissue injury that often leads to chronic pain is whiplash.

Contrary to the belief that pain is purely physical, pain is actually is made up of several components; physical, biological and emotional (psychological). Two people with the same injury can experience pain in two very different ways.

Pain cannot be accurately measured by doctors. People with chronic pain feel they have to prove their pain, often told that their pain must be exaggerated or not real. This pain, however, is very real and must be treated on many levels.

Chronic pain can cause a number of problems that can lead to psychological issues such as anxiety and depression. Studies show that 30 to 50 per cent of people who suffer from chronic pain also have a mood disorder.

Pain management clinics, as well as medications,  can help manage the symptoms of chronic pain, and there are doctors that support aspects of physical and psychological well-being. However, there is no real cure for chronic pain.

On-going and constant treatment and medication is sometimes the only answer, both of which can be a financial burden. A lawyer’s job is to help clients gain access to the services they need to help manage their chronic pain.

If you believe you are entitled to compensation for chronic pain as a result of an accident, contact me at