Guide to Pain Management After an Accident or Injury
If you are involved in a car accident or other type of accident, it is challenging to deal with the pain that often accompanies an injury. Unfortunately, car accidents are common in Brooklyn, and injuries are commonplace in many types of collisions. The most common injuries sustained in car accidents include whiplash, back injuries, head trauma, and cuts and scrapes.
Medical professionals generally classify the pain associated with an injury as chronic or acute. Acute pain can happen immediately following the injury, while chronic pain can be long-lasting and require medications and other medical interventions to manage. Here is everything you need to know about managing pain after an injury.
Acute Pain and Chronic Pain
Acute pain is discomfort that lasts for no longer than three months. Over-the-counter pain medications generally work well to manage acute pain, depending on the severity. Aspirin and Acetaminophen can be helpful for minor acute pain, while more severe pain may require a prescription-strength medication. Acute pain can sometimes develop into chronic pain, depending on the injury.
Acute pain generally comes on immediately and is the result of a specific injury or accident. It can cause sharp discomfort for a few months, but this type of pain should go away once the underlying cause is addressed.
The most common types of acute pain in the U.S. include:
- Car accidents
- Dental work
- Labor or childbirth
After the pain goes away, you can discontinue your medications and resume your daily activities.
Chronic pain is discomfort that lasts for longer than three months. Medical professionals estimate that more than 90 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some type of chronic pain such as arthritis, back injuries, or neurological pain.
Chronic pain is complex and generally requires a mixture of physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle alterations to manage. This type of pain remains active in the body even after the underlying issue has been addressed. Pain signals can remain active in the body for weeks, months, or even years.
Chronic pain is caused by common conditions including:
- Nerve damage
- Back pain
Chronic pain can cause significant stress on the body, triggering other physical conditions, including muscle tension, fatigue, loss of appetite, and limited mobility. This type of pain can also trigger emotional consequences, including irritability, anxiety, and depression. Chronic pain often requires a comprehensive management plan, including medication, physical therapy, and mental health services.
Pain Management for Certain Injuries
Tailoring a pain management plan for your specific injury is an essential aspect of coping with the discomfort that comes with injuries. Each damage is unique, and the pain associated must be managed differently. Read below for more information on the most common car injuries and how the related pain can be managed.
Traumatic Injury Pain
Traumatic injury is a classification of physical injuries that are severe and require emergency medication attention. These injuries occur from various blunt, penetrating forces. The causes include car accidents, natural disasters, falls, sports injuries, and workplace incidents. Some traumatic injuries cause shock trauma to the body, and life-saving interventions such as immediate resuscitation may be necessary.
Car and motorcycle accidents are among the most common reasons for traumatic injuries. Traumatic injuries can lead to significant emotional and physical suffering. Unfortunately, road accidents are commonplace in New York City. In 2019, there were nearly 210,000 police-reported accidents in New York. Approximately 50% of these accidents resulted in the injury of a motorist.
Most traumatic injuries need to be treated in a hospital emergency room, while the most severe injuries may be triaged by an ambulance. Most patients are transferred to the hospital trauma area, where medical professionals will provide lifesaving interventions if needed. Receiving the proper care within 60 minutes of a traumatic injury is essential to managing acute and chronic pain.
Pain Management in New York
In the following care in the trauma area, patients are transferred to intensive care, surgery, or to the trauma care unit. The shock of a traumatic injury can cause immediate emotional distress in patients, which must be promptly managed by a psychiatric professional.
Both acute and chronic pain associated with this type of injury is typically first managed with prescription medications. A competent medical professional should decide the length and dosage of such medicines. Additional services, including tailored physical therapy, occupational therapy, and mental health services, should accompany medication.
Burn Injury Pain
The most severe car accidents can result in fires, which can cause burn injuries. Unfortunately, acute and chronic pain are associated with burn injuries and the recovery period. A vital element of managing burn pain is staying calm and relaxed. Burns places a significant amount of stress on the body, which can cause chronic pain throughout the recovery period.
Stress and tension are often accompanied by muscle tightening, which can increase pain. There are several muscle and relaxation techniques that can lessen the tension in the body and thus alleviate pain. Muscle relaxants and other prescription pain medications often accompany relaxation techniques.
Pain Management Doctors
Pain management doctors also often recommend natural movements, yoga, and deep breathing to mitigate burn injury pain. While yoga may aggravate acute pain, it can be a tool to alleviate chronic pain.
Burn pain can be debilitating, and it is vital to put a care team in place that takes a holistic approach to pain management.
Back Injury Pain
Back pain associated with a car crash is classified as chronic if it lasts for more than three months. This type of pain can come and go for several weeks, causing frustration and confusion. Depending on the severity, over-the-counter or prescription medications may help.
Your back pain may be associated with a severe condition if you experience any of the following symptoms:
- Extreme pain or pressure in the back
- Weakness or paralysis
- Difficulty walking
- Coordination problems
- Numbness or loss of sensation in certain parts of the body
- Loss of motor control
- Extreme fatigue or insomnia
Many pain management specialists recommend specific exercises to alleviate chronic pain. The same activities do not work for everyone, and your routine should be tailored to your injury, age, and overall health status. Performing exercises with a physical therapist is the first key to success while maintaining that routine at home is vital to long-term pain management.
Chronic Back Pain
Chronic back pain is straining both physically and mentally. Many emotional symptoms such as frustration, anger, and anxiety often accompany this type of pain. To manage this type of pain, you may be referred to a rehabilitation psychologist. These professionals can recommend techniques such as meditation, yoga, and mental relaxation methodologies to help you overcome the emotional aspects of back pain.
Managing Car Accident Pain
A car crash injury can occur from the initial impact or from being hit by an objection inside or outside of the vehicle. You can get a bruise, abdomen laceration, or neck injury from the seatbelt or airbag. You can also injure your legs, hips, or upper arms if your body impacts the steering wheel or the dashboard.
You should seek immediate medical help if you experience shortness of breath or chest pain after the impact. Call your doctor in the days following the accident if you experience abdomen pain, nausea or vomiting, weakness in your arms or legs, pain that restricts your mobility, or severe pain that develops more than two days after the crash.
Your doctor may prescribe medications to reduce or take away the pain. Do not wait until the pain becomes unbearable to take the medication. Take medicine as prescribed so you can properly manage both acute and chronic pain in the days and weeks after the accident.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can help reduce pain, swelling, and fever after a car crash. Most NSAIDs are over-the-counter and do not require a prescription. However, always consult with a medical professional concerning dosage and frequency.
Some NSAIDs can cause kidney problems or internal bleeding in people with certain conditions. Always ask your doctor if an NSAID is safe for you to take for acute or chronic pain. Do not administer NSAID medications to children under six months of age without first consulting with a medical professional.
After your doctor prescribes a medication, take your medication as directed. Do not stop taking the medication before directed if you have side effects or if your symptoms have improved. Stopping your medication early without first consulting with a doctor can cause adverse health consequences. Bring your list of current medications to each doctor visit. Ensure your provider reviews your list of drugs to avoid any negative drug interactions.
Car Accident Doctor
Other than medication, you can do things at home to manage pain after a car accident. Use an ice pack to decrease swelling and pain. Ice has also been proven to help prevent certain inflammatory conditions and tissue damage.
To apply to an injury, take an ice pack and cover it with a towel. Apply the towel to the wound for 15 to 25 minutes each hour or as directed by your doctor. After a few days of icing the injury, switch to a heating pad.
Gentle exercises such as tai chi, meditation, and yoga can help stretch and relax your muscles after a motor vehicle accident. Always consult with your doctor before beginning an exercise regime following an injury.
Physical Pain Management Techniques
Many physical methodologies such as massages, physical therapy, and acupuncture can help relieve pain after a car accident. Here is a list of physical techniques that can help alleviate acute and chronic pain:
Hot and cold therapy
This type of therapy can be administered at home or in a medical office, depending on your doctor’s advice. Hot and cold therapy is a common, safe and effective pain management technique. Heat is an effective way to manage pain because it relaxes the muscles while also promoting healing. Cold therapy, on the other hand, helps relieve inflammation by reducing blood flow.
Massages in New York
Many doctors recommend massages to manage all types of pain. Many people benefit from getting a weekly or monthly massage in conjunction with other treatments such as physical therapy. The benefits of massages include improved flexibility, less inflammation, relaxation, reduced stiffness, and better circulation. Massages vary tremendously in terms of quality, so be sure to seek a doctor’s advice before booking an appointment.
Physical Therapy in New York
A licensed physical therapist can assist in all phases of the injury healing process, from the initial diagnosis to the final stages of recovery. This type of therapy is beneficial because it stretches muscles and joints while strengthening certain body parts. It can also relieve pain, while the specific methodologies vary by injury.
Physical therapists often utilize other techniques, including massage, red light therapy, and exercise routines. Some physical therapists specialize in car accident injuries. Visiting an experienced professional can help you overcome the injuries you sustained in your car accident.
When you visit a physical therapist, you can expect to:
- Undergo a physical examination, including testing procedures, posture evaluation, an entire health history evaluation, and muscle and joint health test.
- Obtain a diagnosis, pain management plan, and clarification of physical therapy goals.
- Receive tailored physical therapy treatment based on your diagnosis and the therapist’s expertise.
- Receive at-home pain management recommendations.
While you may not experience an immediate alleviation of pain, consistent physical therapy has been found effective in relieving both acute and chronic pain conditions.
Acupuncture in New York
This procedure involves a medical practitioner applying thin needles to the skin at precise parts of the body. While the use of acupuncture can be controversial within the medical community, evidence suggests it can be helpful to relieve certain pain conditions. It is most commonly used to provide temporary relief from back, knee, and neck pain. Some of the benefits of acupuncture include pain relief, relaxation, fewer muscle spasms, and reduced inflammation.
However, there is not much evidence to suggest acupuncture is effective in managing chronic pain. While acupuncture is generally accepted as safe when a trained professional performs, consult with your doctor before beginning a treatment regime.
Drug Therapy and Pain Management
There are many medications to manage acute and chronic pain. Each type of drug works differently, and patients should always take their medications as prescribed. Here are some of the most common medicines recommended for pain management:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are a classification of drugs that can reduce pain and inflammation. They come in many forms, including creams, gels, tablets, and capsules. Always consult with a doctor before beginning a regimen of NSAIDs for pain management.
A medical professional sometimes prescribes these drugs to treat severe pain following a car accident. Opioids should only be used for short-term pain relief and are not suitable for long-term use. The danger of addiction is great with opioids, so great care should be taken at all times to manage the risks of the medication. There is no evidence to suggest that opioids effectively manage pain over a long period of time.
Some antidepressants or anxiety medications can help alleviate certain types of pain. Your doctor may also prescribe these drugs to help you deal with the emotional effects of acute or long-term care. Your doctor may recommend therapy or counseling in tandem with medication.
These drugs can help alleviate pain by slowing down the heart and stopping certain hormones from working inside the body. They are commonly used to treat severe headaches or migraines. Taking a beta-blocker at a low dose may also help improve chronic pain conditions associated with car accident injuries. However, they are not suitable for everyone, and you should always talk with a professional before taking them for acute or chronic pain.
Other non-traditional medications such as medical cannabis are increasingly being prescribed for acute and chronic pain. The research on medical cannabis is still developing, and taking it for pain, even when prescribed by a doctor, may not be legal everywhere. Know your local laws and consult with your doctor before beginning any cannabidiol regime.
There are various ways to manage acute and chronic pain following a car accident injury. Some pain management approaches, such as physical therapy or acupuncture, require you to visit a licensed professional to receive the treatment. Other strategies, such as meditation or exercise, can be safely practiced at home.
Further, medication is often integrated into any pain management plan. Always take your medicines as prescribed, and make sure you inform your doctor of any drugs you are taking to avoid any adverse drug interactions.
Work With Metro Healthcare Partners
Are you looking for the best pain management doctor in Brooklyn, NY? Metro Healthcare Partners is a specialty healthcare center specializing in pain management. We take a multidisciplinary, holistic approach to pain associated with a car accident injury.
Our team consists of pain management specialists experienced in head, back, leg, shoulder, and arm pain. We provide effective treatments to manage acute and chronic pain while optimizing your quality of life. Don’t wait any longer to get the help you need. Contact us today to receive a personalized pain relief plan.