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Research shows Chronic Pain can Result after a Car Accident

Posted Mar 26 2011 12:00am
I have talked many times on the neck pain support blog about injuries that can occur as a result of a car accident or a traumatic injury. Specifically if not treated properly this pain can become chronic. A new study shows that individuals with poorer health or psychological issues may be prone to developing chronic widespread pain following a traumatic event.

Specifically, the research also found that the onset of chronic pain was more often reported following a traffic accident than from other physically traumatic triggers. This study was reported in Arthritis Care and Research.

Chronic-pain What is Chronic Pain? Chronic widespread pain is defined as the presence of pain above and below the waist, or on both the left and right sides of the body, for three months or longer.

"We believe there are persons-defined by prior physical and psychological health-who in the event of a traumatic trigger are vulnerable to developing chronic widespread pain," said Gareth Jones of the University of Aberdeen School of Medicine and Dentistry, U.K., and lead author of the current study.

"Under this hypothesis, the precise nature of the traumatic event may even be immaterial," he said.

The study followed 2069 participants from another study (the Epidemiology of Functional Disorders (EPIFUND) study). They examined the relationship between different physically traumatic events and the onset of chronic widespread pain.

Participants in the EPIFUND study, a population-based prospective cohort, provided data on musculoskeletal pain and associated psychological distress at three time points over a four-year period.

Patients were also asked about their recent experience with six physically traumatic events-
  • traffic accident
  • workplace injury
  • surgery
  • fracture
  • hospitalization and
  • childbirth

Of those who participated in the study through follow-up, 241 (12 pc) reported new onset of chronic widespread pain, with more than one-third of these subjects more likely to report at least one traumatic event during the study period than other individuals.

After researchers adjusted for age, sex, general practice and baseline pain status, those who reported a traffic accident experienced an 84% increase in the likelihood of new onset chronic widespread pain.

No association was observed with hospitalization, surgery or in women who gave birth. "Further research should focus on the unique aspects of an auto accident and the individual's reaction to this particular trauma that causes the increased risk of chronic widespread pain onset," added Jones.

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