Educating Car Crash Patients to Help Prevent Chronic Pain
Although chronic auto injury pain affects a small portion of the population, the disorder costs big bucks, both in treatment expenses and paid sick leave.
A study published in the journal Spine Management explores the behavioral learning processes that aid in successful rehabilitation of these injuries. Although several treatment options are being used around the globe to lessen auto accident pain, there is little research on the effectiveness of any one treatment in preventing pain from becoming chronic. The study seek answers, with a review the study researchers describe as "state-of-the-art."
The researchers conducted a literature review that addressed the background data of psychosocial predictors of chronic pain, educational and learning approaches in treating acute auto injury symptoms, including the behavioral medicine approach, and the future challenges in treating patients with acute pain from a crash.
The study concluded that early effective care of these injuries is crucial in avoiding the pain from becoming chronic. However, the researchers say that further studies will need to be done to define what is and is not effective.
Many psychosocial factors have been linked to chronic pain, including catastrophic thinking, fear of movement and re-injury, and low self-efficacy. The study addresses these factors and concludes that patient attitudes are predictors of pain advancing to chronic and must be factored early on in a patient's treatment.
Lastly, the study makes the point that there is strong scientific evidence that behavioral medicine is effective in preventing auto accident pain from becoming chronic, but more research about a behavioral medicine approach in the early stages is needed.
Soderlund, A. The role of educational and learning approaches in rehabilitation of whiplash-associated disorders in lessening the transition to chronicity. Spine Management 2011; 36(25): 5280-5285.