Patient Education Improves Chronic Auto Injury Pain
Neck injury often occurs when the neck is forced past its normal range of motion during a car crash. A common example of this is being rear-ended in an automobile accident. Injury can also occur after a severe bump to the head in which the neck was jarred or thrown forward or backward.
Neck pain should always be evaluated and treated to prevent further problems such as accelerated degeneration due to inflammation and alignment issues. As well, chronic symptoms can develop in some individuals. If this happens, you may be looking forward to years of intense pain sensitivity, poor coping mechanisms with illness, negative attitude and of course, movement dysfunctions. All of this could lead to disability.
In a recent case study, people suffering from long-term auto injury symptoms were educated on the mechanisms behind pain response to determine whether this type of knowledge could change symptoms, daily functioning, pain beliefs and behavior. Six patients with chronic pain underwent evaluation; one group out of three underwent education on neurophysiology.
There was a significant difference in kinesiophobia (fear of movement or re-injury), passive coping strategy of resting, self-rated disability and photophobia (excessive sensitivity to light) following education intervention. There was also an increase in pain pressure thresholds and improvement in pain-free movement capabilities.
Oosterwijck J, Nijs J, Meeus M, Truijen S, Craps J, Van den Keybus N, Paul L. Pain neurophysiology education improves cognitions, pain thresholds, and movement performance in people with chronic whiplash: A pilot study. Journal of Rehabilitation Research and Development. 2011; 48 (1): 43-58.