Many downplay neck pain after car crashes
Many Americans who experience neck pain from vehicle crashes downplay their symptoms out of fear of not being believed or concern they’ll be viewed as someone who just wants to file phony lawsuit, says a new study.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine looked at discharge data from eight emergency departments in four states from nearly 1,000 people involved in vehicle accidents.
As long as six weeks after their accidents, more than 70 percent of the victims in the study reported chronic and persistent pain in their necks and other regions of their bodies.
“In the U.S., if someone develops chronic neck pain or other pain after a car accident, and they go to their doctor or tell their friends, they are often not believed or are viewed with great suspicion, as if their symptoms are not real and they are just trying to sue someone,” said study leader, Samuel McLean, MD, MPH, in a news release. “Our findings indicate that persistent pain is very common among those who aren’t suing, and that only a minority of those with persistent pain are engaged in litigation.”
Study leaders noted that of the nearly 4 million people taken to emergency departments after crashes, 90 percent are discharged to home after being examined.
Just 17 percent of the people in the study decided to call their lawyer to file suit six weeks post-accident, researchers said. Study leaders hope the findings will raise awareness that chronic pain after an accident is real and should be taken seriously.
“It is hard enough to be suffering from a persistent pain condition after trauma that is moderate or severe, and/or occurring across many body regions. Unfortunately, these patients also often have to deal with the additional burden not being believed,” McLean said.
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