Is it Possible to Manage Chronic Pain From a Work Accident Without Medication?
After suffering from chronic pain for many months, you have accepted the fact that your pain may never completely go away. You were forced to leave your job at FedEx Ground, and you are sure workers’ compensation will not pay for your injury costs forever. But how can you work when you’re in constant pain—and why are the pain sensations lasting so much longer than the initial injury?
The sad fact is that the more pain you suffer, the more you are likely to experience. Research suggests that prolonged pain can actually damage the nerve cells that transmit pain messages to the brain, causing a patient’s perception of pain to become exaggerated over time. This can make standard opioid pain medications increasingly less effective.
Can “Medication-Free” Pain Management Techniques Really Work?
Much like regular pain medications, alternate management techniques cannot take away the cause of pain, but they aim to lessen the patient’s perception of the pain. Chronic pain affects the whole patient, not just the area of the body that is injured, and so a full-body treatment plan is often a better approach to pain management.
Here are a few medication-free pain treatments that have been shown to help work injury victims:
- Biofeedback – A patient will often experience increased heart rate and blood pressure while he or she is in pain, but also in the moments before they expect to be in pain—such as before a physical therapy appointment. Using biofeedback devices, patients may be taught to recognize the biological symptoms of pain and counter it with relaxation and deep breathing techniques, eventually intercepting the pain before it takes over.
- Cognitive behavior therapy (CBT) – Patients will often suffer insomnia and depression because of chronic pain. This can lead to negative self-perception that can stall recovery. CBT is a structured therapy session that teaches a patient to recognize when their thoughts are getting in the way of recovery, and what to do to stay in control. It is also used in pain management, as therapists will help the patient determine the intervention techniques that are most effective when pain begins.
- Visualization – Visualization is a powerful distraction technique that can help block a patient’s pain sensations. The patient learns to focus on positive imagery during periods of pain, such as pleasant memories or by acknowledging how far they have come in their recovery. Patients may also undergo meditation or periods of hypnosis where they are inundated with positive thoughts, reducing the perception of pain and greatly increasing quality of life.
An Attorney Can Help You Get Payments for Alternative Therapies
Unfortunately, many alternative therapies are not covered under workers’ compensation, so you may have to pursue a case against your employer to get additional payments for lifelong treatment. Click the contact link on this page to ask us a question about your case, or download our FREE book, What the Injured Worker Needs to Know: Your Workers Comp Guide.