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Study shows chronic pain often occurs after car crash

Chronic pain lasts for months after your body has healed from its injuries. It can cause not only discomfort, but depression, anger and low self-esteem.

Now researchers are saying that people who have been injured in an auto accident are more likely to develop chronic pain than those who have been in other physically traumatic incidents.

The study was conducted in Scotland over four years, following the experiences of more than 2,000 people. The participants gave researchers information about pain and associated distress.

They were also asked if they'd been involved in any of the following traumatic events: a motor vehicle accident, surgery, a bone fracture, a workplace injury, childbirth or hospitalization.

Of the participants, 241 reported a recent onset of chronic pain. Of those, about one-third reported involvement in one of the physically traumatic events during the study period.

After analyzing the data, researchers found that people who had been in traffic crashes were 84 percent more likely to develop chronic, widespread pain.

Those conducting the study also found that there was no link between development of chronic pain and a recent surgery, hospitalization or childbirth.

In the study published in the March 21 issue of Arthritis Care & Research, a researcher wrote "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."

The research is validation of what many observers have long noted: people hurt in car accidents are more likely to suffer long-term pain as a result.

Car crashes are violent, often physically damaging and psychologically scarring events, as many accident injury victims will attest.

Resource: U.S. News & World Report: "Chronic Pain Often Follows Car Crash: Study": March 21, 2011

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