In some cases, people with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) also suffer chronic pain. Like TBI, chronic pain conditions can be difficult to diagnose and treat. If you or a family member suffers from both conditions, it is critical that you seek medical care as soon as possible. When treated earlier, the outcomes tend to be better.
Headaches are the most common type of chronic pain suffered by people with TBI. This includes cluster headaches, migraines and headaches caused by post-concussion syndrome.
Additional types of chronic pain associated with traumatic brain injuries include:
- Neuropathic or nerve pain
- Musculoskeletal pain in the neck and lower back
- Abdominal pain and irritable bowel syndrome
- Arachnoiditis — a condition in which the arachnoid membrane covering the brain and spinal cord becomes inflamed
- Central pain syndrome/thalamic pain syndrome — damage to the central nervous system that can cause debilitating pain throughout the body
Treatment for chronic pain varies depending on the specific condition. If there is no treatment for the underlying cause, then medical care will focus on alleviating the pain or problem. Pain medications, acupuncture and surgery are some of the treatments frequently used for chronic pain. Psychotherapy and relaxation techniques also help some chronic pain patients manage the pain and reduce the triggers that cause it.
Chronic pain can disrupt your life, making it difficult to work, care for your family, and enjoy former activities and hobbies. It can cause depression and other mood disorders, leading to sleep disturbances, anxiety and withdrawal from social situations. If your brain injury and resulting chronic pain was caused by another party’s negligence, you should learn about your rights. A personal injury attorney can review your case and discuss your options with you.