If a devastating motor vehicle accident left you with a catastrophic spinal cord injury, your paralysis may be just one of many issues you are facing. You are likely learning new ways to accomplish tasks that were once routine, and you may be discovering methods of coping with the frustration you are feeling. Undoubtedly, your family is sharing your struggle, and it may seem altogether unfair to you that so many are suffering because of the carelessness of another driver.
Perhaps the most demoralizing issue you deal with daily is pain. While pain is a signal your body sends that something needs attention, chronic pain that accompanies paralysis is unique because it may be the only sensation you feel in certain parts of your body since your injury. This neuropathic pain can be difficult to manage without the assistance of medical specialists.
Use medication to manage pain
When the nerves that carry pain messages are damaged in an accident, they may fire more frequently, leaving you with agonizing pain. In this situation, medical experts in the field of paralysis do not consider your pain a symptom of your injury, but a nerve disease all its own. Medications used to treat most chronic pain do not relieve the pain of neuropathy.
There is some evidence that medical marijuana relieves neuropathic pain, but Texas strictly limits the conditions that qualify for the legal use of marijuana. Aspirin and ibuprofen do little to touch the neuropathic pain you may be experiencing. While opioids like codeine and morphine do relieve some pain in paralyzed patients, they are highly addictive and may produce a range of uncomfortable and dangerous side effects that may not be worth the limited relief they offer.
Finding new ways to help you cope with pain
Researchers are constantly looking for new options to help people with spinal cord injuries manage their neuropathic pain. Since medications offer little relief, your doctor may suggest alternative methods for dealing with your pain, including:
- Massage therapy
- Heat therapy
- Physical therapy
- Pain response modification using biofeedback
- Pain perception modification through visual imagery and hypnosis
- Electrical or magnetic stimulation of the brain, spinal cord or nerves
- Surgery to block the nerves, sever the nerve bundles near the injury or destroy the neurons
Since every injury is unique and your pain may react differently to various treatments, you may have to try numerous methods before arriving at one that provides some relief. This is not cheap. Seeking the assistance of an attorney may answer your questions about your options for pursuing compensation for the injuries related to your accident.