Brain Imaging Tests Reveal Effects of Chronic Pain on Lifestyle & Cognitive Abilities

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For over three and a half decades, I have handled thousands of catastrophic injury cases where victims have suffered chronic pain resulting in anxiety, depression, and reduced quality of life.

When one suffers pain lasting longer than four to six months it is defined as “chronic”.  As one who suffers from chronic pain as a result of a motor vehicle accident thirty years ago, I understand the impact that chronic pain can have, from a psychological and physiological standpoint.  Advanced human brain imaging studies recognize that emotional decision-making tasks in individuals may be affected by chronic pain and complex regional pain syndrome.  Unfortunately, there is little scientific information regarding the mechanism of chronic pain.  However, there is a huge amount of literature and studies concerning the relationship between pain and emotion.

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Chronic Pain Can Cause Cognitive Deficits

Recent studies have indicated that compared to control subjects, chronic pain patients show impairment with decision-making tasks.  Chronic pain victims were noted to be less persistent in choices and profitable decision-making tasks.  Chronic pain also results in anxiety and depression which can make even basic activities of daily living difficult to complete. These pain-related conditions are compensable if they are properly evaluated and objectively quantified via neuro-cognitive and neuropsychological testing.  With advanced brain imaging techniques, medical and psychology experts are able to objectively quantify and demonstrate the loss of cognitive ability and function.

Many times after a motor vehicle accident our clients demonstrate an increased complaint of headaches.  In fact, over 30% of individuals involved in an accident complain of headaches that do not diminish over time.  If an accident victim strikes his or her head or is violently thrown forward and backward, it is likely that a traumatic brain injury can occur with long-lasting symptoms.  Small collections of fluid or blood, hematomas, can accumulate inside the skull. Swelling of the brain and disruption of neuron patterns can also cause headaches and other neurological issues.  Unfortunately even after the initial healing has taken place, headaches are still very common in even mild to moderate injuries.  This discomfort is due to changes in brain structure caused by neck, skull, or brain injury which can have long-lasting effects on one’s personal life as well as interaction in the business world.

Symptoms of TBI

A victim who has experienced any of the following symptoms should be carefully and objectively evaluated for a traumatic brain injury by a qualified medical professional:

  • Dull, throbbing sensations in the head
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Light and sound sensitivity
  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Bright lights or flashes
  • Sensitivity to light
  • Tight squeezing type headaches
  • Pain upon relocation of positioning or neck
  • Increasing or inability to sleep
  • Weakness in the limbs

Many times people forgo treatment because there are many over-the-counter medicines that one may take to temporarily relieve the occasional headache.  However, if the situation is long lasting and becomes chronic, it is important that a proper evaluation is conducted utilizing the latest medical science to address traumatic brain injury and chronic pain. Tylenol, Advil, Motrin and other painkillers may reduce your discomfort, but they do not provide the kind of supportive therapy that can significantly improve the functioning and quality of life of someone with a TBI.

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New Imaging Technologies Improve Our Understanding of the Effects of Brain Injury & Chronic Pain

New brain injury imaging technologies are available to help better understand the mechanisms underlying acute and chronic pain.  Unfortunately, many physicians and attorneys fail to make a proper evaluation due to the fact that they may not be familiar with the latest science and medical developments.  Generally speaking, advanced imaging typically involves painless and non-invasive modalities.  Advanced techniques monitor the brain at different spatial and temporal resolutions which can document the changes that are affecting daily human behavior.  Advanced brain imaging studies make it possible to demonstrate changes in brain chemistry and brain activity associated with neuropathic pain.  Today doctors and medical professionals are often able to objectively quantify a reduction in information transmitted which can lead to anxiety and depression.

Despite these medical advances many of the defense’s “painted lady” experts will conveniently attempt to disprove accepted medical theories with junk science. However, a victim’s complaints of pain, anxiety, depression, and inability to cope on a cognitive scale are not imagined problems.  Complete and advanced imaging tests can show the biases of these “so-called” experts and prove the effects that your brain injury and chronic pain are having on your everyday life.

At The Reiff Law Firm we work to ensure that we never fail to take advantage of the latest in medical understanding or technology. When working to prove your case we utilize all appropriate modern medical technologies. Quite often the visual aid of an imagining test helps the jurors more fully understand the injury, often making it a key element in pursuing a successful outcome of a catastrophic brain injury case. If you suspect cognitive emotional issues due to a TBI, contact the experienced attorneys of The Reiff Law Firm today by calling (215) 246-9000 or contact us online.

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