I often write about “chronic pain,” as it’s incredibly devastating for auto accident victims who live with pain every day, yet feel the frustration that other people either don’t understand or suspect they’re exaggerating because they cannot see this disabling injury.
The other problem with chronic pain – and I see this in my own cases as an auto accident attorney – is that the injury can change, evolve and worsen over time. Chronic pain can cause depression and fatigue. With this often comes personality changes. But it’s not only loved ones of people who have chronic pain that don’t understand. It’s often lawyers, juries and even doctors (the doctors hired by the insurance companies to do the IME exams are often paid handsomely NOT to understand).
I wanted to share an article by Dr. Oz that speaks to this point. Dr. Oz shares my own experience that doctors often don’t understand patients with chronic pain. On a recent show, Dr. Oz shared stories of three women who suffered severe chronic pain, yet their medical practitioners told them there’s nothing wrong and the pain was all in their heads.
With that, Dr. Oz listed four reasons why your doctor thinks you’re crazy when you share that you have chronic pain symptoms:
- Doctors can’t see your pain. If they can’t see your pain, it doesn’t exist.
- Doctors don’t have pain management training.
- Doctors think you’re out to score some drugs.
- You’re a woman. Male doctors treat female patients differently.
This sort of behavior heaps harm upon harm. It can cause the patient to feel like she doesn’t matter and that she is not protected as she continues to suffer. Often, it is because her doctor refuses to take the time to listen, understand and help her.
But you don’t have to be a prisoner to your pain. If your doctor refuses to listen to you, take these steps to find a doctor who is trained in pain management and can truly help you. Try using the questions below from Dr. Oz to help find the best pain management doctor for you.
4 questions to find the right pain specialist
- How much pain management training do you have?
- What is your approach to treating chronic pain?
- How long will it be before I begin to see results?
- How much will it cost to treat my chronic pain?
The bottom line is that patients with chronic pain must be taken seriously.
I read all of this with a special understanding for what these people go through. As an attorney who’s job is protecting auto accident victims, I have seen how pain can play a bigger picture in exacerbating other injuries. And as I said above, doctors are not the only ones missing this. If you’re an auto accident victim who suffers from chronic pain, it’s up to your attorney to protect you by understanding your story, and then having the skill and training in telling your story in a way that connects on an emotional level to the jury or insurance company adjuster.