The lawyers at Aaron Waxman & Associates are experienced with Disability, Personal Injury and Employment claims.
There are different types of personal injuries that can affect an individual’s ability to work. When an individual who has long term disability benefits available to them, is unable to work for a prolonged period of time due to an injury, it is recommended that the individual apply for benefits.
It can happen that long-term disability benefits are denied at the outset of a claim or denied after benefits have been paid for a certain period of time.
This post will discuss one area of long term disability claims, chronic pain.
Chronic pain is pain that is prolonged and that last several months. There are many individuals who, after a car accident or other type of personal injury do not recover from their injuries and continue to experience pain. As a result, they are unable to return to work and apply for long-term disability benefits.
Long-term disability carriers and medical professionals sometimes have difficulty understanding the nature of pain and how chronic pain affects a person as a whole, rendering them unable to return to their previous employment, or any employment.
Sometimes secondary to the development of chronic pain are psychological conditions such as depression and/or anxiety. A new study evaluated patients with severe joint or back pain despite medication. All participants were screened for common anxiety disorders and related quality of life issues (e.g. work productivity, quality of sleep). It was found that 45% of the patients suffered from some form of anxiety as a result of having chronic pain. Those who tested positive for some form of anxiety, felt worse pain. To read more about the study, click here.
Researchers at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine claim to have identified a genetic risk factor for chronic pain after a traumatic event such as a car accident or assault. Chronic pain that persists after a traumatic event may be caused more by stress or psychological factors rather than a lingering injury. The study indicates that mechanisms influencing chronic pain development may be related to the body’s stress response, rather than a specific injury related to the event.
The study assessed the role of the hypothalamic-pituitary adrenal (HPA) axis, a system that controls the body’s response to stressful events, and suggests that a genetic predisposition to HPA disregulation plays a role in the persistence of pain following trauma. The study looked at whether the HPA axis influences the severity of musculoskeletal pain six weeks after a car accident. It was found that a gene variant, was associated with 20% higher risk of moderate to severe neck pain.
A very interesting study published in the European Spine Journal in April discusses treating chronic back pain with antibiotics. Danish scientist, Dr. Hanne Albert used a double blind study to test the effectiveness of the antibiotic Bioclavid on a group of chronic back pain sufferers. Those who were given the actual medication fared better than those given the placebo. 100 days of antibiotics were given to patients. This treatment could be of benefit for patients who have suffered personal injuries as a result of car accidents or other traumatic injuries. Difficult back injuries include where a person has a slipped disc, or experiences “shooting pain” up the spine or damage to the spine’s alignment.
Dr. Albert believes that surgery is not enough to alleviate back pain and that antibiotics help because persistent stubborn pain is caused by for example, in the case of a slipped disc, the disc becoming infected by bacteria. The bacteria in turn corrodes the spine by releasing acid and causes pain.
Research is still in its early stages and Canadian spinal-cord injury specialists caution that the study is far from conclusive at this point in time.
The Canadian Medical Association Journal recently published guidelines for treating a chronic pain known as fibromyalgia. About 3% of Canadians are said to suffer from fibromyalgia, a chronic condition that causes widespread pain throughout the body. Calgary physician, Dr. John Pereira, co-author of the guidelines says this is the first set of evidence based guidelines in the English-speaking Western world. The guidelines clearly list how to diagnose fibromyagia and how to treat it effectively with the goal of improving symptoms and “optimizing function”.
A recommendation is made that the individual’s primary care physician take over the diagnosis and management role that has generally been left to specialists. Treatment involves exercise, cognitive behavioural therapy, self-management, education, relaxation techniques as well as medications that target pain.
If your long term disability benefits claim has been denied, or your benefits terminated, contact Aaron Waxman and Associates.
* This blog is for informational purposes only and is not meant to substitute legal advice. Please read our disclaimer for further information.
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