The extent of injuries resulting from an accident or injury may not be known until some time after they were sustained. Weeks, months, and years may pass while you still experience lingering or lifelong symptoms. A common long-term ailment from accident injuries is chronic pain. Chronic pain is defined as pain that lasts longer than 12 weeks. Sources of pain can include headaches, joint pain, back pain, or neck and spinal cord pain.
Chronic pain is a major medical issue that affects over 20% of Americans annually. Over 7% of Americans will experience high-impact chronic pain that inhibits their ability to lead a normal life and work. Accident victims with chronic pain sustained from an injury can lose wages from inability to work and emotional distress on behalf of both the sensation of pain and its impact on their life. Treating chronic pain is costly and time-consuming.
There are natural ways to treat chronic pain at a lower cost and less risk than pharmaceuticals. While pain medication such as opioids and steroids may be effective, they can be dangerous long-term, and have a high risk of harmful dependency and addiction. Even over-the-counter medications such as acetaminophen and NSAIDs can be replaced or supplemented with more natural and holistic methods.
Holistic medicine is a form of treatment with the attitude of caring for a whole person: their body, mind, spirituality, emotions, intrapersonal relations, and so on. Holistic medicine believes that a person is made up of interdependent parts; if one part is unwell, all other parts will be affected. For example, if a person is experiencing physical pain, their mood, self-esteem, and outward behavior can also suffer.
In recent years, holistic medicine and its effectiveness has been further studied in clinical settings. Health care providers and researchers such as the Mayo Clinic and the Cleveland Clinic have backed the vast benefits of holistic medicine. The term “integrative medicine” has become popular to describe treatment that utilizes both conventional medical techniques and holistic practices and considerations.
Holistic medicine follows these principles to minimize harm and maximize effectiveness:
- All people have inborn healing capabilities.
- A holistic doctor, or naturopathic doctor, can work together with their patient to address all areas of health and wellness.
- The person should be treated, not the disease or ailment.
- The cause of the ailment should be corrected, not just the symptoms or side effects.
- Treating the mind-body connection is important to treating the whole person.
A doctor of holistic medicine is called a naturopathic doctor. Naturopathic healthcare providers can include licensed doctors such as integrative medical doctors, doctors of osteopathic medicine, doctors of naturopathic medicine, and chiropractors, as well as other holistic professionals such as acupuncturists, herbalists, massage therapists, and fitness instructors.
A holistic practitioner will abide by the principles of holistic medicine. They will look to provide the least invasive methods of treatment. Prescription drugs are only relied on as a last resort.
There are a variety of methods for treating chronic pain with holistic medicine. It is essential to consult with a naturopathic doctor to determine which treatments will be most appropriate for your chronic pain. Some common treatments include:
- Acupuncture: uses needles to activate the nervous system, reducing chronic symptoms.
- Ayurvedic medicine: addresses health issues through herbs, metals, dietary changes, and the patient’s surrounding environment.
- Chiropractic care: gentle manipulation of the spinal cord to relieve pain.
- Massage therapy: loosens tight muscles and tissues.
- Nutrition counseling: advising a patient on their dietary habits and healthy changes.
- Mental health counseling: talk and group therapy can be utilized to treat stress, depression, and other mental health needs as a component of recovery.
Even improving diet, sleep, and exercise routines with chronic pain in mind can be considered holistic treatment. Any combination of these and other practices may naturally improve the burden of chronic pain, especially in the long-term.
Holistic medicine can be expensive. Health insurance does not usually cover holistic care, resulting in costly medical bills. If you were injured in a car accident and experience chronic pain as a result, you should consult with a personal injury attorney to see if your bills can be included as damages in an insurance settlement or lawsuit.
Car accident victims should seek conventional medical treatment first, as this is much more likely to be covered. Going to an emergency room or primary care physician as soon as possible following a car accident is important, not only to prove the seriousness of your injuries, but to record your dedication to your recovery. Integrated medical care can be discussed as an ongoing treatment, especially to address chronic issues.
An insurance company cannot decide what kind of care you receive; however, it can decide if it will compensate for the cost of that care in a personal injury settlement. If a conventional doctor recommends a holistic route for treatment, the cost is more likely to be covered. Documenting your treatment and recovery in a journal can provide further evidence of the benefits of holistic medicine for your chronic pain. Records and notes from your doctors, both conventional and holistic, can also be used to prove the effectiveness of received care.
When reviewing treatment options for chronic pain that resulted from a car accident injury, consider holistic medicine as a possibility before prescription drugs. A car accident lawyer can fight for proper compensation for your medical bills so you can receive the most effective level of care.