Pain left from a car accident

  • I was in a severe head-on collision. I am a university student and have almost completed my Bachelor's Degree. The accident has left me with many areas still exhibiting pain. I have worked closely with a rehabilitation team, but some things are not going away. I know I need to try to find acceptance, but I am struggling to accept this.

    Since the day of the accident, I have lived with a chronic headache. A constant pounding located in the frontal lobe. My headaches range from a six to eight out of ten. Somedays are better than others. Unfortunately, I cannot determine the triggers. When they are so severe I cannot function, I want to crawl into bed with the lights turned off and just sleep. My Doctor and Physiotherapist have done what they can to help relieve the pain, at this point I do not know what more I can do. These headaches affect everything. My worst spell was 17 days of an 8/10. I am afraid to go back to school knowing that this can happen and I don't know how to manage it? :'(

    Soft tissue damage riddles my back. I work with a Physiotherapist, RMT, and Kinesiologist, but yet again, areas like my left shoulder blade is still chronically throbbing. I can't roll that shoulder back without severe pain, so that shoulder sits forward. I have done all the exercises that everyone asks of my, but nothing is helping. I take pain killers to try to help, but it's only a band-aid.

    All of this pain is weighing down on my mental being. I am frustrated, angry, sad, annoyed, hurting, and feeling broken. I do everything asked of me because I am not going to let this accident define me, but so far it's doing a good job of controlling me. At this point, I am not sure what more I can do. I don't know how to help manage the pain... :'( I feel lost, alone, and helpless. Do any of you have suggestions?

  • Hi @Jess87, thanks for sharing your story so honestly. We're so sorry to hear about your accident and please don't feel alone—there is a community of people across BC who can support you and, as @KarenH has said, understand what you are going through.

    The first thing we always ask people on Live Plan Be is: Have you seen a pain specialist? If you live in the Lower Mainland there are chronic pain clinics in Vancouver and Surrey. There can be a wait list but seeing a specialist for your pain is a good place to go if you are finding yourself at a wall.

    It seems like you are already seeing a lot of specialists—that's great! If you are looking for some more support for the day to day, we have a list of support groups on our website. Our Facebook page is really active, and of course, please keep posting here on the Forum.

    And thank you, @karenh, for sharing your insights and some tips on what has worked for you. Great idea about the lacrosse ball! We have heard that a tennis ball works too. Take care, both of you, and let us know if we can provide any more resources or tips for you.

  • I'm sorry to hear about the long term repercussions from your accident. My car accident was in 1982, before you were born? I too had headaches - 25 a month. I lived on advils until I found out that you can get rebound headaches from using too many advils. I eventually read a headache book that helped me figure out my triggers - mostly looking upwards. Even so, I still would have many migraines. Fortunately Axert and 2 advils work for me, but it still means some pretty lousy days every month.

    I've tried Botox, which was successful for three weeks. Then...

    My migraine treatment is: meds, peppermint oil on my forehead, lavender pillow over my eyes, my pillows propped against my ears so I hear no sound - and then hopefully sleep. I'm so luck this works most of the time.

    I wish you luck in finding something that works for you. I know how terrible migraines are.

    I too have the same shoulder problem. I alternate heat and ice packs. When I go to bed, I put Cryoderm Roll-on on it - sort of like icing your took me two years (cause I'm slow) to be able to hold my arm above my head. Rehab is a long slow process. Again, I'm lucky Tramadol provides pain relief for me so I can exercise. I went 26 years without meds, so I know how bad it can get.

    If you can handle massage therapy, then you might find relief with a lacrosse ball ($5 at Canadian Tire). You stand up with the ball against a wall and move your body, you choose how hard you press. I also find it worthwhile to stretch the pecs (which also tighten because you're bent forward) with a broom handle. One palm holding each end, push the broom stick to raise one arm up above your shoulders, then reverse.

    People don't realize how heavy your head and arms are when your upper back is injured. I used to alternate between holding my head up (in case it fell off) and putting my hands in my pocket to avoid the weight of my arms swinging when I walked.

    Good luck. Time will make things better. You just have to keep up with the exercises, slowly but surely.

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