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Is there an overlap between work-related chronic pain and PTSD?

On Behalf of | Jan 27, 2022 | Workplace Injuries |

In Pennsylvania, work-related injuries can have a serious impact on the well-being of workers, both in the short term and the long term. In accidental injuries, chronic pain can lead to partial or full PTSD. New research shows that this is true for occupational injuries as well.

Chronic pain and PTSD

PTSD is most often associated with exposure to war and the battlefield, but any traumatic event can lead to PTSD symptoms down the road. This isn’t easy to predict, but chronic pain is one of the possible triggers that can lead to PTSD. Chronic pain can last for a long time, and depending on the injury, the road to recovery can be uncertain. The pain combined with that uncertainty is a recipe for mental health concerns. One medical study shows that chronic pain from a workplace injury is a classic mechanism for this to happen. The diagnosis should be made by a professional, as PTSD might often be confused with anxiety, depression, or other adjustment or mood disorders.

Workplace injuries have a lot of complexity. The concern about the return to work, the unknown recovery and the pain from the injury itself can all add up to a high risk of  symptoms of PTSD, anxiety, and depression. Chronic pain and a mental health component can combine to make the impact of a workplace injury that much more intense. Many people underestimate just what a workplace injury can do, especially when there are mental and physical elements that both affect the worker.

There is often legal action around workplace injuries, and there is growing awareness of the mental aspect of these injuries. The new evidence of how mental health diagnoses and chronic pain go together is more support for how that connection works. Cases with mental health components are commonly defended aggressively by workers’ compensation insurance carriers. Make sure to have an experienced workers’ comp attorney on your side to protect your interests.