Car Accidents and Chronic Pain

Car accidents can exacerbate chronic pain symptoms. How do you handle this with your insurance? What do you say? How much information should you give them?  I actually don’t have answers to those questions. But this is a post to share about how I recently handled this situation.

I have been in a lot of car accidents. A lot. Some of them were minor fender benders, and some of them were actual totals with multiple car crashes. I have gotten to the point where I almost do not want to drive anywhere.

Car accidents are a challenging experience for anyone to go through. Especially those of us who have chronic pain. When we are in motor vehicle collisions, this can exacerbate any pain symptoms that we are already trying to manage. For me, it usually throws me into a flare up and I have to get back to the basics.

I’ve had two accidents in the past 6 months. Both of the times I was rear ended. People just are not paying attention when they’re driving.

The one that happened 6 months ago threw me into a 3 week flare up and exacerbation of symptoms that were really hard to get under control.

I never reported it to my insurance because I didn’t want to deal with them.

This most recent fender bender has thrown me into another flare up. This time it has affected my thinking and concentration levels too. I’ve had to miss work because of it. The pain levels are higher than a normal flare. I waited a couple of days (avoidance), but I eventually decided to file a claim.

We live in a no-fault state. So that means that all personal injury claims go under my own auto insurance. After explaining my situation to my agent, I decided to go into the doctor to get a “prescription” for some craniosacral, myofascial release, and physical therapy.

First I had the anxiety of them (the doctor) assuming that I was drug seeking because of my pain related diagnoses on the chart. Then I had some anxiety related to the thought of “what will they put in my chart that the insurance company can see?”

I was concerned that my auto insurance would deny any claims because of my pre-existing pain conditions.

Luckily, I choose to treat my chronic pain without medications. I treat with my lifestyle choices and complementary and alternative medicine. Things like diet, exercise, supplements, acupuncture, restorative yoga, aromatherapy, herbs, etc. So, I knew that the doctor wouldn’t second guess me on my visit, as I wasn’t looking for any type of pain medication or muscle relaxants. The doctor was happy to write the referral for manual therapies and I was on my way.

Now, I have no idea if the auto insurance is going to pay my claims for the therapy. I am frustrated that I have to be concerned about them not paying for anything due to my “pre-existing” conditions. I’ve been denied ongoing treatment in the past in another car accident situation just like this. But I am going to try again and hope that they cover what they should due to the fact that my symptoms are clearly exacerbated due to the accident. I understand. My symptoms flare up sometimes for no good reason, so how can they sort out this flare up being different because it is related to being rear ended? Sometimes the paperwork and phone calls related to insurance creates more stress which can increase the physical symptoms too!

So, I’m just going to be honest and give them the information that they ask, not elaborate in additional detail, but not lie, and then hope for the best.

UPDATE: 2 months post. So far the insurance company is paying!



  1. loner says:

    the pain control drs are crazy . every dr. you talk to about chronic pain they think all you want is drugs. well pain meds do help with chronic pain. when a person has all his med records the drs can not deny this person needs pain control no doubt this person is not trying to pull a fast one. i take a lot of pain meds but not like before. a lot of people in our world have been up to no good with pain meds and people like me are going to suffer really bad its already started. its really a shame things have gone this far in the medical world. another thing you here with some drs, not that kind of dr. god bless every body and take care. loner

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