Some people with chronic pain after a motor vehicle accident also suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). This can occur anytime someone has a trauma with risk of death or serious injury. It causes symptoms like:


  • Flashbacks, bad dreams, or recurring thoughts, which make you feel like you are reliving the trauma.


  • Staying away from people, places, or things that might remind you of the initial trauma. For example, someone that was seriously injured in a car accident may avoid driving, traffic, specific streets or even getting into a car.


  • This includes anxiety, panic, anger, impatience or irritability, especially when you are around triggers in your environment


PTSD affects many aspects of day-to-day life. It can cause problems with memory and concentration, sleep and mood. These can lead to isolation from friends and family, feelings of hopelessness and despair, and a diminished quality of life. It causes stress, worsening your pain by creating tension in nerves and muscles.

Unfortunately, this is a two way street. As you experience more intense and prolonged pain, you levels of stress and anxiety increase, which in turn increases the amount of pain you are experiencing, and the pattern continues. Because of this, when chronic pain and anxiety exist together, treatment is more difficult and special techniques are needed.

Chronic pain is both physical and psychological. In order to eliminate the pain you are experiencing, we must heal both the body and the brain. The stresses affecting your brain are preventing your body from healing, and vice versa.

We work to help you learn to reduce your anxiety, and we use specialized techniques to treat post-traumatic stress disorder. We provide psychological assessment and treatment, including cognitive behavioural therapy and exposure therapy. We consider using medication in some cases, but they usually do not achieve good results in PTSD. We also use EMDR (eye movement desensitization and reprocessing), a new technique that has delivered impressive results in our patients. Our technique combines eye movements with other techniques to further improve outcomes.

The best approach to treatment includes body and mind, and when it is successful lives can be transformed. Your job as the patient is to practice mindfulness, because how you react to symptoms is a major factor in how they affect you. If you have been diagnosed with PTSD or you think you may have it, the most important things you can do are to have hope and focus on getting better. Because healing is possible.