Who suffers from Chronic Pain and what is it?

Chronic pain is defined as pain lasting more than 12 weeks.

The pain we associate with chronic pain is pain we would call abnormal pain reaction to what might be relatively low level minor injury.

Statistically it has been shown that approximately 10% of the population suffer with chronic pain.

Following soft tissue injury you will typically be seen by a GP Medco expert. In some instances GPs do not have a good understanding of chronic pain or the evolution of that pain, and may give an incorrect diagnosis.

Even you, yourself may not realise that the developing condition can be linked to the original trauma.

In this situation it is too easy to compromise the claim for damages on the basis that it is simply a soft tissue injury that will resolve in a few months.

The pitfalls are obvious as clients may be under compensated dramatically and this creates potential for professional negligence actions.

Case references:

Bennett v Smith. Chronic pain condition Fibromyalgia can be triggered by a relatively minor accident.

Edwards v Salford Primary Heathcare Trust (CRPS: Complex regional pain syndrome) damages: £1 million.

Orthopaedic surgeons are increasingly recognising chronic pain conditions. These surgeons often only see clients in early stages of trauma or a claim. They are more used to fixing people who have broken limbs, relying predominantly on x-rays and scanning.

If the conclusions are unclear and do not explain the pain they are really only guessing as to the cause of pain. In such cases they need to be asked to refer on to pain clinicians to provide more answers and treatment options. If the pain cannot be explained or appears abnormal always ask the surgeon to refer on.

Types of Pain Conditions

CRPS Complex regional pain syndrome

CRPS was previously called reflex sympathetic dystrophy. It involves the individual experiencing continuous intense pain out of proportion to severity of injury which gets worse instead of better over time.

Pain Regional Abnormal Sensory Pattern

This often affects hands arms legs and feet often entire limbs. It features changes in temperature, burning sensations & sweating. It can lead to amputation in extreme cases.


Rheumatology also diagnosis supported by psychological factors.

In more than 75% of patients these factors are present:

  • The patient is female
  • Non restorative sleep
  • Morning sickness
  • Fatigue

In more than 25% these factors are present:

  • IBS
  • Raynaud’s disease
  • Headache
  • Swelling
  • Paraesthesia
  • Psychological symptoms
  • Sensitivity to cold
  • Jaw dis function
  • Often the patient will have a pre-existing condition
  • Stress factors

Other Complex Pain conditions

Other conditions include Chronic Pain Syndromes, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Atypical Facial Pain, Somatic Symptom Disorder and Anxiety Disorders.

All of these conditions can have their roots in traumatic events that have occurred.

If you are living with chronic pain and feel this may have been caused by a personal or serious injury, contact our friendly & professional team now on 0800 015 1470 and ask for a free initial consultation with Jan Canter. Jan is an experienced personal injury solicitor and partner within the practice and has special expertise in chronic pain cases.