New research out of the University of North Carolina has found that each person experiences pain differently after a car accident and those differences may have a genetic basis. Not only the way we feel pain, but the amount of pain we are in can all be based on our genes.
The studies that researchers analyzed collected data from 948 victims of car accidents. The results revealed that those in the accidents had inherited certain genetic variations that affected how they responded to pain. The genetic differences not only affected the degree of pain felt at the moment, but also the extent of pain felt six weeks after the accident.
This study is important for doctors because there are many patients who may be experiencing severe pain, or more severe pain than their symptoms might indicate and those patients are frequently viewed with suspicion. This suspicion by the medical community can lead to these people not receiving the kind of treatment they deserve. The new study may help doctors understand the genetic basis for differences in pain and how to best handle patient complaints.
Other studies conducted have shown that pain felt after a car accident is not due only to damage from the collision, but can also be influenced by physiologic factors. One facet of this study examined the role of dopamine, a chemical that helps regulate how a person processes pain. It found that genetic variations related to an individual’s dopamine receptors contribute to pain severity immediately after a car accident has occurred. The second aspect of the research studied the role of a hormone system which regulates how the body responds to stress. Again, genetic variation was linked to pain symptoms. The hormone system was found to be related to a 20 percent increased chance of moderate to severe pain six weeks after a collision.
The studies are important because they have shown that the body’s systems can go awry in the aftermath of a car accident and that doctors should look beyond simple answers like broken bones. An X-ray or a MRI may not be able to detect some of the underlying causes for why people suffer pain, especially weeks after an accident. It’s hoped that car accident victims will eventually find better treatment tailored to their genetics, rather than the current one-size-fits-all model.
As Alabama car wreck attorneys we routinely see the devastating aftermath of collisions caused by such car accidents. If you’ve been the victim of such an accident and need help navigating confusing legal waters, contact our skilled Alabama car accident lawyers today.
Source: “Pain Level After Car Crash Could Depend on Your Genes, Studies Say,” by Maureen Salamon, published at USNews.com.