Serious accidents often come with serious pain, unfortunately. Car accident victims in particular tend to suffer from ongoing pain. Epidural Steroid Injections (ESI’s) are sometimes offered as a treatment option. They are minimally invasive and help with those injuries most often associated with car accidents. These injuries include neck pain, back pain, arm or leg pain, shoulder pain and headaches. What I often hear though, is that people don’t necessarily want pain injections.
Talking to your doctor if you don’t want injections
I am not a doctor and am not giving medical advice. I tell my clients that if they were hurt in an accident, they have the right to get checked out. Some will go to the Emergency Room right after their accident and some go directly to see a doctor. I am a big believer in people following their doctor’s instructions. They know best and should be making recommendations based upon a personal examination of your body and discussing all options with you.
That being said, what I hear over and over again from my injured clients is that they don’t want pain injections. A doctor’s advice should be followed, but not necessarily followed blindly. Just like the attorney- client relationship, having a doctor should be based on a trusting relationship. Before sending you for an injection, your doctor should be talking to you about what is entailed, the expected benefits, and potential risks or side effects. Some people will have a round or two of injections and decide, for whatever reason, that it is not a course of treatment that they wish to continue.
Be open and honest with your doctor if you don’t want more pain injections.
There are other treatment options out there which may be available to you, at the discretion of your physicians, including:
- Physical Therapy
- Prescription medications
- Chiropractic care
- Home Remedies
- Exercise Regimen
- Surgery- usually as a last resort
If you are not comfortable with your doctor’s recommendation, you might want to consider a second opinion or a visit with a different kind of doctor. For instance, you might have seen a doctor at a pain clinic where injections might be more routinely given than might be at a different kind of facility, with a different focus.
Orthopedic doctors or a family physician are often a good starting point for most accident victims who have lingering pain.
Treatment Decisions may impact your legal case
Your medical records are central to your legal case. People sometimes ask me if something in their records will “look bad”. I am of the opinion that no one should ever do something medically just for the sake of “looking good” from a legal standpoint. That in and of itself is just a bad idea, for a number of reasons. First and foremost, you want to follow doctor’s orders for the sake of healing. Healing should be your priority above all else, if you were hurt. We all only have one body in life and must take care of it.
That being said, you should review your medical records because sometimes there will be a mistake, such as an incorrect date or facts that are just plain wrong. Medical records are often transcribed and humans sometimes make mistakes. If that happens, talk to the medical office and see if the records can be corrected to reflect what is accurate.
Insurance companies, arbitrators, judges, lawyers and juries will scrutinize your records. If your records indicate that a doctor recommended “X”, for example- following up with another doctor, remember that the recommendation was made for a reason. If you do not follow doctor’s orders, this will be questioned in the context of your legal case and you should be readily able to explain it.
Many people worry what will happen if they don’t get recommended injections. Relax. Injections don’t work well for some people and there are many reasons why some people might not want steroid injections as part of their treatment. That is valid. The important thing is to discuss your concerns and wishes with your physician and ask that it be documented in your medical records.