Are people in chronic pain more likely to cause a car accident? I have chronic low back pain. Sometimes I think my driving isn't as good as it should be. I get distracted by the pain. Are there any statistics on this? I don't want to be a statistic on the road.

Your concern is very admirable. Many people whose driving is impaired by pain, alcohol, depression, or dementia are unable to even ask this important question.

There are some studies that point to an increased risk of car accident for people who have chronic low back pain. Similar studies are needed to assess the effect of pain on people from other conditions such as chronic headache, neck pain, or nerve conditions.

Scientists who study driving behavior say that chronic pain may have similar effects on memory and attention as alcohol. A group of adults with chronic pain studied in the Netherlands had the same driving impairments as someone with an 0.80 percent blood alcohol level. An alcohol level this high is linked with three times the number of car accidents.

Chronic pain patients have a worse driving performance compared to normal, healthy adults. Older adults (65 years old and older) in pain seem to have a higher accident rate, too. Women in this group have the highest rate of motor vehicle accidents.

The statistics may not be enough to tell you to get off the road but your own concern is enough to follow-up with some testing. Talk to your doctor or the highway patrol about their recommendations.

D. S. Veldhuijzen, et al. Effect of Chronic Nonmalignant Pain on Highway Driving Performance. In Pain. May 2006. Vol. 122. No. 1-2. Pp. 28-35.



 Post to Del.icio.us

 Email to a Friend






*Disclaimer:*The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.



All content provided by eORTHOPOD® is a registered trademark of Medical Multimedia Group, L.L.C.. Content is the sole property of Medical Multimedia Group, LLC and used herein by permission.

Back to top

MySpace Tracker