There are several ways someone can become injured from a burn. According to the American Burn Association’s latest data, there are approximately 486,000 burn injuries requiring medical treatment each year in the United States. While many severe burn victims do not initially feel any pain, that is not a lasting reaction.
The medical treatment required to heal from a serious burn injury can be a lengthy, painful, and costly process. Someone’s age and the way a burn is inflicted can have a lot to do with how a burn victim heals from the trauma, both physically and psychologically. The mortality rates have improved substantially, but those suffering still have to learn how to cope with everything they’ve experienced and what their future might look like.
Five types of burn injury pain to overcome
Recovering from a burn injury is often a harrowing experience, not just for the individual but also for those close to him or her. While you go through a physically painful ordeal, your loved ones watch you struggle knowing there isn’t anything they can do to help time move faster or to lessen your ordeal. The healing process mostly requires you working with your healthcare team to assess pain levels in order to determine which direction to take your treatment.
Depending upon whether you are recovering from a first, second, or third degree burn, there are five types of pain you might expect:
- Breakthrough pain: this is the pain that comes and goes throughout the course of the day from wound healing, tightened muscles, or repositioning.
- Resting pain: “background” pain that is almost always present.
- Acute pain: this is short-term, intense pain you can endure while engaging in an activity like physical therapy or when undergoing a procedure such as having your wound cleaned and bandages changed.
- Neuropathic pain: this pain is caused by damage to or re-growth of nerve endings in your skin after you have suffered a burn injury.
- Chronic pain: this is pain that lasts six months or longer once your wound has healed.
Other factors can play into assessing your pain such as intensity, itching, throbbing, or duration. Being as detailed as possible with your medical team will aid in your recovery progress.
Burn injuries often include emotional pain
Statistics show that more than twice as many men are hospitalized with burn injuries than women. This is important because men are less likely to readily accept help when it comes to working through a psychological trauma, which is often part of burn injury recovery. Dealing with physical scars that may be with you for the remainder of your life can be tough to come to terms with and refusing help can prolong the healing process. As time spent in burn units decreases with medical advancements, more patients are leaving the safety of their support system only to go home and be at risk for self-isolation rather than facing their emotional scars.
Burn victims have a high likelihood of suffering conditions such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which are rarely mastered alone. Just some of the ways these conditions might manifest include:
- Loss of appetite
- Inability to sleep
Helping a loved one with burn injuries
Preventing a loved one from slipping into a dark place can feel like an insurmountable task. Healing from burn injuries can take years for some victims. The psychological scars rarely get dealt with until after the physical healing is finished and life slows down leaving them time to process all that has happened. Things you can do to help them cope along the way involve:
- Closely monitor their medications, especially for overprescribed opioids to prevent addiction or overdose
- Engage in relaxation techniques together to help ease muscle tension and pain
- Establish a doctor-approved regular exercise routine to assist with pain management
- Locate psychologists or support groups specializing in burn recovery
- Be there and gently encourage your family member to open up about his or her feelings
The pain and suffering burn victims and their families feel after such a tragic injury can cause lasting devastation to all of your lives. Having the ability to obtain the right treatment often requires substantial financial means you will only be able to secure through filing a claim against the individual or company at fault.
If you have been badly burned, the dedicated Memphis burn injury lawyers at Bailey & Greer, PLLC, stand ready to protect your rights. To schedule your free, no-obligation consultation in our Memphis or Jackson office call 901-475-7434, or we invite you to reach out to us through the firm’s contact page to tell us your story.
As founder of Bailey & Greer, R. Sadler Bailey has battled his fair share of insurance giants and wrongdoers and has achieved numerous multimillion-dollar results for the victims of catastrophic injuries and their families. What’s more, he has been involved in more than 40 appellate court decisions affecting Tennessee personal injury law, including many landmark appearances before the Tennessee Supreme Court.
Read more about R. Sadler Bailey