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  • Trauma videos
  • Pain story: Chronic pain after traumatic crash

Dr Mary Kaspar, clinical psychologist specialised in chronic pain discusses the meaning of "PTSD" which is short for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Sue then describes her experience of trauma and her current experience of chronic pain. Professor Phil Siddall also shares some insights into the link between trauma and chronic pain and Dr John Quintner about the 'stress or illness response' (see peer reviewed article on this page). Dr Blake Dear, clinical psychologist discusses treating people that have had trauma and are now living with pain.

Now you know a little bit about current thinking that links trauma to chronic pain. What do you do about it? Sue shares her journey which led her to a trusted therapist who helped. It is about safety as much as other aspects of finding good treatment options. Peter Gregory also provides insight into the importance of trusting the person providing the service for chronic pain.


There are other ways of addressing trauma, and our friend Professor David Morris, author of "the Culture of Pain" explains something called "Narrative Therapy". There are ways you can do this in your private moments, as Prof Morris discusses. If you think that you are living with painful consequences of trauma, you might also like to explore the "Mind-Body workbook" published by the Hunter Integrated Pain Service in Newcastle Australia. You will find that in the link on the side of this page.


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In 1997 I was working as a concreter, I had a fall and smashed L4 andL5 into about 12 pieces, these pieces nearly severed my spinal cord. I had emergency surgery and after a long and scary recovery period I could walk again, not as good as before and I was in a fair amount of pain, but I could walk.

My wife Karyn and my children Joel and Shaye lived in NSW just out of Wagga Wagga, the winters were cold and played havoc with my back. My wife’s mum Pam was diagnosed with cancer. We travelled to Queensland. The Gold Coast was where Karyn’s mum, dad and younger brother Jas lived. Karyn’s mum was told that they could not do much for her as the cancer was well spread. Pam pulled me aside after a couple of days and asked me was there any way we could sell up and come as close as we could. Joel and Shaye were her only two grandchildren so how could I say no? We sold up and came to Upper Coomera just behind Movie World. Karyn and the kids spent as much time as they could with Pam.

The warmer weather made my injury a lot better and I managed to go back to work. But as no one wanted to take a risk with my back I purchased a small business - a truck bobcat and small excavator! Karyn’s mum died but life went on till 2000.

29/11/2000: My birthday. I came around a corner on my motorbike. As I came around there was a truck coming straight at me. It was 5 feet on my side of the road. I looked the driver in the eye as he pulled a VB stubbie from his mouth and tried to get the truck back on his side, but it was too late He had forced me into the guard rail. Oh what a mess - broken arms and legs and bits and pieces missing everywhere.

The driver didn't stop. The ambo’s got there pretty quick and saved my life.

Sometimes I think that may have been a mistake. I was alive but in a bad way. All my injuries would heal except one: the nerves that worked my left arm or most of them were either pulled out of my spinal cord or broken, the injury is called a trauma brachial plexus injury and is a bad bad thing.

The pain was, is almost unbearable. My arm and hand would never work again, we found a doctor in Sydney who knew a little bit about the injury and he would operate and try and put some of the nerves back together again, in the hope that I might get some elbow and shoulder movement or at the least it might help with the pain. It didn't help so I have had this terrible pain every day and night - I go to bed in pain I wake up in pain. Losing the total use of my arm and hand was bad but nothing compared to this pain. So now 11 years on I have tried so many many things but not much has helped. A couple of things I have found do help numb it a bit sometimes but not much.

My kids have grown and my wife has left as she could not live with the pain and the continuing nightmares and talking in my sleep, so the pain has robbed me of so much. I love life and I hate that this pain makes me consider suicide every day, it is against my religion and I could not do that to the people that do care about me. But what do I do? Can I live another ten years like this? I don't think so. I have an appointment with a pain doctor in Brisbane and I am hoping that he may be able to go into my spinal cord and burn out the nerves that are causing all this pain, if there is anyone out there that thinks they may be able to help me or knows someone who may be able to help me please please contact me and let me know.

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