A car accident can strike any person at any time, robbing them of their most basic and important possession: their good health, both physical and mental.
Let’s go back to your car accident site immediately after the collision…
Most people will tell us that they felt dazed and confused just after impact. If they were conscious, they began to realize that they had been involved in an accident. They would do a mental inventory.
1.Am I okay?
2.Are my passengers okay?
3.Is my car okay?
4.Are the other people in the other vehicle okay?
If any person involved is not suffering from an apparent life threatening injury or appears to have no broken bones or major cuts, then most often an ambulance is not called.
Here’s where the problem begins. The attention immediately begins to shift toward the automobile damage and/or damage of property and, of course, WHO IS AT FAULT?
All daily habits, responsibilities, and leisure time have suddenly been wiped away by the complications arising from the accident. The prior stresses that a person was dealing with somehow do not compare to the hassles and inconveniences that an auto accident victim experiences. Not only are car accidents an inconvenience and hassle, but they suddenly do not feel like their normal selves, they find themselves experiencing pain and symptoms like:
•Muscle stiffness and spasms
•Neck pain and headaches
•Numbness, tingling, pins and needles or hot and cold sensations in the arms, legs, hands or feet
•Mid-back pain and lower back pain
•Fatigue, insomnia and sleep disturbance
•and many other problems
Or worse, they may be injured and feel nothing at all! Either way, many of our patients first ended up in a local hospital. The emergency room technicians are trained to detect life-threatening conditions and provide appropriate care. When injuries do not fall into this category, after the evaluation, the patients are sent home with pain/sleep medication and anti-inflammatory medication. They may even be told to “Rest and take it easy.”
During the initial days of taking these medications, most people will then move on to call the insurance company to report the claim. These are very competent and highly trained individuals who deal with accident claims all day long. They know who has been to the hospital and released. They will proceed to ask questions about pain symptoms.
Despite the effects of the medications, one can still fell injured and simply out of the norm. As each day goes by, the injuries continue to worsen as the body produces dysfunctional scar tissue at the sites of trauma. This continued incorrect healing process sets the stage for future problematic conditions, the most common being post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This form of arthritis can, over time, ruin posture causing slump or hump back appearance. It causes the spinal discs to degenerate and creates further scar tissue formation leading to chronic stiffness, pain, numbness and spasms.
Remember, the purpose of medication is to numb the pain, not correct or heal the site of trauma.
The next step for the general practitioner (MD) is to refer a patient who is still symptomatic to a physical therapist and/or massage therapist. Four to eight weeks later, those programs have been completed and the patient can still be in pain and, in some cases, the injury can feel worse. At this point, the physician can be at a loss as to why his patient is still hurting. He will then refer once more, this time to an orthopedic surgeon.
Current medical research states that most soft tissue injuries occurring from auto accidents do not require surgical intervention. Only in the last few years have facet joints been identified as a cause of whiplash pain, so not much is known about how long they take to heal after an injury. Some research shows that the facet joints may be responsible for those whiplash patients with long-term discomfort.
Again, it is important to realize that only a small fraction of all soft tissue injuries caused by auto accidents require the need for surgery. Some patients are flatly told, “There is nothing that we can do. You will have to live with this for the rest of your life.”
This is a huge mistake. Don’t let this happen to you!
The insurance claims adjustor receives the report and interprets that the doctors are finished. They hope your pain will eventually go away on its own. They look at the claim and realize that there have been multiple provisions for care including the hospital, physiotherapy and massage therapy clinics, medical doctors, and even medical specialists. While the underlying damages and pain were hidden or numbed with drugs, fibrosis has set in and this problem is anything but resolved. Yet now there could be an insurance adjustor who isn’t too thrilled about authorizing any further investigation or treatment for someone who claims to be experiencing ongoing pain, numbness, headaches, muscle stiffness, fatigue and other problems (including arthritis) several months later. Nothing is more important than health…especially when one starts to lose it.
How are these hidden injuries detected?
When you have been involved in an auto accident, you need a doctor who is trained and specializes in the biomechanics of the human body. That means he or she can perform routine physical examinations with orthopedic and neurological tests, as well as special chiropractic tests that assess those hidden functional soft tissue damages. In addition, special motion x-rays can be taken to find out if there has been any structural damage. Few health care practitioners conduct these specific examinations and x-ray analysis methodologies. Many healthcare practitioners overlook many damaging injuries from whiplash. Whiplash occurs when the head and neck are thrown or “snapped” back and forth very quickly while travelling at speeds even as slow as 5mph. Whiplash is the most common injury in auto accidents.
Your neck is made up of nerves, gland, tubes, blood vessels, lymph nodes, and 48 different joint. It also “holds” your brain stem, spinal column, discs, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fluids. The chances of you becoming a whiplash victim in an auto accident are very real.
In addition to disc and other soft tissue damage, whiplash causes spinal misalignment and irritation, stretching or impingement to the nerves and spinal curve.
Whiplash is a biomechanical injury.
Proper evaluation and treatment by a chiropractor may make the difference between true recovery (healing and strength) vs. lingering pain (sickness and disability). At PRI clinic, we have successfully treated thousands of patients involved in a motor vehicle accident. We are well trained in the diagnosis and treatment of auto accident victims. Our primary objective is to give our patients the time and care that they need and deserve. We use a variety of techniques and equipment (please see Services and Techniques) to accomplish this.
If you have been injured, and are not sure if you suffer from soft tissue damage, call us.
If you have been injured and are not receiving the care you need, call us.
If you have been injured and are not sure what type of treatment will help you, call us.
If you have been injured and are not sure where to turn, call us.