Frequently Asked Questions
What are common car accident injuries?
Common car accident injuries include whiplash, neck pain, upper back pain, low back pain, headaches, dizziness, and post traumatic stress disorder. Car accident patients also frequently report “weird” pain that travels a few days after the accident. This “weird” pain is usually caused by inflammation around the spine affecting the nerves. As the injuries are properly treated, this pain usually subsides as the inflammation gets better.
What happens when you get in a car accident?
When a person is in a car accident, the ligaments around the joints are usually sprained or torn. Our bodies are not designed to take the forces caused by car accidents. This overwhelming amount of force causes injuries to muscles, tendons, joints, and ligaments which can take weeks to months to heal. This is why starting care for your injuries is so crucial. Without proper care, scar tissue will form in the injured tissue, potentially leading to chronic problems.
What should you do immediately after a car accident?
Immediately following a car accident, it is a good idea to put ice on any injured area. If you have areas in your body that develop immediate pain, have those areas evaluated. Chiropractors are experts in the area of spinal trauma following a car accident. If there are any injuries outside of the scope of chiropractic, the patient will be referred to the appropriate care provider.
Why should you see a chiropractor after a car accident?
The vast majority of car accident victims respond well to chiropractic care. It is vital to restore proper motion to the spine following a car accident. If the injured areas don’t have a proper range of motion, scar tissue will develop in these areas. Scar tissue will cause long term chronic pain and problems. Chiropractors restore motion to the injured areas, preventing the development of scar tissue.
Should I go to the chiropractor if I have whiplash?
You should absolutely see a chiropractor after a whiplash injury. Whiplash injuries damage the soft tissue around your spine, resulting in the loss of motion. Scar tissue will inevitably develop in whiplash patients if proper motion isn’t restored. Chiropractors restore proper range of motion and prevent the development of scar tissue and long term chronic pain.
How long should I see a chiropractor for whiplash?
Chiropractors typically see whiplash patients for 4-12 weeks depending on the severity of the accident and patient need.
Do insurance companies pay for chiropractors?
Several insurance companies pay for chiropractic care. Car accident victims should also contact their auto insurance company. Med-Pay is a common form of insurance that is part of auto insurance. Med-pay will reimburse your chiropractor for your care.
Hello everyone, this is Dr. Aaron Seaton from the Chiropractic Place, doing another video about car accidents. This is a very important topic. We're kinda in the rainy season here where I am, so this is definitely very relevant for this time of year. It's important for people to understand when they're in a car accident, if they've had a whiplash injury, maybe they're experiencing some headaches, neck pain, upper back pain, or low back pain, it's important to understand what happened and how to properly heal from these injuries because if you don't take care of this problem properly, you can have chronic long-term debilitating problems.
So the first thing I always discuss with my patients is what to do? What do you do when you're in an accident? There's been several research studies done on what to do, the biggest one, The biggest conclusion that was ever reached as far as an orthopedic study on the most important factors for how to help somebody get better is what you do the first 30 days after your accident. That's the single largest predictor for whether or not you will have future problems is what did you do in the first 30 days? So what I tell my patients is, the most important thing you can do as that body of yours is healing from this injury, is that you have to keep those joints mobilized, meaning you can't let scar tissue set in. Say you had a whiplash injury in your neck, and you've got neck pain and you're getting headaches and your neck is really sore and maybe have pain coming down the arm.
What you need to do is we have to get to work immediately. We have to get that tissue moving, we have to keep it moving, and then once we keep that thing healthy and down the road, we're gonna have to talk about doing exercise. So getting on board with care the first 30 days after. If there's anything you take from this section, it's, don't wait. Don't wait months. Don't wait six months, 12 months to get under chiropractic care, if you've been in an accident. That is an absolute no, no. The research does not support that approach, and there are a lot of people, "Oh, I will just wait, just give it time." Like, no, that's not what the research says. It's very clear, the first 30 days after an accident are vital to you getting better. So after you're in accident, get started with chiropractic care, let's understand your injuries and how we can better help you. The second thing are the risk factors that are associated with whiplash-type injuries or car accidents. Were you caught completely by surprise? People who see an accident about to happen, they're able to brace down and that contraction of muscles actually protects their spine and the ligaments around their spine from a lot of damage. If you're caught by surprise, you're at a way higher risk factor as far as having long-term complications. So if you're in that category where you were caught off guard, you had no idea the accident was happening and bam you get hit.
Then you're definitely gonna need to come back here to number one and say, "The first 30 days after an accident are vital for me getting better." You need to be getting seen. So what we like to do in my office when we start our patients off, obviously, we do a consultation and examination, we do digital x-rays to better understand what's going on with your spine, so that we can document your injuries. And then we're usually starting our patients off with a chiropractic care plan and even a massage care plan, 'cause in that first 30 to 60 days, our goal is to keep motion in that spine to get that soft tissue to heal properly without scar tissue forming, that's the first 30 to 60 days, typically with our patients. Number four is the danger of NSAIDS, these are non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibuprofen. Now, a lot of people say, "I started taking Ibuprofen, I feel better.
That's great. Obviously, nobody wants to be a nine or 10 out of 10 pain, but these anti-inflammatories also have side effects, most people aren't aware of. This actually decreases collagen synthesis in your body. Collagen is the connective tissue your body uses to heal from these injuries. It can slow down your body's ability to produce collagen. That's not good if you're trying to heal soft tissue. They have done studies on the use of NSAIDS in whiplash and spinal trauma, and they found that this can actually double the healing time of soft tissue. So if you're trying to get better, we really wanna minimize or try our best to eliminate the use of NSAIDS as part of your care plan, because we know that this slows down collagen synthesis, which makes it harder for you to heal and it can double your healing time. The other effect that these drugs have is that you're not aware of the pain, and when you have the pain, it will limit certain motions that your body is saying, "Hey, we're not ready for that right now. Don't do that." People start taking Ibuprofen and they think, "Oh, I'm better." They start moving a ton and they could make their injury worse because they're not aware of the pain. So we try to encourage our patients.
Nobody's perfect, obviously, if you're in nine, 10 out of 10 pain, we get it, we understand, but we are always trying as soon as we can to get away from medications that mask the symptoms, all they're doing is masking the symptoms. They're not helping your body heal. So just remember that when you're dealing with the NSAIDS following a car accident, if you have neck pain, headaches, mid-back back pain or low back pain, this is something people need to be aware of. And the fifth thing that we like to do when patients are getting better, they're stable, they're improving, we've got them to now where we can introduce exercise in rehab, 'cause if you have a whiplash, where head gets whipped back and forth, these muscles get damaged and they also kinda shut down.
They don't function quite as well as they used to after those kinds of injuries. So number one thing we do chiropractic massage, let's get the tissue to heal, but when you're ready, we wanna start introducing some rehabilitative exercises. We wanna strengthen these muscles again. Think about it, if you broke your arm and you were in a cast or a sling like this for four to six weeks and it wasn't working when that comes out, those muscles probably have atrophy and you need to build that strength back up in that muscle, your neck is no different. When you're in a whiplash injury and it's harder to move and you're not using them quite like you used to, we need to strengthen those muscles after we get that soft tissue to heal better. So hopefully this video helps you understand what you need to do after a car accident, why it's so crucial to get in immediately following care, so we can get that started on that injury and start getting you back on the road to health.
I'm Dr. Aaron Seaton from the Chiropractic Place. If you have any questions regarding car accidents, don't hesitate to give our office a call.
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