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Monday, March 12, 2012

Auto/Car Accidents and whiplash and the Necessity of Chiropractic Care

One of the most stressful events in life is dealing with the issues that occur after an auto accident. The first thing a person thinks about after the crash is the car. Most people are not aware that some injuries are not detected for months or even years. Two things result in these situations: an insurance company settles with the victim without compensating for the pain and treatment needed from these undiagnosed injuries, and the injury gets worse over time due to the lack or delay of treatment. It is absolutely imperative that anybody that is in an auto accident immediately go see a Doctor trained in soft tissue injuries. While whiplash is a common injury from auto accidents, another common complaint of crash victims is that they don’t “feel like their normal selves.” They may also experience other symptoms like dizziness, blurry vision, headaches, back pain, muscle stiffness or spasms, neck pain, numbness and tingling, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, irritability, memory loss and difficulty concentrating.
Auto accidents can also cause post-traumatic osteoarthritis. This can damage your posture (producing a slumped or hump back appearance). Osteoarthritis can also cause the discs in the spine to degenerate and create scar tissue formation leading to chronic stiffness.
According to the Insurance Research Council, nearly 1/3 of all claimants injured in motor vehicle accidents seek treatment from doctors of chiropractic. That number is astounding when combined with the fact that the National Safety Council (NSC) has determined there to be more than 12 million accidents annually involving more than 20 million vehicles.
The reason people choose chiropractic care for treatment of injuries sustained in auto accidents is simple – chiropractic care is exceptional in the treatment of soft tissue injuries, especially of the spine. Since the most common injuries associated with these events are sprains and strains of the spinal muscles and ligaments, it’s only natural that chiropractic be the treatment of choice. Chiropractors are the primary care doctors trained specifically in dealing with injuries to the spine.
Much research has also found people injured in auto accidents prefer chiropractic care for the treatment of their injuries. One such study* evaluated 190 whiplash injury victims and found those who received chiropractic care reported treatment satisfaction of 100%.
One major concern individuals that have lived through the experience of an auto accident should be aware of is most medical doctors are not trained to detect the type of soft tissue or joint injury that does not show itself immediately. It is imperative that people involved in auto accidents consult with a doctor who is trained in the biomechanics of the human body; someone who treats these injuries every day.
Often, passengers can be hurt more than a driver, especially if it is a side wreck or T-bone. Children can suffer the same injuries as adults and should be given the same care despite a feeling by the parent that a child can’t be “that injured” if no bones are broken or there is no bruising to the skin.  Put it this way:  if damage was done to a vehicle that actually bent metal, the people inside the vehicle surely absorbed that force as well.
Due to our bodies producing adrenaline at the time of an accident, this hormone acts like a natural pain killer and allows us to muster the courage to move through the impact and “take care of business”.  As mentioned above, it is often days or weeks later that the full impact of the crash is felt.  A trained doctor of chiropractic can be a brilliant source of diagnosis and treatment of soft tissue and joint injuries.
In addition, x-rays or MRI (if indicated) will be used to check for any structural damage. In our office, we routinely evaluate auto accident victims and make any appropriate referrals to other health care providers if necessary. Our primary responsibility is providing the proper care and submitting the required medical reports to the insurance company or attorney (if one is involved) so the rights of the patient are protected.
If we can’t help the patient, we will refer them to a doctor or facility that can. If you have been in an auto accident recently, there are some important decisions you have to make, and it is critical to make the first decision be to be evaluated by a doctor of chiropractic and get under care immediately.

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