Car Accident and Injury Mistakes to Avoid
At the office, we see many people who have been in different types of car accidents.  It could be a rear end, head on collision or a T-bone from a side swipe.  We’ve even seen patients that were hit by a car as a pedestrian on a motorcycle or an 18 wheeler accident.  Regardless of how the collision occurred and the variety of whiplash and other injuries or pain associated with the car wreck, there are certain car accident treatment guidelines that should be followed.
Let’s start with what to do immediately following a motor vehicle accident.  First, if there is significant pain or obvious injury at the time of accident then go to the emergency room to be checked.  Any broken bones or serious medical injuries will need to be addressed immediately.  For the typical car crash victim, they will x-ray to check for broken bones and prescribe pain medication or muscle relaxers.
At home treatment starts with the ice pack.  Ice is great for reducing inflammation because it pushes blood flow and swelling away from the injury to allow damaged tissues to heal quicker.  Heat is generally a mistake at this time.  Heat will bring blood flow to the area, thus making it more difficult for the injured muscles, tendons or ligaments to heal.  So stay with ice.  Drinking lots of water to hydrate the muscles during the healing process is important to help with muscle spasms and overall neck pain and back pain.  Fatigue can set in due to the body going into overdrive using all of its energy to heal the damaged tissues and joints so rest is important at this stage of healing.
Find a chiropractor certified in personal injury with experience in treating whiplash.  Not all chiropractors are the same and some do not do very much treatment for car accident injuries.  A personal injury certified chiropractor is essential to diagnose injuries to the soft tissues and joints.  The spine needs to have proper alignment, curvatures and movement.  The shoulders, hips and other extremity joints can be checked too.  Examination procedures will include x-ray analysis, orthopedic evaluation, neurological testing and hands on feeling of the joints and muscles.  Afterwards a good treatment plan can be formed to get the patient feeling better from pain and symptoms, get them active and fully functional again and most important is to resolve the injuries now so that there are not long-lasting effects.  Your chiropractor should have a good medical referral network should the need for MRI, orthopedic, neurologic, pain management treatments need to be part of the treatment to resolve your injuries.
Many chiropractors also work together with a personal injury attorney to help you get full treatment under the auto claim so that you don’t have to pay out of pocket up front for all expenses related to your treatment.  This is where a good certified personal injury chiropractor will save you many headaches, literally and figuratively.
The worst mistake you can make after getting into an auto accident is to assume that it will be fine or just cover up the symptoms at home with Tylenol or another pill.  These will not fix the problem and could allow the injuries to get worse in the near future or cause you permanent damage later on from allowing the injury to just sit there.  This happens all too often and years down the road can be too late to effectively treat your condition.  If you have any further questions or would like to speak for a brief consultation, my door is always open to you.
In Health,
Dr. Ryan Browning