At some point in our lives, the majority of us will be involved in an auto accident. When it happens, your mind immediately begins racing with so many thoughts that you become overwhelmed. You eventually get out of the car to deal with the other driver, investigating police officers, witnesses, insurance companies, tow trucks and the list continues.
Throughout the initial few hours, the last thing on your mind is your health and well-being. However, within a day or so, you began feeling some soreness and stiffness. Within a few days, you really start feeling your injuries. Now, what do you do?
The biggest mistake made by crash victims is getting delayed treatment or failing to see a doctor after the accident. It seems as though we are always more interested in fixing our vehicles rather than fixing ourselves.
It is time that you prepare yourself in the event that you are involved in an accident.
Vehicle Impacts Cause Damages. Motor vehicle accidents involve rapid changes in acceleration and deceleration. Such rapid changes in speed and direction will usually cause neck injuries such as hyperextension or hyperflexion which can result in neck sprain or strain. A common term for these neck injuries is whiplash. Whiplash can lead to headaches, depression, anxiety, TMJ, jaw pain, migraines, etc. In addition to neck pain, back pain is commonly associated with car accidents. Back pain can lead to radiating pain to other areas of the body and cause lead to more serious injuries, if not treated properly.
Regardless of your injuries, it is important to see a doctor who can recommend an appropriate treatment plan. The doctor will conduct a complete physical examination and advise you of whether or not the accident caused injuries that require medical care.
You may not Know that you are Injured. Immediately following an accident, the body secrets extraordinary levels of endorphins and adrenaline that essentially block out the pain caused by the accident. In such stressful situations, your brain goes into fight or flight mode and effectively prevents your brain from determining what is going on at the site of injury. You will eventually feel these injuries when your body feels “safe” again. This could take days, weeks, months, or years. In that delayed time period, you have lost the window of opportunity to effectively heal your injuries and mitigate your damages.
That is why you need an experienced doctor who can diagnose and document those injuries with proper testing and a full examination.
Aggravation of Pre-Existing Injuries. In some instances, you may not have new injuries from the accident, but you may have an aggravation of a pre-existing injury. Only an experienced doctor can help to identify the extent of the aggravation. For example, you may already be suffering from back pain caused by routine daily activities. After your accident, your back pain can grow in intensity and severity. A doctor who has experience in working with personal injury patients will be able to document the level of pain pre-accident versus the level of pain post-accident. The difference in pain is a damage owed to you by the person who caused your accident.
Proper Medical Documentation. When filing a claim with the insurance company, one of the first questions asked is “Well, if you were injured, then why did you not go to a doctor?” It’s very important to go to a doctor who can properly document your injuries and provide such proof to the insurance company. Just as an insurance company wants to see a property damage appraisal before paying you for your car damages, they also want to see medical records for your bodily injuries before compensating you for your injuries.
Preservation of Health. You need to be healthy and in good condition, naturally. Motor vehicle accidents are extreme disruptors on your health and well-being. Our bodies were not meant to deal with the type of force felt in a collision of this nature. Even low speed accidents can cause some serious injuries.
Car accidents can cause a number of different types of injuries, including neck pain, back pain, disc injuries, concussions, or a number of other problems. If these problems go undetected and untreated, then your body could remain in a weakened state and be susceptible to other injuries. Even when you feel that your injuries are minor, or that you may not have an injury, you need to have the expert opinion of a doctor who can ensure that you are truly healthy and that there are no issues from the accident that will start to present themselves later.
An Effective Treatment Plan. You will need a safe and effective treatment plan to help resolve any injuries you sustained in an accident. After a thorough examination, your treatment plan will include any number of options from passive therapies such as hot/cold packs, Russian stim, TENS therapy; or from active therapies such as stretching exercises, chiropractic adjustments, ELDOA exercises, etc. If necessary, you may also be asked to undergo further diagnostic studies such as a CAT scan, an MRI, or PET scan.
It’s Always Better to be Safe Than Sorry. I have heard several patients say that they do not want to be labeled as “someone who sues after an accident”. Sadly, these are the same patients who come to me years after their accidents with unexplained pain and ailments. Rather than worrying about being labeled, crash victims should worry about making sure their health is intact. After an accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry: get checked for all visible injuries and for all unseen injuries by a competent and experienced doctor.
At Integrated Spine & Disc, Dr. Paul J. Gordon, DC, and his staff provide crash victims with the best chance at healing after an accident. They work hard for the injured, and they understand that your unavoidable injuries require justifiable healthcare.
To learn more about possible injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident, please visit our educational video library here.