After A Car Accident:
- You may be injured and not know it.
- Injuries such as whiplash may not show any symptoms for hours, days or even weeks later.
- Medical professionals agree that the first 72 hours after an accident are the most critical and the time period during which treatment can be the most effective.
- The majority of injuries from auto accidents occur at speeds of 6 – 12 mph. Your car might not show much damage, but your body might.
- A soft-tissue injury such as whiplash is permanent. Scar tissue can form in your muscles leaving them less flexible and prone to re-injury if you don’t receive proper treatment.
- If you are injured, your injuries typically will not heal on their own.
- Time is of the essence. After an accident, get prompt medical attention. If you don’t, your benefits could be denied or limited, and your level of pain increase.
- In most cases, treatment can cost you nothing out of pocket, even if the accident was your fault or you don’t have insurance.
Don’t wait. Get help immediately.
Listen To Your Body
There are 4-6 million reported crash injuries nationally each year. It is not uncommon for people involved in car accidents to not feel pain immediately. Symptoms can take as little as hours or as long as years to manifest with the most common symptoms occurring within 24-48 hours. While auto accidents may be considered routine by most medical doctors, the injury itself is never routine. However, it is sometimes overlooked by the family practitioner or emergency room doctor.
Their training and experience leads them to immediate concern for shock, possible broken bones and mending of acute abrasions. Unless your injury is readily apparent, it can get low priority in the hospital emergency room. Yet the damage is real, and can lead to lifelong pain and disability unless treated correctly and promptly.
A disproportionate number of injuries sustained in car accidents are soft tissue injuries to the lower back and neck
Whiplash is the most common injury caused in automobile accidents. Also known as neck pain, soft tissue injury, MIST (minor impact soft tissue) injury, or ligament sprain, Whiplash is an injury to the cervical spine (neck) caused by an abrupt jerking motion of the head either backward or forward. In the case of the human neck, the snap in that wrenching split second may cause long-term damage and pain if not treated correctly – and promptly.
Whiplash can also be termed a “syndrome” due to the frequent involvement with headaches, shoulder pain and interscapular (between the shoulder blades) pain. It is important to know that Whiplash can occur from even low velocity collisions. Although the majority of Whiplash injuries occur as a result of car and other motor vehicle accidents, it’s also possible to get “whiplash” from sports injuries or any injury in which your body was suddenly “jerked” forward.
Typically, patients with Whiplash Disorder are treated by gentle spinal manipulation or mobilization in the neck or mid-back. Physiotherapy modalities such as massage, trigger point therapy and therapeutic exercises and stretches can help in different stages of the healing process.
Low Back Pain
The second most common injury sustained in a car or other motor vehicle accident is minor to severe low back pain. Like whiplash, these injuries can occur at slow speed impacts. Insurance companies may try to disregard these injuries since the damage to your vehicle may be minimal. Yet again, the damage to your body is real – and permanent – unless treated correctly – and promptly.
Like the neck, low back pain may come from a number of sources: sprain/strain injuries of the muscles and ligaments supporting your back, facet joints, arthritis of the joints in your spine, degenerative disc disease, herniated or “slipped” discs, and other injuries to the spine sustained in an accident.
Low back pain can cause pain and/or numbness or tingling in other areas of your back, hips, groin, thighs, calves – even feet and toes. This is called “referred pain” (generally goes to the knees) or “radiating pain” (generally goes past the knees) if spinal nerves are involved.
Both whiplash and low back pain are challenging injuries to substantiate. Proper diagnostic testing and thorough documentation are required to properly diagnose, treat and document these injuries and substantiateapatient’s claim. Proper documentation is part of the service we provide our patients.