Accidents – What You Need to Know

Most of us have been there. You stop at a light and then it happens – a jolt from out of nowhere and bam. You have just been rear-ended. Shocked, excited and upset, you get out of the car to assess the damage. It’s a small fender-bender, you trade insurance information, and you’re on your way. If you think it’s no big deal, think again. Even at 10 mph, several g-forces can be exerted on your neck. This is the equivalent of getting your head kicked across two football fields in one second. I would estimate Injury At Work Employer Responsibilities that 30 percent to 50 percent of my patients have been in a motor vehicle accident and sustained injuries that were never handled properly. Most initially have a little stiffness and just go on with their lives, but if your car has sustained significant damage, chances are that your body and spine have as well. After a car accident, perhaps you go on to the emergency room. There, X-rays are taken and muscle relaxers are prescribed for the pain. The patient is released with a clean bill of health.
The medications reduce some inflammation and pain, but do not address the joint and soft tissue damage. Often the cervical curve of the neck will completely reverse within 48 hours of the trauma. This will create a forward head posture of 2-3 inches.
As a result, many patients report few symptoms but do not relate their health problems with an injury that occurred months or years ago. Some symptoms involved with even a small motor vehicle accident can be, but are not limited to depression, asthma, numbness and tingling down the arms, memory loss, confusion, allergies, headaches and migraines,:anxiety, sleep disturbances, vision problems, loss of sex drive, fibromyalgia, arthritis, carpal tunnel, dizziness, feeling nauseous, and mood changes.
The upper cervical area of the spine protects the jelly-like substance of the hind brain. It controls sleep and wake cycles, emotion states, balance, and many other functions. Small misalignments and spasms can mean serious problems in the future.
Often patients have been on medication for years, or worse, require surgery later in life for the original problem. Insurance companies know this full well and are happy to settle for several thousand dollars. Usually patients end up in my office two to ten years after the accident occurred, after unsuccessful attempts to cover up their symptoms fail. By then the damage is usually done. Joint disease cannot be undone. Chiropractors work to restore normal motion and biomechanical function, hoping this will slow down or stop degenerative disk disease and bring back health.
I have personally spoken to well over a thousand people who have experienced this scenario and are now suffering the consequences. They are shocked and dismayed that a 10 mph hit 15 years ago could be the cause of their problem. Most people are not aware that services are completely covered if they seek care within a year of the accident. Not only do they have to deal with the pain and loss of quality of life but also with the long-term management of their condition or surgery. In the end the $3,000 they were given for their trouble does little to cover the $50,000-$100,000 surgery for the neck and low back.
You don’t have to be a statistic. I recommend that all of my patients go to the hospital after an accident. This will first rule out a fracture or problem needing medical attention, and second, it will give you a foundation of documentation if needed in the future.
Next, visit a chiropractor trained in soft tissue damage. In my office we measure muscle activity with surface EMG, as well as computerized range of motion and muscle testing. This proves the exact loss of strength and range of motion which provides a baseline to be measured in the future. If symptoms persist it is also a good idea to have your doctors run a diagnostic ultrasound, NCV or MRI. If residual damage is detected several months after the accident, it can dramatically change the nature of the case. If your doctor can prove with independent testing that your disk or joint damage was caused from the accident it can change a $3,000 dollar settlement into $100,000 one. It can also lead to coverage of chiropractic or physical therapy in the future as well as other costs relating to damage caused by an accident.
So, the next time you or your teenager gets in a fender bender, get checked and have proper care What To Do After A Car Accident Your Fault management. The body doesn’t forget a lick and it might start talking when you least expect it.

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