Advice From A Car Accident Chiropractor in Boca Raton
Have you been involved in an auto accident?
If you have, you may have sustained hidden injuries that you are unaware are a result of that motor vehicle accident.
As a Chiropractor practicing in Boca Raton, Florida, probably 50% of my practice is helping patients who have either been involved in an auto accident a long time ago (longer then 5 years ago), or more recent (less then 6 months ago).
Common Characteristic of Injuries From an Auto Accident:
When I do a comprehensive examination on a patient that has been involved in a recent motor vehicle accident, ultimately the most common feedback that I hear is something to the effect of “I didn’t experience immediate pain”.
Insurance companies love this.
That’s because they realize that soft tissue injuries that occur from an auto accident typically develop a couple of days after the accident, to several months after.
Obviously if the auto accident is severe enough, such as hard tissue injuries (broken bones), then immediate pain required an ambulance trip to the emergency room.
But when we experience a very stressful event (auto accidents, death of a family member, being held up at gunpoint), our body is engineered and designed to cope with that stressor.
So what happens physiologically?
Well, almost immediately after that intensely stressful event, our body first releases adrenaline. The adrenaline is the hormone that allow us to properly deal with the stressor.
- Increased Heart rate and blood pressure
- Increased Respiration
- Vasodilation of vessels to
- Increased muscle contraction
- Release of Energy into the blood stream
- Heightened sense or arousal
When this happens, you’re brain is too busy trying to access the situation to notice the whiplash or jarring of the body that occurred from the impact of the auto accident.
Other common characteristic complaints from the accident are:
- low grade headache
- nausea and/or vomiting
- stiffness into the back or neck
- confusion, disorientation, anxiety
Chances are, if you have any of these complaints immediately at the scene of the crime, you may be experience concussive like symptoms.
If so, it is vital, especially now in the State of Florida, because of new personal injury laws, to seek medical attention within the first two week of the injury. If not, then insurance companies may limit your medical coverage to zero or 1/4 of the typical $10,000 worth of coverage.
That’s why insurance companies love that your injuries may not even start till after the 2 week mandatory period to seek medical attention.
Why See a Chiropractor After Your Auto Accident?
Many of the patients that after they have been involved in a auto accident were already patient’s of my family practice. They are already aware of the benefits that chiropractic rehabilitation will have on their spines.
However, I also see patient’s who have never understood the need to see a chiropractor before the motor vehicle accident.
- Ultimately, their initial concerns are:
- Will chiropractic make my conditions worse?
- Is the treatment going to hurt?
- What is the chiropractor going to do?
- Am I going to require to go to the chiropractor forever?
- Will my insurance pay for my care
Like any physician you go to, the chiropractic physician is a primary care provider.
That means, by the powers invested in the state of florida’s department of health, a chiropractor is a portal of entry for any individual of florida.
Hence, the chiropractor conducts a thorough present medical history, past medical history, review of systems, vitals, physical examination, range of motion evaluation, orthopedic evaluation, and a complete neurological evaluation.
As well, if necessary, x-rays of the injured areas are also taken and reviewed.
When all of the above are performed, a medical decision is made as to what the patient’s diagnosis are, and more importantly, what the plan of action the chiropractor will do to help and for how long.
What Does A Chiropractor Do When You’ve Been Injured in an Auto Accident?
As mentioned early, once a diagnosis is rendered, and a medical decision is made as to the plan of action to rehabilitate the injured patient, treatment will begin.
So what exactly is the treatment?
Well, in our office, the patient is taken through a gradual care plan of passive care (what is being done to the patient) to an active care plan (what the patient is doing themselves).
The most common diagnoses after an auto accident is a “Sprain/Strain” injury.
That is, whiplash injuries or hyperflexion/hyperextension injuries, describe the mechanism of stretching muscles, tendons, ligaments, and joints too far.
When that happens, microscopic tearing of these structures occur. As a result, inflammation, edema, pain, spasms, hypertonicity, and restriction of movement accompanies the injury.
One of the most common fatal mistakes I see in any of my acute patients (patients that have the above symptoms), is the fact that they do too much too soon.
How often have you heard of someone who wakes up with a stiff neck, go to get a massage, which feels good while getting the massage, but a couple of hours later, they are 100x worse.
The body was not ready for deep penetration. Passive care means controlling inflammation, icing, and gentle passive ranges of motion.
When chiropractic care is provided in this graduated fashion, very little to no pain is accompanied with the visit.
Once edema, inflammation and edema subside, I will try to re-establish proper biomechanics in the spine.
The spine is designed in a particular way. We can turn our neck from side to side, upwards and downwards, and tilting side to side. To a lesser extent, we can do that in the middle back and lower back (to a varying degree).
With an auto accident, many of these motions are lost due to minor misalignments that occurred directly to the spine, or indirectly from the injuries to the supporting structures of the spine.
- neuromuscular re-education, which is designed to increase balance and proprioception (position sense) that ultimately creates stability to the spine
- therapeutic exercises and activities, increase the length, strength of the muscle groups themselves, or the ability to perform everyday activities.
- Manual therapy, designed to reduce muscle tension, asymmetries in muscle length, fibrous adhesion or trigger points, and muscle pain
- Spinal manipulation; a high velocity, low amplitude (very quick and shallow), impulse into a joint to help re-align and re-establish joint movement.
When you begin to release the benefits of chiropractic care for your injuries sustained in auto accident, you’ll typically feel better then you did prior to the auto accident.
At that time, I discuss with my patients releasing them from care.
However, like any preventative maintenance program (dentistry, auto mechanics, family medicine, air conditioning), you will realize that you live a happier healthier life with periodic check ups.