This information is intended to inform you and help you make decisions for your health care needs following the trauma you have received during your automobile collision. The information is based upon scientific research in the field of spinal trauma, collision reconstruction, whiplash injuries, chiropractic care and rehabilitation. We hope that you can make the appropriate actions for your treatment needs based upon this information. If you have any questions about this information or would like to have a consultation with one of our doctors, please feel free to contact us at 503-981-4591.
How your injuries occur in an auto collision.
According to Newton's laws of physics, your body will stay at rest until acted upon by another object. If you are stopped at a light and a vehicle strikes you from behind, you are forced into motion. Also, if your body is in motion, it will stay in motion until acted upon by another object. If you are driving along and someone pulls out in front of you and you hit them, you will be forced to stop or slow down very quickly. Both of these cause a rapid change of your body position which often results in tears of your soft tissues. Soft tissues are your muscles, your ligaments (which stabilize joints) and your nerves.
One of the primary areas injured in a car crash is your neck. Nearly one third of all motor vehicle accidents are rear-end collisions. This is the type of accident that is responsible for most whiplash injuries. If the driver of the front car is relaxed and unaware, then when the cars collide the energy of the moving car is transferred to the front car and propels it forward. The back of the car seat goes with the car and pushes into the drivers back. However, the drivers head will stay in the same place until the neck pulls it forward with the body. It is during this time that the soft tissues tear causing the injuries. This is true in other parts of the body as well.
Why everyone in the accident should be examined immediately.
It is important that anyone involved in the crash gets examined within the first week, even if they feel fine. This will allow the physician to determine if injuries were sustained, the severity of any injuries and the appropriate course of action to influence the healing process properly. In the even you are not injured, then the normal examination becomes invaluable in the event you are ever injured in the future. Scientific research notes that chiropractic care is one of the most cost-effective and beneficial treatment choices for whiplash and other collision injuries. In addition, research also notes that the longer you go without proper care, the more difficult it is for you and the doctor to return you to a pre-accident status.
1 out of 10 people will be involved in an auto accident this year.
Over 20% of all accidents lead to SERIOUS and long term injuries.
Another 15% require immediate care to prevent the need for long term care.
An amazing 30% do not ever seek medical treatment.
Too often, people involved in low speed collisions (fender benders) do not take the possibility of injury seriously. More than 80% of all car crashes occur at speeds less than 10 MPH. Fatalities involving non-belted occupants of cars have been recorded at as low as 12 MPH. That is about how fast you would drive in a parking lot.
By being examined early, you can begin treatment early. Proper treatment will allow the body to reduce the swelling associated with injury, increase circulation to the injured tissues for quicker healing, and minimizing the formation of scar tissues which can cause long term consequences. Without a proper evaluation initially, many important soft tissue injuries may be missed and allowed to heal incorrectly.
The Evaluation from the Emergency Room May Have Missed Serious Injuries.
When you go to the emergency room or other type of physician that is not specialized in these types of injuries, many times the evaluation is brief and the treatment is simply rest, maybe some medication for pain and swelling and possibly a collar around your neck to prevent your neck from moving. The doctors of the emergency room are looking for things that are life threatening (breathing, bleeding, broken bones). If you appear to be alive with no need for support, they believe you will be fine in a couple of weeks. The truth is: just because your soft tissue injuries are not life threatening, they may be quality of life threatening. Unless you have a broken neck or severe instability, placing you in a cervical collar prevents the motion necessary for proper and quicker healing and forces your muscle to decrease in size and strength at 1.5% per day. This can prolong the intensity of the injuries and causes more severe impairments in both strength and motion.
How Chiropractic Can Be More Beneficial Than Medicine
Although medical physicians have a definite place in the health care of this country, their education may not support them as the expert or specialist in the field of automobile accidents. On the other hand, Doctors of Chiropractic have the most extensive background and education on conditions involving the neuromusculoskeletal (NMS) system. The term neuromusculoskeletal basically refers to your nervous system, your muscular system, and your skeletal system (joints). These are the primary sources of injury involved in automobile collisions, as well as most other common accidents. The following is a comparison from the chiropractic college and medical college in Oregon of class room hours that educate areas of common injuries. .
Class Chiropractic Hours Medical Hours
Anatomy 288 190
Neuroanatomy 96 84
Histology (soft tissues) 44 84
NMS Diagnosis 276 158
X-ray 376 24
Total Class Room Hours 3,768 2,465
In addition, the doctors of Northwood Health Center continually study the specific mechanisms for injuries in automobile collisions, the most beneficial treatment protocols necessary to return you to a pre-accident status, the long term effects associated with these injuries and many other post-graduate classes designed to assist us in helping you with your care.
Pain is a Poor Indicator of Injury Severity.
Most people involved in an automobile collision experiences pain in one way or another. Sometimes it is severe and prevents you from doing anything. But many times the pain is mild and does not necessarily affect your lifestyle. It is in this case that people place themselves in danger of causing potential long term problems as a result of missed injuries.
Some studies found that symptoms from accident injuries can be delayed days, even months down the road. Headaches, neck pain, arm pain, etc. can all be minimal at the onset of injury. Only to be exacerbated with the increased stress of occupational duties, activities of daily living, and/or the secondary affects of the healing process. During the healing process, your torn tissues will heal with a scar. This scar will cause the damaged tissues to become less flexible, weaker, and more sensitive. This increase in sensitivity may cause the increase in pain months later.
When you do receive care for your injuries, even immediately, the pain is not the measure of recovery. Although pain may be the primary goal initially, the functions of the body consisting of motion, strength, endurance and ability to withstand stress are also areas of extreme importance and need to be addressed. When your pain goes away, many times your functions are still significantly limited.
Pain is not a reason to start or stop treatment. Pain is merely an effect of something damaged or incorrect in your body. We utilize and share the findings of your evaluations to determine your treatment needs, initially and throughout your treatment program.
Aspirin and Drugs Do NOT Heal Your Injuries.
Although there are times when symptoms and pain are so severe that it takes medication to allow you to maintain your sanity, do not mistake their role as pain relievers with an ability to heal you. In fact, many times the numbing affect medication has on your body will mask the presence of more serious injuries.
The longer you wait to have the cause of your pain evaluated, the more serious it will be when it is found. In addition, the longer you wait, the more difficult it will be to effectively treat your injuries which are causing your symptoms. Sometimes we see patients that have waited too long, and there is nothing left that we can do for them. There is nothing left for anyone to do but provide them a lifetime of taking drugs to mask the pain that is inevitable in their future.
However, all of this can be avoided by getting an early examination after your accident and following the treatment plan scheduled by your doctors.
Auto Insurance Covers Chiropractic Care.
Many health insurance policies require the referral from your general practitioner to see a specialist. Under your auto insurance, you do not need a referral to see a chiropractor. A common practice made by insurance company personnel is to inform you over the phone that you can not see a chiropractor for your accident without a referral. This is not true. The current laws in the State of Oregon allow the freedom for you to choose your health care provider under the Personal Injury Protection act.
Under your auto insurance, if you are involved in an accident, your policy states they must pay for all services which are considered reasonable and necessary within two years of the accident. We will not recommend any treatment that we do not feel is reasonable, necessary and directly related to your car crash. Our services are supported by research studies and text books on automobile accident injuries and can be proven to be reasonable and necessary which allow them to be covered by your policy.
Chiropractic Treatment is Very Effective For Post-Traumatic Injuries.
The doctors of Northwood Health Center will evaluate your injuries very specifically with appropriate examinations and x-rays if necessary. After thoroughly studying your findings, we will go over everything with you regarding your injuries and what we feel is the best course of treatment for you.
The chiropractic treatment at Northwood Health Center includes more than many offices. In addition to the very beneficial chiropractic adjustments which address the positioning and mobility of your spine and its soft tissues, we will provide complete physical rehabilitation if necessary that may include weights and pool therapy. In this age of waiting weeks to be seen by a doctor, it is nice to know we have the ability to refer within our office for massage, acupuncture, naturopathy and psychology without the common wait from other facilities.
Studies recommend an active approach to your health care needs even after trauma. Our treatment methods address the specific needs of your damaged tissues by assisting their healing process. This allows the overall health of the tissues to be more functional, similar to tissues that were never damaged.
And by re-evaluating your injuries regularly, we will know when treatment goals have been met or when to stop treatment. By knowing the changes in your condition on a regular basis we can customize your program as your needs change. Whether that means we add rehabilitation, or decrease a frequency of visits, we will know what is necessary. There is no guessing at Northwood Health Center.
If you have been involved in a car crash, it is important to get an evaluation done by a trained chiropractor who understands car crash mechanisms and injuries.