We never expect to have them yet auto accidents happen to all of us. It's important to stay calm and to be sure that everyone is ok. At Eade Family Chiropractic we have profided a link to help you gather the right information during this time. http://www.calbar.ca.gov/calbar/pdfs/publications/Pamphlet_Auto-Accident_English.pdf
Understanding Auto Accidents
As a Doctor and a specialist in Biomechaics and Spinal Correction I spend time emphasizing how auto injuries can have "serious" consequences to our spines. When we think of accidents most of us tend to say oh, I'm ok there is no fractures. That couldn't be further from the truth. Most of the time there are injuries and they do worsen with time.
The classic example is a patient being involved in a car accident, reports that there is no problem except for minor stiffness. They dismiss the case. Four months later the patient has started to have worsening neck pain every morning, increased headaches and numbness in the hands. Any correlation? Absolutely. So getting checked is the most important thing that you can do. However, low speed impacts can also have long term consequences. "Acceleration depends on the force applied and the inertia of the vehicle that has been struck. The force is dependent upon the weight and the speed of the striking vehicle, so that a streetcar traveling as 3 mph can apply as much force and initate the same degree of accelertion as a compact car traveling at 40 mph.(Ian MacNab- Researcher specialist).
Common Misunderstood problems.
Too frequently in this office we have seen patients several months following an accident. The patient usually complains of neck pain. Upon careful examination and x-rays it was revealed that the accident that they swore caused no problems has now seriously compromised the integrity of their spine often times causing permanent damage. Unfortunately, insurance companies do not like "late" filing and will often times fight to not take care of injuries sustained from an motor vehicle accident.
How can you tell injuries came from the accident?
In Napa Valley I often see low speed to high speed injuries. The commonality is the amount of damage done to the ligaments that hold the spine together. Several ligaments "Posterior Longitudinal" and Anterior longitudinal ligmanets can be torn. This is quite visible on x-rays for Doctors of Chiropractic to view. Some well known radiologist may over look this as I can attest to reading radiology reports from accident victims that never mention this injury. Typically this type of injury can affect many people and the American Medical Association,http://www.ama-assn.org/ has actually applied a disabilty rating of 5-8%!
What To Do?
These type of injuries are often refered to as Whiplash injuries. A whiplash is described by a sudden rapid change in force where the head moves rapidly back and forth tearing ligaments, tendons and muscles. The other concern is that trauma to the brain can happend as well. This trauma can cause concusions and headaches. A thorough examination is always very important along with follow up to a chiropractic specialist or medical specialist.
•Ice - never use heat on an injured area. Ice for 15-20 mins followed by atleast 45 mins in between. Never ice for more than 15 mins unless directed by your Doctor.
•If you have been prescribed medications following an accident ask these questions and you suspect you may have a "mild" concusion. It is important to not take medications that may cause harm. Muscle Relaxers and pain killers can be central nervous system depressants. These medications can compromise head trauma and should be avoided. Often time ER physcians will make this mistake so please be sure check on your medication.
•Lastly but most importantly, be sure to have a complete chiropractic examination! It's one of the most important aspects to determining what may have happened.