Car Accident Injuries And Natural Treatments

In a car accident? Chiropractors and massage therapist's can help.  In just an instant, an auto accident can cause profound damage to your whole body. You do not need to be in a serious accident to sustain lasting injuries. All it takes is a fender bender at 4-10 mph to cause a whiplash injury, especially a rear end collision.  Many people think their neck or back soreness will go away but after a car crash your body releases chemicals (endorphins) which block the pain, temporarily.  For many people, 4-6 weeks later the real pains and injuries set in.  However, If you have car insurance in Florida, you have to be examined by a chiropractic physician or medical doctor within two weeks of your accident in order to receive the personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. (1)

Whiplash from a car wreck is also called neck strain or neck sprain however an examining doctor will typically diagnose the injury as cervical sprain/strain.   Whiplash injury is along the full spine but typically concentrated on the neck and lower back at the discs, intervertebral joints (between the vertebrae), ligaments ( anterior and posterior longitudinal ligaments ), cervical muscles and even the nerve roots may be damaged. (2)  

Dr. Eric Pragle performs a comprehensive exam with neurological tests, deep tendon reflexes, muscles tests, cerebellar exam (concussion or traumatic brain injury signs) and orthopedic tests focused on nerve injury and muscle weakness.  Depending on your symptoms as well as the exam findings, Dr. Eric will recommend individualized imaging or a treatment plan.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) is the gold standard for medical doctors and chiropractors alike; for identifying head and neck injuries, revealing things like (3):

  • spinal alignment- the normal lordotic cervical spine curve often becomes straight (called a military neck) which feels like the head is very heavy with the neck and shoulder muscles straining to hold it up.
  • muscle damage - swollen tendons or muscle tears; feels like deep neck soreness/pain in the front and back
  • cervical disc bulge/herniation- can cause pinched nerves resulting in arm or hand numbness/tingling
  • lumbar disc bulge/herniation - can pinch sciatic nerve which can refer pain down to the feet.
  • vertebrae fracture - rule out a possible fracture
  • Spinal Cord - normal alignment of spinal cord?  or has a vertebrae shifted (spondylolisthesis)

Dr. Pragle commonly treats patients who have a low back or neck disc herniation.  Most common symptoms or signs of a herniated disc are:

  1. Muscle weakness - affected nerves can cause weak muscles; affecting how you walk, shake hands, and your ability to open cans.
  2. Leg pain - a disc bulge in your lower back typically causes a dull constant or intense pain in the hip, back of leg, calf and even into the foot.
  3. Arm or shoulder pain - if you have a herniated disk in your neck, the pain will often be intense in the shoulder, arm and even into the hand (specifically recurring pain into certain fingers).  For both lumbar and cervical disc bulge, you may have an increase in pain upon coughing or sneezing or bending your back in a specific way.
  4. Tingling or Numbness - many people with herniated disks say they have numbness and tingling in their shoulders, arms, hips or legs often aggravated by repetitive motions at work or an odd sleeping position.(4)

If you've visited your primary care doctor, urgent care or an emergency room after your car accident, you probably received pain-killers, anti-inflammatory drugs, muscle relaxers or a steroid shot.  For a more serious car crash, you may have received imaging such as x-rays (broken bones?) or a CT scan (internal injuries).  While these may help eliminate serious traumatic injuries or temporarily relieve your pains allowing you to rest at night; they do not treat the underlying cause of whiplash, neck or back injuries. 

What are some therapeutic treatments for auto accident injuries without the risk of side effects or medication addiction?  These include chiropractic spinal adjustments, massage therapy, therapeutic exercises, and an anti-inflammatory diet.

1) See a chiropractor for spinal adjustments

Dr Eric will you help you pinpoint the precise spinal mis-alignments where the source of your pain is coming from.  If you have a vertebrae out of place in your spine, it pinches the nerves and can cause headaches, neck pain, back pain, muscles spasms, dizziness and other whiplash symptoms.  Dr. Eric practices a very unique and well researched chiropractic treatment, called the AO Treatment.  The AO Treatment, a light vibration,  has a scientific research article:  Journal of Whiplash & Related Disorders, Vol. 5(1) 2006

Resolution of Cervical Complications Secondary to Motor Vehicle Accidents by the Application of Stereotactic Cervical Alignment (SCALE) Methods: Statistical Review of 54 Patients

2) Get enough sleep and rest

Sleeping is a key ingredient for recovery especially if you've been in an accident.  Make sure your bed and pillow are comfortable before you go to bed each night.  It's real important to go to bed earlier than normal to help your body catch up on healing.  Ideal bedtime is between 9 to 10 pm each night.

3) Improving your posture

If you sit a lot during the day, make sure you get up and move around every 45 minutes, if possible.  Being mindful of how you sleep, sit in your chair or rest at home is important.  Poor postures can easily aggravate your injuries, slowing down your recovery time. (5)

Dr. Eric treats people from Tallahassee and surrounding communities including:

  • Crawfordville, FL
  • Marianna, FL
  • Madison, FL
  • Perry, FL
  • Quincy, FL
  • Havana, FL
  • Monticello, FL
  • FSU - Florida State University
  • Thomasville, GA
  • Bainbridge, GA

If you have Florida auto insurance, then when you registered your car, you must have proof of minimum insurance with 10,000 personal injury protection (PIP) and 10,000 property damage.  The PIP protection covers your auto injuries related to your car crash regardless of who was at fault.  This medical coverage includes Chiropractic Physicians in Florida. (6)