Crunch! Car Accident in Tallahassee? Who should you call?

If you've visited your medical 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 structural cause of your auto accident injuries. 

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

Chiropractor's can help.  In just an instant, a car 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. (1)  Many people think their neck or back soreness will go away but after a car wreck your body releases chemicals, which block the pain.  For many people, 3-5 weeks later the actual bodily injuries become apparent .  However, If you have auto insurance in Florida, you have to be examined by a chiropractor or medical doctor within two weeks of your accident in order to access your personal injury protection insurance and receive treatment.

Whiplash from a car crash 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 mis-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)

Auto Accident Injury Treatments

I1) 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 30 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)

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posted by Dr. Eric Pragle, LMT, DC