Did you know that over three million whiplash injuries occur each year resulting from motor vehicle crashes? Of these whiplash injuries, 500,000 people will develop chronic pain, and up to 300,000 will have some degree of disability. Besides the health impacts, there’s a significant cost to society: approximately $43 billon total annually
Whiplash is a complicated issue. Many patients suffering with pain from a motor vehicle collision are told they are faking it, that they are malingering and trying to get a financial settlement. In most cases, x rays will appear normal in whiplash, so the pain must be fake, right? Well no, of course not. The injuries are very real, and leave a significant percentage of the injured population with lasting disability. Nationwide, about half of whiplash cases have lasting pain and disability.
The best way to think about whiplash injuries, is first with a mindset geared towards how to avoid them. Being aware of your surroundings, and making sure that your head rest is set properly (See the video below on that).
Most of you that know me know that my wife is an ER nurse. I routinely bring her coffee, or bring the kids by to visit. This means dealing with the Branson roundabouts, occasionally hitting both of them! Especially when you’re taking an atypical exit such as the hospital or towards the recycling center you really have to keep your wits about you to avoid an accident!!
But for recent cases of whiplash or other car crash injuries:
Research is starting to show that improvements in whiplash injuries often stall or stop improving all together after three months. Delays in treatment often equal delays in recovery. It’s very normal for pain to increase from no pain after the accident, to increasing pain the following day or even a week later.
Even minor complaints warrant a full investigation. Theses could be exacerbated later on after your case has been closed. We can almost always provide same day appointments for MVA cases. ASJC can handle all aspects of billing your insurance or working with your attorney.
Report your accident, don’t be stoic about it. All policies have state mandated Med-Pay coverage, a medical policy that covers injuries from an accident. This policy will cover up to 100% of your medical bills to a certain limit depending on your policy. Our staff is happy to contact your insurance company to determine the specifications of your policy. Some plans are better than others, and typically for just $5-10 a month more you can have better coverage in the event of injury.
Studies show that there is a poor correlation between property damage and injury. Even in accidents at as little as 5 MPH the rapid change in velocity can cause whiplash injury. The position of the head rest is critical. A low head rest can act as a fulcrum, hinging the neck over it in a rear end collision. A driver peering forwards further away from the head rest can allow more time for the head to accelerate before hitting the head rest. A head that is turned can cause motion of some spine segments to be greater; increasing the potential of whiplash injury.
Your auto insurance may say things like “with minimal property damage there is less injury” but the science of that is wrong. We are prepared to fight for your rights to treatment. Never settle with an insurance company prior to a medical evaluation.
Be more selective than going with an unsolicited call or piece of mail from an attorney wanting to represent you. This practice is fairly common for recently reported accidents. An attorney can be an EXCELLENT ally in your case. I have several that I work with that do great ethical work on their clients behalf, but these guys aren’t exactly running ads on every major sporting event or any other time I seem to turn on the TV.
In order to more effectively treat persons injured in motor vehicle crashes, I became certified in Whiplash and Brain Injury Traumatology. This was through the Spine Research Institute of San Diego (SRISD), a research center devoted to the investigation of motor vehicle crash injury. For the past 28 years, SRISD has focused on research and education of the most common injuries sustained in everyday motor vehicle crashes, such as whiplash and mild traumatic brain injuries.
As part of this training program, I became familiar with the epidemiology of whiplash and brain injuries, the mechanical factors of motor vehicle crashes, and the range of physical injuries and clinical conditions that can occur. I learned how to conduct comprehensive physical examinations and all about the latest imaging technologies such as CT, MRI, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) and others.
Documentation matters. Prior to SRISD, I was fortunate enough to previously work in an orthopedic group that exclusively handled whiplash and MVA injuries. Years of experience in clinic, and performing Independent Medical Evaluations (IMEs) in Missouri has given me a solid foundation for whiplash and MVA. Performing IME’s entails examining the patient, and reviewing their medical records, generally from other chiropractors, and most of these charts are terrible. Documenting the injury and documenting improvement, while working towards a resolution is what demonstrates medical necessity, without it your case might be dismissed. Many providers are not set up to do this correctly.
Whiplash injuries should be treated with an appropriate combination of manipulation (chiropractic adjustment), soft tissue therapy (Graston, ART, Dry Needling), and rehabilitation. The personalized combination of therapy, unique to the patient, is what the medical literature confirms is best.
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