Being in a car accident is a very difficult situation on a number of levels. Your pain is sometimes secondary to the aftermath of having your car at the mechanic as well as the stress of dealing with your insurance and potentially missing work.
While you are in a hurry to get your car fixed and back to normal activities, make sure to see your chiropractor before you make any major decisions. There could be underlying injuries that a minor stiff neck or back is not allowing you to uncover. Automobile accidents are major events, and the trauma that comes from them could be significant.
Chiropractors are specialists in treating soft tissue injures including whiplash or sprain/strain injuries that could result from the trauma of a car accident. Make sure you see your chiropractor to get a full examination.
HOW DO CHIROPRACTORS WITH PHYSICAL THERAPY PRIVILEGES TREAT WHIPLASH?
- Physiotherapy modalities: electric muscle stimulation, ultrasound, traction, moist heat, cold packs, trigger point therapy
- Stretching and range of motion exercises
- Specific rehabilitation or strength exercises using manual resistance, exercise tubing, exercise balls, balance boards and wobble boards
- Joint mobilization or manipulation techniques
- Ergonomic and lifestyle advice
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER AN AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENT?
If you are seriously injured in an automobile accident, many people voluntarily or involuntarily go to the hospital in order to rule out life threatening injuries. Emergency room care will consist of a various treatments based on the severity of the injuries. These treatments can include a medical evaluation, x-rays, CT scans, MRIs and prescription medications such as muscle relaxants and pain medications. In most cases, once life threatening injuries have been ruled out, the patient will be discharged and be advised to follow up with a primary care physician, orthopedist or physical medicine clinic. Most emergency room discharge papers will have the diagnosis of sprain/strain or whiplash injury.
There are accidental medical benefits on most automobile policies which are called PIP (Personal Injury Protection) and MedPay (MPB) benefits. Most automobile polices in Maryland will have PIP, and most automobile policies in Virginia will have MedPay. These benefits will act as your primary insurance and will help pay your bills for injuries resulting from a motor vehicle accident. PIP and MedPay are no-fault benefits, which means than using them will NOT raise your insurance premiums. The most common amount of PIP or MedPay coverage per policy is $2500. The medical benefits of automobile policies in Washington DC will act as your secondary insurance, and your health insurance will act as your primary insurance. If you do not have PIP or MedPay and the accident was not your fault, it is a good idea to work with an attorney who specializes in automobile accidents in order to ensure that your medical bills are paid. If the accident was your fault and you do not have PIP or MedPay, health insurance can sometimes be used. If you are injured in an automobile accident, you must notify YOUR automobile insurance company (even if the accident was not your fault). Your insurance company will give you a claim number. All medical bills will then be able to be submitted to your automobile insurance. Common automobile insurance companies include (this is not a complete list):
- State Farm
- Liberty Mutual
If the accident was not your fault, it is reasonable to consider working with an attorney who specializes in automobile accidents. Attorneys who specialize in handling automobile claims can simplify the process of being in an accident, deal with the insurance companies, ensure that you receive the proper medical treatment and help negotiate a fair and reasonable settlement.
Our doctors have a great deal of experience in treating injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents and working with attorneys. In the event that you elect to obtain an attorney, our office will work with your attorney in order to provide him or her with any necessary information or paperwork as soon as possible. Our office is very familiar with the patient records and paperwork that attorneys need, and we understand the time sensitivity of certain documents. After you are discharged, all of your medical records will be mailed to your attorney’s office immediately.
Primary Care Physician or Orthopedist
If you decide to go to a primary care physician or an orthopedist after the hospital, it is common for a new medical evaluation to be performed, additional x-rays or other advanced diagnostic imaging to be ordered and changes made or refills added to your medication. It is common to be referred to a physical medicine clinic in order to begin treatment for soft tissue injuries. This is where Bezak Chiropractic and Rehabilitation can help.
Bezak Chiropractic and Physical Therapy Treatment
Treatment begins with a comprehensive evaluation and examination in order to determine specific muscle injury, ligamentous injury, range of motion deficiency, vertebral segmental dysfunction, nerve injury and other problems. X-rays may be taken at our facility if necessary. After your initial evaluation, our doctors will explain your exam findings, diagnosis, treatment plan and prognosis. A typical treatment plan involves a series of treatments at a frequency of 3 visits per week over a period of weeks. Repetitive treatments are important in order to make changes in the muscles and joints. A time commitment on the patient’s end is necessary in order to accomplish the treatment goals. Our office will provide you with any necessary paperwork for work or school in order to ensure that you keep your appointments so that you can achieve the best results. The treatment goal is to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, increase range of motion, strengthen damaged soft tissues and increase activities of daily living.
IS THE TREATMENT PAINFUL?
The initial phases of the treatment are quite relaxing. However, due to the nature of sprain/strain injuries, there is always a possibility that a patient can develop mild soreness after treatment. Any soreness experienced or lack thereof will give our doctors the best information about how to proceed with your treatment from visit to visit. Treatment for these injuries is not a “no pain no gain” strategy. If anything, slight discomfort is the most discomfort you should experience if you are receiving appropriate therapy.
INABILITY TO WORK DUE TO INJURIES:
Severe pain and discomfort is common with soft tissue injuries. In the event that you are unable to work due to your injuries, our doctors will provide the necessary documentation to excuse you from work if necessary. Short term disability forms and FMLA (Family Medical Leave Act) forms are sometimes necessary as well. If this is the case for your injury during your treatment, simply bring the paperwork to our office, and our doctors will complete the necessary paperwork. Short term disability forms and FMLA forms are time sensitive forms. If you need these forms, please make sure that you get them to us as quickly as possible. Once you bring the paperwork to our office, the forms will be completed and submitted in a timely manner.
Progress evaluations will be performed periodically (typically every 4 weeks). The purpose of the progress evaluations is to document improvements in pain, range of motion, muscle spasms, muscle strength and activities of daily living. Progress evaluations are also used in order to determine if additional therapy or a change in treatment is necessary. Additional treatment may include more of the same therapy, a change in the therapy or a referral to another medical specialist.
Due to the complex nature of soft tissue injuries, you may be referred to additional medical specialists such as an orthopedic surgeon or neurologist. Our doctors work with various medical specialists on a regular basis in order to provide additional treatment when necessary.
You will be discharged from this particular treatment at some point. There are generally three types of discharges. In most cases, patients will recover completely with no residual pain and discomfort. Sometimes, patients will be discharged with low levels of pain that will continue to improve with time and a detailed prescribed exercise program. Not as often, patients will be left with permanent or residual pain and discomfort that is unlikely to go away with time and home exercises.
Please feel free to ask our doctors any questions that you may have at any point during your treatment.
If you have been hurt in an automobile accident and would like to schedule an appointment or speak with one of our doctors prior to starting treatment, please call our office at 301-220-0496!