With the tremendous amount of vehicles on the roads of our country, fender benders are bound to happen. Just look at the cost of our auto insurance premiums. Unfortunately many accidents don’t just cause the inconvenience of a fender bender. Some cause massive injuries to not only the vehicles themselves but the occupants as well.
A few years ago I read that 1 in 4 drivers will have an accident. I don’t know how accurate that statistic is today, but even if it is close to accurate it is a scary fact. How can one help themselves to prepare for the potential of an accident? And what should you do if you are involved in one?
The first and most important aspect of prevention is to pay attention. With phone calls, dvd players blaring, and text messages being written while driving, its no wonder why there are so many accidents. I once saw a driver behind me putting eye make up on (while looking in the rear view mirror), cigarette in her mouth, coffee cup in her hand, cell phone in the bend of her neck, and somehow steering the car. As soon as it was possible I let her pass me, and got safely behind her. An accident waiting to happen, wouldn’t you agree?
While that may be an extreme situation, the point is simple… focus on your driving instead of texting and other activities, and just maybe you have a fighting chance.
Do you wear your seatbelt? You should. Do you drink and drive? You shouldn’t! Some of these things seem so obvious, yet the line is crossed every day, making accidents more and more of a reality. Ok, the reality is that accidents will happen. What next?
With 28 years of active practice I have found that most auto accident victims have neck injuries. They may also have mid and lower back issues, but very few escape without neck injuries. Why is this… Mechanically, your neck is at a great positional at a disadvantage at the time of an auto accident. Even if we are complying with the law the wearing her seat belts, there is nothing to prevent drastic movement of her head and neck at the time of impact, even in low-speed collisions. The classic rear end collision is not even the most serious of whiplash is. The most serious is when you are hit from the side. Your neck does not move very far sideways as compared to forward and backward. Try moving your neck and these directions. Do you see what I mean. In lower speed impacts, the next still moves a significant amount, and while the initial symptoms may not be extremely severe, they typically come on more and more as the days pass.
So what should you do about treatment? Many years ago the typical treatment for whiplash was to wear a cervical (neck) collar, take aspirin or Motrin, and hope the pain went away. Unfortunately, in many cases, this type of treatment does not lead to satisfactory results because it reduces spinal mobility. In my experience the only time you would want to reduce spinal mobility would be in the extreme case of a fracture. So again, the question remains what should you do?
I have found that a combination of physical therapy to reduce muscle spasm and swelling, gentle chiropractic adjustments, and resistive rehabilitative activities tends to get the job done as best as I’ve seen. Over the years I have utilized each of these treatment modalities separately and in different combinations. However, the combination of these three treatment methods has given my patients the best opportunity to satisfactory results.
One last thing that I believe is very important. The sooner you receive treatment for injuries sustained in an automobile accident the better chance you have of recovering as well as the quicker your recovery time will usually be. Most of my patients and their referrals enter my office on the day they were injured. I guess over the years I’ve educated my patients to understand the critical nature of this fact.
I have put additional information on my website to help you understand, and even more details, the specific nature of auto injuries and the treatments that should be utilized. Feel free to follow the link in the resource box below to access this information. I am hopeful this will be helpful for you and your family.