Category Archives: Car Accident Information Orange County

Treatment for Whiplash From Car Accident

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Treatment for Whiplash From Car Accident

treatment for whiplash from car accident

Car accidents are very common. Whiplash injuries from car accidents are also quite common, yet treatment quality and effectiveness varies greatly. Here’s an overview of ideal treatment for whiplash injuries.

Best Treatment for Whiplash From Car Accident

First, it is undisputed in the medical and scientific literature that the best treatment for whiplash from car accidents is Chiropractic care. No other type of doctor is as well trained in the workings of the spine than a chiropractor and no other treatment can rival the effectiveness as chiropractic for this condition.

But all chiropractors are the same right? I can just pick the closest one to home or my office, right?

Wrong.

Just like medical doctors, doctors of chiropractic have specializations. Your family doctor will probably refer you to a dermatologist if they see a suspicious mole or an oncologist if you have cancer. Same to for chiropractors. A general family chiropractor may be just fine treating everyday aches and pains, but when it comes to accident cases, they may lack the knowledge to accurately diagnose and document your injuries and then provide a treatment plan that passes muster with not only insurance companies, but with courts of law as well. There are chiropractors who have specific specialization training in car accident injuries. These doctors study not only injuries to your body, but also crash dynamics, biomechanics and have a good understanding of the legal requirements of documentation of cause of injury and impairments. A specialist will also have a team of other specialists to consult with to insure you have the best care possible for your traumatic injuries.

Treatment for Whiplash From Car Accident

During the first days and up to a month after a car accident, treatments such as heat, ice, electrical therapy, cold laser, gentle massage and stretching, range of motion exercises and chiropractic spinal adjustments are given to begin the healing process by decreasing inflammation, spasm and pain. This treatment is frequent, 3-5 times per week, to get pain relief quickly. If pain persists too long, it can lead to neuro-chemical changes that can prolong recovery. At home care is often given to maintain/improve spinal motion and stretch tight muscles. High energy or strenuous exercises, recreational and work activities should be avoided during this phase of whiplash treatment.

After pain, spasm and inflammation have subsided to a tolerable level, active treatment commences. Active, resistance exercises of the spine are performed to improve strength, traction and spinal molding may be used to restore spinal alignment, deep tissue massage and muscle therapy may be used to rid the muscles of scar tissue knots and chiropractic adjustments are given to maximize spinal movement and function. Treatment frequency during this phase is typically declining from 3 times per week to 2, then 1. During this time you will be given specific active exercises to perform at home daily to aid in your recovery and you will probably gradually return to pre-injury recreational and work activities under your doctor’s supervision.

How Can I Make My Whiplash Treatment More Effective?

Your car accident specialist knows how to get you well, so follow instructions. When he/she says rest, you rest. When you are told to do exercises, do them. If you are instructed to do exercise only once a day, do not do them 2 or 3 times. Drink lots of water. Water flushes out the debris left behind by your body rebuilding itself. For an average adult, 5 bottles of water per day is a good goal. If your doctor tells you to take certain nutritional supplements, take them. Injuries heal better when key nutrients are abundantly available in your blood stream. Lastly, get extra sleep. Sleep is a time for your body to rebuild, recover and reboot itself. When you are injured, your body requires extra sleep to deal with the extra energy demands of repairing traumatic injuries.

This is a general plan of treatment for whiplash from a car accident. Each patient is an individual and no two injuries are the same, therefore each patient will have a personalized care plan designed to address their specific injuries.

Car Accident and Need Treatment? Call (714) 938-0575 for an appointment with Car Accident Doctor Barry Marks, Chiropractor and leading Orange County expert in car accident injuries

How to Know if You Have Whiplash?

How to Know if You Have Whiplash

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How to Know if You Have Whiplash

how to know if you have whiplash

Been in an accident and not sure if you have whiplash? Here are tips from a car accident whiplash expert on how to find out.

Car Accident Whiplash Injuries

“Whiplash” is the general term used for a neck injury caused by a car accident. It was first used to denote the “whipping” motion of the head and neck during a collision. As science advanced, the mechanism of injury became more clear and precise and doctors moved away from using the term. But because it is a word ingrained within our culture, doctors are trending towards using the term again.

A car accident can injure any part of your body. Injuries are caused by energy that is transmitted from one vehicle into another. As cars collide, energy is dissipated by crunching of plastic and metal, sound, heat and even light energy. After all this energy is bled off, some may remain. This residual energy is what causes an injury. The more residual energy in a collision, the more likely you are to be injured and more severe it may be. Most auto accident injuries are suffered in low to moderate speed collisions in which the amount of vehicle damage is fairly low so less energy is dissipated by the vehicles and more energy is experienced by the occupants.

Symptoms of a Car Accident Whiplash Injury

Symptoms may come on immediately or may take some time to emerge, these are the most common symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Fuzzy headed feeling
  • Sleepiness
  • Irritability, anger
  • Neck stiffness
  • Neck soreness
  • Pain on movement
  • Clunking or crackling sounds on moving neck
  • Upper and middle back pain
  • Pain stabbing into shoulder blade on neck movement
  • Low back pain
  • Buttocks pain
  • Shoulder, arm, wrist or hand pain
  • Numbness and tingling into arms and hands
  • Hip, knee, leg or foot pains
  • Numbness and tingling into the legs and feet

How to Know if You Have Whiplash

Symptoms may be subtle and slowly ramp up over a period of days or even weeks making some people question whether they are hurt from the accident or some other cause. The best way is to take an objective, rational inventory of the situation and how you feel. Many people want to minimize the situation because nobody really wants to think of themselves as injured. Untreated injuries account for prolonged suffering later, so it’s best to be honest with yourself and try to determine if you have symptoms related to the accident. In general, symptoms are not a good indicator of severity of injury. You may have moderate injuries, but only experience mild pain and you may have sever pain, but only mild injuries. The key is that any symptoms following a collision indicates injury of some degree.

You may want to ask yourself these questions:

  • How do I feel overall compared to just prior to the accident? Are my eating, sleeping, energy levels any different?
  • How does my head, neck, back, arms and legs (any area that feels some soreness) feel compared to just prior to the accident?
  • Are my thinking, reading, speaking, balance, coordination and emotions different than prior to the accident?
  • Are there any activities like washing hair, bathing, dressing, household chores, child care, recreation or work, that cause discomfort, make me change the way I do them or that I avoid since the accident?
  • If you already had pain before your accident, did it change after the accident? Does it hurt more intensely or more often, has the nature changed from dull ache to sharp, does your pain now interfere with activities that you could do before? In other words, if you felt one way prior to the accident and after you feel different, that is a sign that you may have suffered an aggravation of a pre-existing injury from your car accident.

Consult with a Car Accident Doctor Specializing in Whiplash

Once you’ve taken an inventory of how you feel, the next step is to seek an evaluation with a doctor who specializes in these types of injuries. General doctors lack the training and experience to identify many car accident injuries. Less obvious signs will be missed and even more serious injuries such as concussions and damaged ligaments are often overlooked by family medical physicians and general chiropractors. And when it comes to proper treatment, these doctors often prescribe treatments that are lacking.

How a Specialist Will Know if You Have Whiplash

A doctor specially trained in the diagnosis and treatment of car accident injuries will be able to objectively and systematically locate any injuries and determine if they are caused by the accident.

The doctor will review your complaints, the specifics of the accident, your past history and have you complete specific standard medical questionnaires for each symptoms or area of injury. With this information the doctor will be able to assess whether it is possible or likely for an injury to occur.

You will then undergo a physical examination involving your spinal nerve system, your brain, your bones, joints and muscles and a specific chiropractic analysis of spinal alignment and function.

In most cases imaging such as x-rays will be requested that will be able to tell the doctor what degree of injury has been suffered and if there are any pre-existing problems such as arthritis or spinal anomalies that may complicate your injury. Under some circumstances you may be referred out for a CT scan or MRI as well.

Once all of this information is gathered, your car accident specialist doctor will then compile it to document whether an injury has occurred, if it is due to the accident in question, the severity of the injuries, what treatments are available and appropriate for your specific condition and what the long term outlook for recovery is.

After your injuries are located and documented, the next step is a plan for treatment for whiplash from car accident.

Recently Suffered a Car Accident? You Need to Be Evaluated by a True Whiplash Expert. Call (714) 938-0575 for an Appointment with Dr Barry Marks, Car Accident Chiropractor in Orange County Since 1986.

Pain After Car Accident Delayed?

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Pain After Car Accident Delayed?

pain after car accident delayed

Can There Be a Delay in Car Accident Symptoms and What to do About Late Appearing Car Accident Injuries?

The typical scenario after a car accident is to feel neck or back soreness and tightness, headaches and other symptoms within a day or two of the accident. However, not all injuries show up so soon. The medical literature points out that a delay in symptoms of days, weeks and even months can occur.

What Causes a Delay in Symptoms After a Car Accident?
There are a couple of factors at play that may contribute to a delayed onset.

Initial Shock

There is an initial “shock” response you suffer after an accident in which your body releases endorphins which numbs your senses. This may last 1-2 days after a trauma masking your injuries.

Minimizing Behaviors

Willful disbelief can occur in which due to a collision that does not appear to be “that bad” because vehicle damage is low, or the impact was perceived to be a slow speed, you simply cannot believe you could be hurt and therefore minimize your pain or blame it on “sleeping wrong,” exercise or “coming down with the flu.” It isn’t until the pain persists and is undeniable that you allow yourself to accept and experience the pain and seek attention.

Similarly, if you suffer relatively mild symptoms, you may put off seeing a doctor until weeks or months later when you realize it just isn’t going away. By the time you report it, an inexperienced doctor may write in your file that is was a delayed onset when in fact it presented right away, you just delayed treatment.

Multiple Injuries

Multiple injured areas with high intensity levels of pain may mask other, lesser, injured areas. Your brain can only keep track of so many injuries and give priorities to the ones that cause the most immediate pain. Therefore you could have a neck injury that shoots severe pain down your arm that masks the fact that your knee is mildly injured. As your neck and arm pain begin to subside, your brain now allows you to “feel” the knee pain. You may believe it just started, but the injury could have been there all along unknown to you.

Gradual Progressing Injuries

Some injuries are like a slowly deflating tire. Car accident injuries to the discs between your spinal bones can occur, but take a while to show up. The outer fibers of the disc become torn or cracked which may not initially be painful, but in time inflammation increases and symptoms appear. Additionally, the inner gel like substance of your disc can slowly begin migrating through the cracks in the outer fibers until it reaches the nerves and causes pain. Like air gradually escaping a tire, the disc slowly malfunctions leaking pressure and gel until it is noticeable.

“Dashboard knee” is another commonly delayed injury. Your knee may fly up and strike the dashboard on impact. The force crushes the cartilage underneath the knee cap, but not cause immediate symptoms. After a couple of weeks inflammation eventually causes you to feel the pain. In other cases, the inflammation never reached a noticeable level, but because of the injury the cartilage begins trio break down and deteriorate and then you feel it. This could take several months to occur.

What to Do About Pain Delayed After a Car Accident?

It’s vital to report all symptoms and changes in symptoms to your doctor. Do not assume a slight change or little ache or pain is irrelevant, sometimes they are, but sometimes they are a clue to an injury that was previously hidden. An experienced car accident doctor will understand this and be able to determine if it is related to the accident or not.

If you’ve struck your head, elbow or knee in the collision, report it to the doctor even if they do not hurt, as these are common places to show a delayed injury.

Late appearing car accident injuries are not uncommon. There are many reasons for them and they may confuse you and insurance companies into thinking they are not related to your collision. A true car accident specialist doctor will know how to decide if they are related and plan appropriately for treatment.

It is Always Best to Be Evaluated by a Doctor Specializing in Car Accident Injuries as Soon as Possible After a Car Accident. Hidden Injuries May Be Found and Treated before They Become a Problem. Orange County Car Accident Doctor Barry Marks, DC Serving OC Car Accident Injury Specialist Since 1986.

Call for an Evaluation Today (714) 938-0575

What is a Sprain?

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What is a sprain?

neck sprain torn ligaments

Practically everyone at one time or another has suffered a “sprain,” but while it is a common problem, most people do not understand exactly what it is.

The casual use of the word “sprain’ adds to the confusion. Additionally, because the word is often incorrectly used, the severity and long-term consequences of these injuries are often minimized. If you’ve been unlucky enough to be injured in a car accident, you may hear the opposing insurance company say things like “it’s just a sprain” or “just a soft tissue injury” it’s not a serious injury. You may have also heard someone say these injuries heal by themselves rather quickly with no consequences.

To make a sprain injury more understandable, let’s take a look at what a sprain actually is from a medical standpoint.

If you were to search on the internet the term “sprain” you will likely see this definition:

To sprain is to wrench or twist the ligaments of (an ankle, wrist, or other joint) violently so as to cause pain and swelling but not dislocation.

or

A sprain is the result of a wrench or twist of the ligaments of a joint.

This definition is incomplete. It does show that a sprain has a traumatic cause, which is true and it also states that it is an injury to a ligament, also true. What it doesn’t describe is the actual medical, anatomical injury and that is very important in understanding this type of “soft tissue” injury.

Compare the above definition with the definition from the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons.1

Sprains

A sprain is a stretch and/or tear of a ligament, a strong band of connective tissue that connect the end of one bone with another. Ligaments stabilize and support the body’s joints. For example, ligaments in the knee connect the thighbone with the shinbone, enabling people to walk and run.

A sprained knee can be the result of a sudden twist, and a wrist sprain can occur when falling on an outstretched hand.

Sprains are classified by severity:

Grade 1 sprain (mild): Slight stretching and some damage to the fibers (fibrils) of the ligament.

Grade 2 sprain (moderate): Partial tearing of the ligament. There is abnormal looseness (laxity) in the joint when it is moved in certain ways.

Grade 3 sprain (severe): Complete tear of the ligament. This causes significant instability and makes the joint nonfunctional.

So as you can see the more precise definition is a traumatic jerking or twist of a joint that results in “overstretching” of a ligament that causes damage, tearing of the fibers of the ligament. The severity of the sprain depends on how many fibers are torn. The reason this is important is because, especially in a medical-legal scenario, automobile insurance adjusters often claim a “sprain” in the spine is just an “injured” or “damaged” ligament and not an actual “torn” ligament. They classify this as only a “soft tissue injury.”

ligament sprain gradesA sprain is a torn ligament

You now know the truth, that a sprain is in fact a “torn” ligament to some degree. A Grade 1 sprain basically heals with little treatment over a period of weeks and leads to no discernible instability. A Grade 2 takes much longer to heal, months in fact, and NEVER returns to the same strength or elasticity as before because enough fibers have been torn to permanently affect the function of the ligament. It is a serious injury. A Grade 3 sprain is a very serious injury that involves a complete tear of the ligament and the joint is rendered totally nonfunctional and requires surgical repair.

Why are sprains serious?

Remember the function of a ligament is to hold a joint together. If the ligament loses its strength and elasticity it cannot properly hold the joint together. It’s similar to the elastic in your socks; once its stretched too far, your socks will never stay up. When this happens, the joint malfunctions and osteoarthritis sets in within 5 years. In the spine it is especially problematic because excessive motion of the vertebral bones in the spine can lead to damage to nerves. If the instability is severe enough, it is classified as a very high degree of permanent impairment.

How do I know what Grade of sprain I have?

If you twist an ankle, and you experience only mild pain on walking and there is only slight swelling and no bruising in the area in the next 24 hours, you have a Grade 1 sprain. Let’s say in the same injury you have difficulty walking and notice more swelling that obscures part of your ankle bone and you notice bruising in the area within 24 hours, you likely have a Grade 2 sprain. A Grade 3 sprain will be very painful, enough to totally prevent walking and the ankle may seem very loose and or make popping or cracking noises. Swelling will be severe and much bruising will be seen.

What about a sprain in the spine?

Spraining ligaments in your spine requires a high amount of stress on the ligaments. Car accidents and high intensity sports injuries are the most common causes. Because the ligaments are deep, you will not see swelling or bruising. An MRI can sometimes show larger tears in a spinal ligament, but not always. Additionally, an MRI is a static test, meaning the patient is lying still and not moving so you have no idea if any function is altered. You cannot see joint laxity or instability on a static MRI.

The best method for determining ligament damage in the spine is not by “seeing” the actual damaged ligaments, but by seeing the evidence of abnormal function due to ligament tearing.2 Remember a Grade 2 or 3 ligament sprain will allow for excessive movement in the joints. This can be viewed on motion or stress x-rays. In the spine x-rays are taken from the side in the neutral position, then with head flexed forward and again with the head extended backward for the neck or bending forward and back at the waist for the lower back. The spinal bones are then analyzed as they move to see if excessive motion exists. The amount of excess movement is measured and compared to a normal value. Bones that move too far are due to ligaments being “torn” to some degree and unable to hold the bones together properly. A Grade 2 sprain will show up as unstable motion on a bending x-ray, a Grade I will not. A Grade 3 would show extreme instability, enough to require surgery immediately. Grade 1 sprains often have very mild symptoms, so these victims often do not seek medical attention. Grade 2 sprains occur in around half of rear impact car accident cases, while Grade 3’s are not nearly as common.

To recap, a sprain is a traumatic injury to a ligament in which the ligament is overly stretched. The severity of the sprain depends on how much of the ligament fibers are torn. A Grade 1 sprain is an overstretching with very little tearing, a Grade 2 is a partial tearing of the ligament and causes instability of the joint. A Grade 3 is a complete tear that results in total loss of joint integrity and requires surgery. Grade 2 & 3 sprains are common and serious injuries after a car accident that can be documented on “stress x-rays.”

 

References:

American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons http://orthoinfo.aaos.org/topic.cfm?topic=a00111

Brownstein SP, Jefferey Cronk DC, Joseph Cioffi BA. Evaluation of Spinal Ligamentous Injuries using Computerized X-ray Interpretation. Orthop Rheumatol Open Access J. 2015;1(1): 555551. DOI: 10.19080/OROAJ.2015.01.555551

 

Chiropractor for Whiplash

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Chiropractor for Whiplash

Chiropractors are uniquely qualified through training to diagnose and treat car accident whiplash injuries. This video gives a brief explanation of why your best chance for recovery after a car accident is to see a chiropractor.

Rather than seeing just any chiropractor, you might want to consider a chiropractor who is a recognized expert in Orange County, a doctor who since 1986 has logged hundreds of hours in post-doctorate specialty training in whiplash and brain trauma, auto accident reconstruction, orthopedics, legal aspects of personal injury and more. A doctor who has also taught other doctors and lawyers in the practice of personal injury.

Dr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Injury Expert
1745 W Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868