Category Archives: Car Accident Treatment

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?

Forward Head Posture (FHP)

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Forward Head Posture (FHP)

forward head posture headaches

 

 

forward head posture neck pain

 

forward head posture upper back pain

Headaches, Neck and Upper Back Pain?

You Might Have Forward Head Posture (FHP)...

Forward Head Posture (FHP) is very common after a car accident.  It's a postural problem where the head is too far forward of the body causing neck and upper strain. If left untreated, pain increases over time and eventually your spine begins to degenerate causing a wide range of problems down the road.

forward head posture exercises The Problem with Forward Head posture

forward head posture

It's been shown that for every inch your head is forward increases the relative weight of your head by 10 lbs. The average head weighs 12 lbs. so if you have 2 inches of FHP then your neck feels as if your head weighs 32 lbs. This causes great stress on your neck and upper back. The longer you stay this way, the more damage is done, until at some point it may be difficult of impossible to get it to go back to normal.

The causes of forward head posture include:

  • Car accident whiplash injuries
  • Prolong computer use
  • Chronic poor posture
  • Lower neck and upper back injuries

Your Neck Posture is a Delicate Balance

The neck curve looking from the side should be a nice round shaped curve with the head resting directly in line with the lower neck where it meets the shoulder. When an imbalance occurs due to chronic poor posture or an injury to the ligaments and muscles of the neck as in a car accident, the weakness of the back of the neck and increased tension in front pulls your head forward resulting in FHP.

Diagnosing Forward Head Posture

Your head posture can be observed on a routine examination. Your doctor will look at your head, usually your ear is a landmark and see if it is directly above the shoulder. If it forward, then your have FHP.

X-rays are good to have, because your doctor can measure how far forward your head is. This is important to judge your improvement with treatment. At a later date a comparison x-ray will be taken to see how much progress has been made to restore your neck posture.

Forward Head Posture Correction Treatment

The basic principle is to strengthen the muscles in the back of the neck and upper back and loosen the muscles in front. As the strength is shifted more towards the back, the head will begin to gravitate backwards.

forward head posture exercises

Neck exercises video for Forward Head Posture can be found here. These simple exercises done daily will gradually improve your posture and correct FHP.

Your head posture may have difficulty moving backward if your neck has blockages to movement, what chiropractors call "subluxations." A subluxation is when the spinal bones are not freely moveable due to injury or chronic muscle tension. Locating and correcting these areas of blocked movement allows your head to gravitate backward normally.

It is recommended to undergo at least 2 weeks of chiropractic adjustments to the neck area before beginning exercises to correct FHP. The results you see will be drastically different than just doing neck exercises alone.

Now what?

If you have questions about Forward Head Posture or want Dr Marks to evaluate you, CLICK HERE to request an appointment to meet with Dr Marks to find a solution to your problem.

dr barry marks chiropractor car accident expertDr Barry Marks, Chiropractor, Car Accident Specialist has been providing relief to car accident victims since 1986. He is a former Associate Clinical Professor at a leading Chiropractic College and has years of post-doctorate specialty training in orthopedics, whiplash trauma, brain injury, auto crash reconstruction and more.

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Car Accident Doctor Orange County, California 92868

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Car Accident Doctor Orange County, California 92868

Car Accident Doctor Orange, CA 92868

Suffering from a car accident is bad enough, but it is only the beginning...

You now have to deal with:

  • How to fix your car
  • How to get a rental car to get to work
  • My neck hurts, what kind of doctor do I see?
  • Who is going to pay for all this?
  • Do I need a lawyer?

These are all reasonable questions to ask after a car accident in Orange County, California.

Instead of worrying about ALL these things, concentrate on a couple of the most important points that will let all the other things fall into place without as much stress.

Tips from an Orange County California Car Accident Doctor:

Day 1, Hour 1:

Call the responsible party's auto insurance and open a claim. Give them only the details of the accident, what happened and emphasize it was the other party's (their insured's) fault. Make a note of the time, date and name of person who takes your info. Write down the claim number if they give you one. Tell them you are injured and seeking medical attention and also you need a rental car ASAP because you need to work, go to school, drive kids around, etc.

Call your insurance and report the accident, give them all the details about what happened and the responsible party.

Confirm with your auto insurance company that you have UNINSURED MOTORIST coverage in case the other party ends up not having insurance and conform if you have and the amount of MEDICAL PAYMENTS COVERAGE. The insurance adjuster may say it's going to be handled by the other insurance and you don't need to make a claim. This is incorrect and they are just trying to get out of doping their job, which is represent you and make your entire policy available to you to take care of your needs.

Even if you have a mild headache or just stiffness in the neck, tell them you want to open a bodily injury claim and you are going to or already have seen a doctor.

Ask if you have RENTAL CAR INSURANCE, you need to get to work, school, etc

Day 1, Hour 2:

Call a car accident doctor, a doctor who specializes in only car accident injuries. This is a field of specialty more specialized than general medicine or chiropractic, orthopedics or neurology. Make an appointment to be seen ASAP. It should be within 3 days of the accident to prevent any problems later.

Day 1, Hour 3:

Make arrangements for a car to borrow, share or download Uber app on phone to get to important appointments. If you rent a car on your own, you will get reimbursed but a very small amount so get the cheapest car you can and when the other person's insurance offers make a switch to a rental car place of their choosing to avoid any out of pocket costs.

Day 2 or 3:

Go to the Car Accident Doctor appointment. Take your car insurance info and health insurance info, yes both. Auto insurance is almost alwasy secondary to health insurance. You will be given a thorough examination and asked to complete questionnaires about how you feel and how the accident has affected your daily activities. You may be given a referral for x-rays or other diagnostic work. Follow the doctors advice in treatment, home care, etc. and make sure they are accessible in case you have questions later.

Day 3-4:

Things are progressing. By now, you should have a car accident injury specialist picked and an appointment or have already been to them and are under care. You should also have made contact with the other insurance and possibly have a place to take your car for an estimate. You may have already procured a rental car at the place the estimate is being done at depending on how bad your car is. By now you will know what insurance you personally have to cover your bills. Whether you need to contact an attorney at this early stage or not depends on the severity of your injuries, damage done to the vehicle and cooperation (or lack of) by the responsible insurance company. Everything is falling into place.

The difficult part of being in a car accident is knowing what steps to take.

This article is a just a brief overview of the things you need to do in order to manage your auto accident case properly. For the average person there is a lot to do and know, things most people have no clue about. This is where having someone on your side to guide you through the process comes in handy. A specialist who knows all the ins and outs and who's focus is on assisting you through the maze. Many people think that's why you call a lawyer, but you;d be surprised that most personal injury lawyers don't get all that involved in your case. They help you make a settlement at the end of the case, but they do not do much about gettign your car repaired, find specialists to provide medical services, answer questions, etc. They are too busy and run too many cases to do that.

You Need a Car Accident Concierge.

A concierge is the "go to person" in a hotel who has all the connections, can call you a cab, get you a hard to get table at a restaurant, give you the inside scoop of whats going on in the area. For car accident injuries there is someone who is basically like a concierge for accident victims. He knows all the rules, knows the good lawyers, has contacts with the good doctors in the area who work with accident victims and actually provides car accident treatment services that are second to none. So you get a great car accident doctor AND a personal injury concierge to help you figure out your car stuff, insurance questions, lawyers, imaging and specialist centers, etc. Your expert is accessible via email and often text and voice to help you when you're out of the office. Many chiropractors treat car accident victims, but few if any provide the expertise and experience and provide these "special" services the way Orange County Car Accident Doctor Barry Marks DC does.

"Orange County Car Accident Concierge"

car accident doctor orange county california 92868 dr barry marks

Dr Barry Marks is a chiropractor with  over 30 years experience in personal injury. He has completed hundreds of hours in post-doctorate specialty training programs in orthopedics, brain injury, whiplash, crash reconstruction, forensic examinations, disability evaluations, impairment rating, MRI interpretation, and much more. You can compare Dr Marks' experience and credentials to any other doctor, medical or chiropractic in Orange County and you won't find anyone more qualified. All this in a comfortable and welcoming office environment with a kind and empathetic bedside manner.

Car Accident in Orange County California? Call Dr. Marks (714) 938-0575 Now

Dr Barry Marks, DC Car Accident Doctor Orange County, California 92868

1745 W Orangewood Ave #114
Orange, CA 92868
(714) 938-0575

 

 

 

How Long Should Chiropractic Treatment Be for Whiplash Injuries?

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How Long Should Chiropractic Treatment Be for Whiplash Injuries?

Chiropractic Treatment Duration for Whiplash Injuries

After a car accident, one of the most common questions that arise is how long treatment should go on. As a patient you may be concerned because treatment takes up a lot of your time. Your attorney will want to know because it affects the outcome of your case. Insurance companies want to know and often cite too much treatment was an argument to minimize your case.

Professional Practice Guidelines

You first need to understand that a doctor specializing in car accident treatment does not just treat you “willy-nilly.” Whiplash specialist doctors use “guidelines” to tell them an expected range of treatments that are appropriate based on your individual injury. Professional practice guidelines are a set of parameters derived through studying the medical and scientific literature. Guidelines are then submitted to other researchers, institutes or licensing boards for comments and approval. If the guidelines are considered useful and well documented, they may be officially adopted by the profession.

When it comes to chiropractic treatment of whiplash and other injuries from car accidents, there are a few guides to consider. The most well received, best documented and universally accepted guidelines are the “Croft Guidelines.”

Croft Guidelines

In 1993, Arthur Croft, D.C., M.S., M.P.H., F.A.C.O., F.A.C.F.E., published a set of management guidelines in the ACA Journal. These guidelines have also been published in Whiplash Injuries: the Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome, second edition, in 1995 and in a recent Canadian practitioner's guide to whiplash injuries, sanctioned by the Canadian Chiropractic Association.

The Croft Guidelines have been a part of our literature now for over 2 decades. No competing guidelines relative to whiplash treatment have been published during that time. Several American state chiropractic organizations and associations, as well as in at least one Canadian province, have adopted the Croft Guidelines.

The vast majority of true car accident injury experts rely on the Croft Guidelines to determine the severity of their patient’s injuries and an estimate on how long treatment may take.

Using the Croft Guides for Duration of Treatment

The first step is to determine the “severity” or “how bad” an injury is. In a previous post, I outlined how the Croft Guides gives specific factors to use to determine severity of injury. See “How Bad is My Car Accident Injury?” for details.

Once your doctor has established the severity as either a Grade I, II, II, IV or V, the doctor consults the guidelines to see the predicted range of treatment numbers and duration. For example looking at the table below, a Grade II injury may require daily treatment (7 times in 1 week) for 1 week, then may require treatment at 3 times each week for 4 weeks or less, then 2 times each week for 4 weeks or less, then 1 treatment per week for 4 weeks or less and finally 1 time per month for 4 months or less. The total duration (TD) of treatment may be upwards of 29 weeks and the total number (TN) of visits may be up to 33 visits.

 Croft guidelines chiropractic whiplash injuries

You will note that I have said “may” and “up to” many times; that is because these are practice guidelines and not rigid rules. Patients may need slightly more or less treatments depending on their individual injuries.  The point is, there are professionally recognized practice guidelines that have been published by medical researchers and experts that assist the doctor, the patient, attorneys and insurance adjusters in understanding the anticipated duration of treatment.

When an automobile insurance adjuster claims that chiropractic treatment has gone on too long, the question is, “based on what?” What guidelines have they used to substantiate their assertion? Most insurers will not cite any guides. Others may try to cite disability guides or other references, but these guides are for work injuries or general non-traumatic neck or back complaints. They are not generally accepted guides specifically for chiropractic treatment of a whiplash injury. Car accident injuries have been shown in the literature to be unlike any other type of injury or cause of neck and back pain.

As the victim of a car crash injury, understanding these guides will help set you at ease knowing that your treatment is being provided in the most scientific and professional manner possible.

Go from How Long Should Chiropractic Treatment Be for Whiplash Injuries? to How Bad is My Car Accident Injury?

 

How Bad is My Car Accident Injury?

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After a car accident, it’s common for patients to ask “How Bad is My Car Accident Injury?”

Car Accident Injury Severity

You might be surprised how the “severity” of or “how bad” your injury is determined. Most people believe it has to do with:

  • How much vehicle damage there is
  • How fast the vehicles were traveling
  • How much pain you are in
  • Whether or not you take an ambulance ride to a hospital
  • Whether or not you miss any work
  • Many other incorrect reasons

How to Determine Car Accident Injury Severity:

Rather than subjective information like the above or from a doctor merely giving an educated guess, true car accident injury specialists such as myself use “professional practice guidelines” or “guides.” Guides are a set of rules for doctors that have been established through scientific research to tell them how to practice. Guides tell a doctor objectively, what the items are that lead to a specific diagnosis. Guides can also give doctors direction on what types of treatment are most beneficial for certain conditions.

To determine the severity of specifically a car accident injury, the most well known and scientifically proven set of guidelines are the “Croft Guidelines.”

Croft Guidelines

The guidelines were published by Arthur Croft, D.C., M.S., M.P.H., F.A.C.O., F.A.C.F.E an internationally known doctor and researcher in the spinal trauma field in 1993. These guides were published in his book, “Whiplash Injuries: The Cervical Acceleration/Deceleration Syndrome,” second edition and have been adopted by many state boards of Chiropractic in the US and Canada. There are other guides used in the profession, but most of them borrow heavily form Croft, therefore the original source is best to use.

Within the Croft Guidelines injury severities are determined by objective findings at the time of the initial examination. It is crucial your treating doctor understand how to do a proper and thorough examination of a car accident whiplash injury since failure to recognize some features of an injury could result in the improper severity, which you will see later, leads to incorrect frequency and duration of treatment and overall prognosis. This is just one among many reasons why auto accident victims need to be evaluated by a true car accident injury specialist and not just any doctor.

Looking at the Croft Guidelines we can see there are five injury grades (severities): Grade I through V. The examination findings are clearly stated on what constitutes a given grade or severity. The most common Grades are II and III. Many Grade I’s do not feel enough pain to see a doctor. This is why using guidelines rather than subjective pain is a better method. Grade V’s are rarely seen in private practices in the initial onset, because they are usually triaged at a hospital and undergo surgery. Chiropractors and other therapists may work with them post-surgically. Grade IV’s are not uncommon in a chiropractor’s or other private practitioner’s office, but not as commonly as II and III. It is imperative the treating doctor can recognize a Grade IV and team treat with orthopedists and/or neurosurgeons since these patients usually suffer from disc herniations, nerve injury or ligament instability that may require surgery.

Croft Guides Car Accident Injury Severity

Common Mistakes in Applying the Croft Guides for Injury Severity

Because most doctors treating car accident injuries are not actual specialists in the field, they do not know how to tell which grade to apply because they do not know how to document things like ligament injury and/or ligament instability so they may not be able to decide between a Grade II and Grade III. When your doctor takes a look at your x-rays (ALL accident cases require x-rays of the spine, period) and you see your neck curve is decreased, flat or reversed, that is a sign of ligament injury. The ligaments running up and down the inside of your spine keeps the proper tension that makes your neck curve properly. This is just one example of how a specialist can do a proper exam and apply the findings to the guides for a well documented severity of injury.

Injury Severity Grading is Important in Car Accident Whiplash Cases

Everything in a personal injury whiplash case flows from the severity grading. Once your doctor knows the severity, he or she will know what treatment types are best, what imaging studies to refer you for, what other specialists need to be consulted, etc. The Croft Guides also tells the doctor what frequency and duration of treatment is typical. Your long-term outlook for recovery (prognosis) is also determined by the grade of your injury.

Remember, these are guides and some patient’s heal faster or slower than others and there are complicating factors that can extend care, but in general, the guides give you, your doctor, your lawyer and the insurance company some notice of what to expect treatment wise.

Of course that is only IF your doctor is aware of these guidelines and knows how to use them. My guess is about 25-30% of chiropractors are aware of the Croft Guides and about 10% actually use them regularly. I would estimate that less than 10% of any medical specialists know of or use these guides. And sadly, maybe 20% of lawyers know of them and less than 10% of the doctors they work with use them. The numbers of doctors who are actually true whiplash specialists are very few. Many doctors treat car collision injuries, but very, very few have actual post-graduate specialty training in this field.

Objective Evidence of Injuries to Prove Your Case and Improve Your Treatment

Rather than just guessing or putting all patients through the same old cookie cutter process, specialists in car accident injuries use professional guidelines to make key decisions about your injuries and treatment. Injury severity is an important first step in the process of documenting your injury that leads to decisions on what type of treatments are needed and the frequency and duration of care.

Go from How Bad is My Car Accident Injury? to How Long Should Chiropractic Treatment Be for Whiplash Injuries?