What to Do After a Car Accident in Orange County, California
By Car accident doctor Barry Marks, DC Orange, CA
Watch the video for some simple steps on what to do after a car accident in Orange County, CA.
By Car accident doctor Barry Marks, DC Orange, CA
The forces caused by a car wreck are like no other type of strain or injury. A collision that barely dents your rear bumper is enough to cause several G's of force on your neck. Researchers have found that an impact of only 2.5 g's is enough to cause damage to the neck ligaments. Other studies have shown that in order to see visible vehicle damage, the average speed must be between 9-15 mph. Some cars can be struck at over 25 mph and show no damage at all. Therefore, if your bumper shows damage, it is highly probable that you have suffered an injury.
There are stages to car accident whiplash treatment. For example, if you have a fresh injury you cannot begin doing vigorous exercises right away. Although this is exactly what some physical therapists and general chiropractors do, which leads to prolonged pain and a delay in recovery. Treatment at each stage must also be appropriate. Not providing relief of inflammation early on will result in a chronic injury.
The key here is to lessen inflammation and pain and maintain some range of motion. Therapies such as ice, cold laser light therapy, electrical stimulation and gentle movement of the spine with chiropractic adjustments is good at this stage. Home range of motion stretching exercises are good as is resting with an ice pack or alternating heat and ice. Physical activity should be as normal as possible, but nothing strenuous; no gym, no heavy lifting/bending at work, no amusement park rides, etc
This stage will last about a month, after which time your pain levels should be down by about 70%.
At this stage of your auto accident injury care you are ready for what is called rehabilitation. Rehab is the process of returning you back to your normal strength, range of motion and biomechanics (how your body parts work as a unit). Treatment here usually involves active exercise with the therapist or doctor, traction or distraction of the spine, movement of the spine via adjustments, massage therapy to remove knots followed by ice or cold laser to alleviate pain and swelling after your tissues have been worked.
This is the longest stage of treatment and the most overlooked part by doctors and therapists. Many patients are released from care by their doctor or therapist because they have reached a point where they have no outward pain or symptoms and do not go through rehabilitation. This is a huge mistake and is definitely a leading cause of people suffering from chronic pain and impairment after an accidental injury. Mild injuries require 1-2 months of rehab, moderate injuries 3-6 months and severe injuries 6-12 months.
Proper car accident treatment requires a knowledgeable doctor who has the training and experience to get your spine and body back to good working order, not merely symptomatic pain relief. For this reason, when you've been injured in a car accident, you should only consider doctors who are specifically trained in whiplash injury treatment.
A sudden jerk of the neck, like when your car gets hit by another car, can cause an injury that many people call "whiplash." The term whiplash has been used so much and is so common in our vernacular that doctors now use the term to describe injuries after a car accident. When a car is struck from behind, the quick jolt to the neck causes the spine to deform, straining and tearing the supporting ligaments of the neck or back. If the jolt is hard enough, it can cause discs, the joints themselves and even the brain and nerves to be damaged.
Whiplash injuries can range from minimal to severe. The long term affects of whiplash has been studied extensively and researchers indicate that approximately 40% of rear-impact whiplash injuries result in chronic long-term pain, known as "late whiplash." Late whiplash occurs when damage has occurred to the facet joints or discs of the neck.
A car accident doctor specializing in whiplash injuries is well versed in uncovering bodily injury caused by automobile accidents and can determine the severity of a whiplash injury on the initial examination using objective guidelines. Knowing the severity or grade of injury can determine how long treatment will take and what the prospects for full recovery are.
Many doctors, both medical and chiropractic, treat car accident whiplash injuries. These doctors are free to treat any condition that is in their scope of practice. Just like any medical doctor, specialized or not, can perform surgery or give you a face lift, if there is a willing patient. But do you really want your general medical doctor doing brain surgery on you? I doubt it.
Chiropractors are trained in a board array of musculoskeletal disorders that cause pain. Any general chiropractor can do a half way decent job of treating a whiplash injury for pain relief. But do they understand the big picture and long term ramifications if they merely relieve pain and do not rehabilitate the injured spine? Do they know the specific language and formatting of reports that your lawyer will be able to admit into court as evidence?
Personal injury is a specialized area of practice. There is much to know to not only treat the patient successfully, but to also present the medical facts in a manner and language your attorney and more importantly insurance companies and juries will understand. It can take years of study to gain this knowledge and it is tedious work.
Well meaning doctors may take on your case and provide care, but all the while they are undermining the case. Improper language in the file, poor documentation of the facts, an incomplete examination, the wrong x-rays, incorrect diagnoses, these and many others are all the minor paperwork details that the average chiropractor or MD just has no training in or desire to be fastidious about. But, trust me, these are all crucial elements to a well documented case that will allow you, the injured party, to recover as completely as possible medically, but also in your legal case.
The proper diagnosis of a car accident whiplash injury takes time and expertise. A thorough understanding of the mechanism of the crash is needed to understand what body parts may be injured even if they are not immediately painful. The car accident doctor must know the red flag signs that require immediate transfer to a hospital. A complete understanding of head injuries and how to detect even minor ones is vitally important. A mild brain injury will cause a whiplash injury case to be prolonged and recovery slow and possibly incomplete. Undiagnosed the chiropractor may dismiss your case as a minor strain. This could lead to long term problems.
Please review the following qualifications and see if your current or past doctor or chiropractor can stack up:
Additionally, he has available as needed other medical professionals who also specialize in personal injury for second opinions and co-treatment including:
Dr. Marks also has available for your review a list of personal injury attorneys who he has worked with in the past and has found them to be effective, honorable and hard working.