Approximately 2.35 million people in the United States are injured or disabled each year after motor vehicle accidents (MVA). An average of 6 million reported car accidents per year. Many of these injured individuals are people that immediately were admitted to the emergency room. There are others that may have been injured in car crashes to a lesser degree but still significantly enough to affect their ability to work, take care of their families, and perform other activities of daily living. Frequently these people do not consider themselves “injured” because they did not need to go to the emergency room or did not become unconscious or break a bone during the auto accident.
Physiologically, after an accident, adrenaline is pumping and the body is in it protective mode and often does not feel much pain. Later, sometimes days or weeks later, as the body starts to calm down, symptoms arise such as tightness, lack of normal ranges of motion, and pain. Psychological and mental symptoms can arise as well such as fatigue, confusion, anxiety, depression, sleep disturbance, and mood swings.
People that do not feel injured immediately or believe they were only mildly injured often postpone initializing treatment or never get treatment for their injuries and only later find they have prolonged functional disability, pain, or reduced mobility. Scar tissue and fibrosis often result in areas of injury that are ignored and not treated promptly and thoroughly until healing is complete. The long term outcomes of reduced function and mobility are real in those that do not receive proper treatment after car crashes (Alghnam et al, 2015). Early intervention within four days of the auto-related injury has been shown to provide greater resolution of pain and normal range of motion as well as less sick leave when compared to delaying care by two weeks (Rosenfeld et al, 2003).
Additionally, the longer one waits to initiate care at a health care provider the more resistance they will encounter from the auto insurance adjustor. It is always best to get evaluated promptly, even after a “mild car accident” by a health care practitioner that is trained in auto collision patient evaluation and treatment. Early intervention after auto injury will result in more favorable resolution of symptoms and a quicker return to optimal function.
If you or a loved one has been in a car crash of any magnitude, please seek professional advice regarding the need for treatment. Our chiropractors are trained to evaluate and treat auto accident injuries. Begin your road to recovery and please schedule your appointment by calling our office today at 503-206-8863 in SE Portland, OR.
Alghnam, S., Wegener, S. T., Bhalla, K., Colantuoni, E., & Castillo, R. (2015). Long-term outcomes of individuals injured in motor vehicle crashes: A population-based study. Injury, 46(8), 1503–1508.
Rosenfeld, M., Seferiadis, A., Carlsson, J., & Gunnarsson, R. (2003). Active intervention in patients with whiplash-associated disorders improves long-term prognosis: a randomized controlled clinical trial. Spine, 28(22), 2491–2498.