Spring may be just around the corner, but as all of us Seattleites know, the rainy weather will most likely be lasting for many more months. Water and pavement are not a good mix for vehicles, and the combination often results in car accidents ranging from fender benders to fatalities. If you have the unfortunate experience of being in an accident, what can you do to make the process go as smoothly as possible? Not only should you seek chiropractic treatment for your spine after an accident (no matter how minor the crash is), there are also some things to keep in mind as you come in for regular adjustments. Read on for tips on what to do in the days, weeks, and months after an accident:
KEEPING YOUR BODY HEALTHY
- Though you might feel fine after an accident, it’s likely that the impact on your body has had some sort of effect. Numerous studies have shown musculoskeletal injuries may not surface for hours or even days after the onset of the incident. Even mild soreness can indicate underlying tissue damage.
- It is best to have an evaluation performed immediately if you have been in an accident, regardless of how you feel. Though your insurance company may argue otherwise, vehicle damage is not equivalent to injury. Even a “little” rear-end collision can cause significant soft tissue damage. Chiropractic has been proven more cost-effective than medical care.
- The neck is the most vulnerable part of the spine. The fact that the spine is so flexible and the head (8-12 lbs) rests on the top of it means that risk for potential injury is greater, should the body be unexpectedly jerked forward in an accident. As seen in the picture above, your head initially tilts back to hit the headrest upon rear-end impact. Then both your head and neck jerk forward, all in one swift movement. This action can stretch and tear tissues in the neck, and the further that the head retracts backwards, the greater the possibility of a neck injury.
- The position of the head can also affect the severity of the injury. For example, if your car is hit on the left-rear corner while you are turning or if your head is turned upon impact, your neck isn’t able to extend backwards and spinal nerves are more susceptible to damage.
DEALING WITH INSURANCE
- Immediately after your accident: Exchange insurance info with other driver(s), and make note of details including time, place, weather conditions, etc. Be aware of any symptoms of injury that you experience right after the accident.
- Within several days of your accident: Seek treatment as soon as possible so it’s evident to insurance companies that any injuries you have were directly related to your accident.
- Weeks/months after your accident: Follow the recommendations of your chiropractor! If you stick to the recommended treatment plan, insurance companies are much more likely to cooperate and pay for your adjustments.
Source: Adler, Richard H. From Injury to Action: Navigating Your Personal Injury Claim. Adler Giersch, 2011.