Auto Accidents

by Dr. Arlo Gordin

In collisions when cars run into cars (or trucks, motorcycles, bicycles, trees, pedestrians, etc.) it is common to get injured. These injuries are all to easy to sustain; the complete healing from them sometimes not so easy.
Accidents can sometimes cause broken bones, cracked ribs, or organ injuries. Those are some of the reasons that careful examination and appropriate diagnostic tests or x-rays are important.
Frequently, injury results in pinched nerves, sprains, torn ligaments, pain, inflammation and other symptoms. When these injuries are only partially treated (such as just heat and massage) they heal incompletely. Pain or numbness, and over the long haul, joint degeneration, and even arthritis result from incorrect or incomplete treatment. You may easily understand the way that injury occurs to the neck and spine. After all, the human head has the weight of a bowling ball, and is supported on a bone spinal column only about an inch and a half in diameter. "Whiplash" is caused by snapping the weight of the head against the small neck ligaments that hold it up. 
Contrary to myth, not seeing an accident coming is worse; you can't brace your body for the impact, and damaging the neck or spinal ligaments is a frequent result. Frequently you could lose the normal healthy curve that was in your neck before the accident. The mid- and low-back areas can also be frequently hurt.
Bracing your hands on the steering wheel can cause the impact to be transferred through the arms, injuring wrists, elbows, or shoulders. A knee can be injured striking the dash. A foot jammed onto the brake pedal will transfer the force to the ankle, leg, knee or hip. Recently a patient came in from a rear-ender that caused his head to snap back and shatter the truck window behind him. Talk about a headache (and a concussion too).
 Nutritional supplementation can be very valuable for its natural pain-relieving effects and in supporting the complete healing of damaged (overstretched and torn) joint tissues and inflamed nerves. Although anti-inflammatory and pain-killing drugs have side-effects that indicate their use (if at all) should be very short, scientific studies show that nutrients out-perform them. They can relieve pain, and speed healing, which the drugs cannot. Most automotive injuries and personal injury cases are paid fully by insurance. Our office has assisted injured persons in getting well for over 20 years. It certainly seems more important to get to the right doctor first, so that healing can proceed promptly, than to find a "good personal injury attorney". Ironically, an attorney stands to benefit more financially if you don't get better than if you do! As a result a "good" attorney's priority may be to recommend a doctor for his business needs rather than for your health needs. From our years of experience, in addition to providing your necessary care for complete recovery, we can provide guidance for you in the correct insurance and legal directions. We can make referrals to the professionals we have found to serve our patients best.

Most important: Don't let an accident go improperly treated. Those who do often pay the price in later debility and pain. Too many times I've had to show a patient in pain their x-rays, and pointing out the degeneration of joints and discs ask them this question: "Did you have an accident about 10 years ago?" 
Why? Because the films show the damage of an improperly treated accident in the past. And the joint degeneration is causing the pain, the numb hands, or the limited movement that plagues the patient today. 
If you had seen as many degenerated films of spines from just this cause, you would never allow that to happen to your body.
And you don't have to!