Car Accident Care

What you need to know if you're in a car accident

Whiplash Injuries from Car Accidents

What is Whiplash and how do I know if I have it?

Whiplash is a condition which results from a jarring of the neck forward and backwards upon impact to the body. It causes the head, which weighs (8-10 pounds), to spring in the same manner. This results in damage to the muscles and ligaments which support the neck and keep the head poised overtop of the shoulders.

Unfortunately, the area where the neck meets the torso or rib cage becomes damaged the most. This is because the momentum of the head at the time of the vehicle collision was too much for the muscles and ligaments to handle. Ironically the same situation occurs for the driver who hit the other car as well as the driver who is waiting at the red light.

This is why they invented headrests in cars. Before headrests were invented, more people lost their lives. But even with headrests, injuries from car accidents cause damage to the area of the spine where the neck meets the rib cage. This damage begins actually begins a process where the bones of the spine start to change shape. This is known as “Osteoarthritis” or “Degenerative Joint Disease”.

What you need to know if you have been in a Car Accident

With the increased use and popularity of cell phones there are more reported cases of whiplash each year since cell phones became introduced into society.
In fact, the average driver in Pinellas County is involved in a car accident every seven years. It’s a hassle, the insurance company needs to be contacted, your car may need to be fixed, and your body is feeling things you never felt before.

If this is the first time you were in a car accident, here’s what you can expect.

  • You may be in shock, due to the adrenaline rush caused by the sudden impact, many drivers don’t feel pain right away.
  • That evening you may be tired and start to feel sore. It’s not uncommon to have a headache from the jolt.
  • The next day the pain is usually worse. By now the effects of the adrenaline have worn off, and the reality that your body was hit will start to become very real to you. Most feel that their muscles are especially sore. The headache may be constant and sharp, shooting pains in the upper back may come and go especially when you move your head.
  • If you were restrained by a safety belt or the airbag deployed, you will also likely experience dull chest pains. These will go away usually within the first week.

What you can expect if this isn’t your first Car Accident

The symptoms are worse if you had been in an accident before. The damaged areas of your body which were weakened in the first accident will be the first areas you will notice in subsequent accidents.

If you have been in multiple crashes you already know that symptoms can take time to show up, and those symptoms you had before will be experienced faster, and new symptoms will also be felt by the body.

These can include numbness and tingling in your arms or hands (nerve damage). Inability to sleep at night due to not being able to find a comfortable position; And sharp, stabbing pains usually in the upper back, and sometimes in the lower back. These sharp pains are due to swelling and inflammation caused by damaged muscles which lie over the nerves.

In some cases sharp, shooting and stabbing pain is caused by compression of spinal nerves resulting from a herniated disc. Or arthritis which was caused by earlier car accidents and this arthritis is now being aggravated.

In Florida, you only have 14 Days to go to a Doctor

If you were in an accident you should see a Gentle Chiropractic Physician immediately, even if you don’t have symptoms.

Because it often takes weeks or months before you notice problems and realized it all started when you had the car accident!

The body has a delayed reaction. Think about smoking. One cigarette won’t kill you but overtime it can lead to cancer. Same thing with spinal degeneration. Every car accident you have will change the shape of the bones in your spine. It may take years for you to notice the Arthritis, but eventually you will experience pain. And long after you have forgotten about the car accident, you'll notice a significant reduction in your quality of life, and this will leave you wondering how did I get this way?

It does not matter if you caused the accident or if you were hit by another driver

In the State of Florida every driver has minimum $10,000 in Personal Injury Protection (PIP) Benefits. In fact, Florida PIP law provides you with $10,000 of coverage for medical expenses if you have been injured in an accident. This includes getting an examination to ensure that you don’t have nerve damage, herniated discs or torn muscles you may not feel yet. It does not matter if you caused the accident or if you were hit by another driver. This is because Florida is a “no fault” state.

Be aware that if you don’t see a doctor within 14 days of the accident you will lose your benefits, and you will have to pay for any medical treatment out of your own pocket or use your health insurance. Remember the automobile insurance premium you pay includes this service, you already paid for it, and it is mandated by Florida law that they provide it to you.

Important: See a Gentle Chiropractic Physician after a Car Accident

Protect your future health now by seeing a Gentle Chiropractic Physician immediately after you have a car accident.

You can schedule an appointment online through our new patient form. The earlier you get an examination and address it, the less likely those bones will change shape resulting in arthritis later on.

What to expect on your first visit to our office after a Car Accident:

  • You will have to fill out necessary New Patient paperwork.
  • You will have to contact your automobile insurance company and let them know you had an accident and that you are going to a Gentle Chiropractic Physician to make sure everything is okay.
  • Ask your insurance company for a claim number. This is a different claim number than the one they gave you to fix your car.
  • The Chiropractic Physician will ask you specific questions about the accident and do an examination to check for damage to the nerves.

You will get the Gentle treatment to relieve pain and reduce inflammation so you can feel better that same day!

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