A great deal of my practice concerns itself with helping individuals restore normal function and ridding them of their pain as a result of a car accident.
In Canada, there are approximately 160,000 car accidents per year.
Our local Kelowna statistics are some of the highest in the country.
So what should you do after you have suffered from a motor vehicle collision?
First and foremost, make sure that you get a proper assessment and appropriate treatment from a health provider. They will help you on your way back to recovery.
A registered massage therapist, physical therapist or doctor of chiropractic is ideal, as they are most educated on physical, anatomical and neurological responses to injury.
If your damage is severe enough you may need additional assistance from your medical doctor.
The first 72 hours after one has sustained a trauma are considered to be the ‘golden hours.’
It is during these first three days that appropriate intervention can minimize soft tissue swelling and any long-term dysfunction.
This should include appropriate supplementation with omega-3 essential fatty acids to reduce inflammation, vitamins C to assist in soft tissue repair in addition to a proteolytic.
It is at this time that appropriate advice towards application of heat vs. ice therapy and activity should be outlined with the patient.
One of the most important services I provide to my patients who have recently sustained a motor vehicle injury is that of reassurance.
Patients will often come to my clinic stating that they feel somewhat confused, lacking concentration and occasional emotional moodiness ranging from agitation to depression.
Some would say that they feel as though they’re ‘in shock.’
The literature states that one can have a closed head injury with an accident with a speed as little as 13 km/h.
Your head does not have to strike any structures within the vehicle to have a head injury.
It is the violent whipping forward and backwards of the head that can cause something called a contra coup injury.
This is where the brain smashes into the cranial bone in the front and the back of your skull upon rapid acceleration and deceleration.
This, in turn, causes something called axonal shearing.
In this case, the very fragile nerve fibers in the brain can shear away from one another at a microscopic level.
Patients will often complained of dizziness, headaches and lethargy.
The most important thing to understand at this point, is that this is usually self-limiting and will resolve itself in time.
It is important to understand that for a duration of time you’ll feel simply ‘goofy’ and slothlike in your thinking.
This is a normal response to a closed head injury. Simple tasks like recalling a phone number are very common given this injury.
If you do find that these symptoms are profound, you need to seek attention right away.
However, if these symptoms are minor and transient, rest assured that you’re not losing your mind.
This is a normal response, given the pathology that your brain has sustained.
Motor vehicle insurance companies have adopted a ‘no crash-no cash’ policy.
Here, the insurance company believes that if your car is not that damaged, then neither are you.
It is well-established in literature and peer-reviewed research that this is not correct.
If you have sustained a motor vehicle collision, be careful not to invalidate your symptoms as they can grow like an untended garden where the weeds can overtake what is otherwise healthy.
Markus Thiel is a doctor of chiropractic in Kelowna.