If you’ve ever been in an auto accident in Minnesota…
If you’ve ever been in an auto accident in Minnesota you’ve experienced the deluge of solicitations from MN chiropractors and attorneys who are dieing to help you (and get your business). It is a real turn off for most people and doesn’t reflect well on either of these two professions www.peachtreecitychiropractor.com. As of August 1, 2008 Minnesota statute prohibits a chiropractor (or any one else) from directly contacting someone who has been in an auto accident. (See Minnesota Statute 609.612 Employment of Runners).
The law does not prohibit mailings, but does prohibit telephoning or emailing. In Minnesota many chiropractors are solicited by marketing services that go down to the Department of Motor Vehicles and gather information on who has been in an auto accident recently from the accident reports (which are public domain). For a monthly fee the marketing service will gather the names of whomever has been in an auto accident in your ZIP code area and send them a letter on your behalf.
Aside from the relatively few MN chiropractors who engage in such marketing ploys, the real question is “Is it worth it for you to consider seeing a MN chiropractor if you’ve been in an auto accident?”
Should you see a MN chiropractor if you’ve been injured in an auto accident?
Many MN chiropractors treat patients who have suffered injuries in auto accidents. That it is reasonable for chiropractors to treat such injuries has been supported by research into the benefits of chiropractic for such injuries. All sorts of injuries arise in auto accidents. When you think of a serious accident what comes to mind is the most devastating types of injuries. Broken bones, lacerations, concussions, head trauma and so forth are all common in the most severe auto injuries.
Fortunately, severe auto accidents and the severe injuries that arise as a result are not common. Not common that is, as a percentage of the total number of auto accidents that occur each day in Minnesota.
Most auto accidents are the fender-bender variety.
You’re driving along when suddenly the car ahead of you comes to a sudden stop. You hit the brakes, but don’t stop in time and wham, you hit their rear end. When you come to your senses, you feel jarred and a bit shaken up, but are able to get out of the car and apologize. You exchange information and get back into your car. Later in the day you notice that your neck and upper back are feeling stiff. That night your neck starts to ache and you begin to get a headache. You think to your self “Well, it’s just the stress of the accident-it’ll be better in the morning”.
Next morning you wake up with neck and upper back pain that is worse than the day before. You take a couple pain killers which relieve it, but later in the day it’s back again.
You are experiencing a whiplash injury.
Your whiplash is not an Emergency Room matter. There is nothing to sew up, no stitches to be had. But you are injured. When you hit the car ahead, or in the case of being hit from behind, your head and neck are thrown about. The event lasts only a fraction of a second. Researchers measure it at about 0.30 seconds. It happens so fast that you don’t really remember it. And so, not remembering what happened it doesn’t seem that you were injured-you think that you have no reason to believe that you were injured.
Except that your neck and upper back are now aching and stiff, and you’re getting these headaches.
What happens in a whiplash injury?
In low end collisions the head and neck of the car occupant are whipped back and forth. Remember that your body (if you’re wearing seatbelts) is strapped in. Only your head and neck are moveable. The jarring of the collision slams into your body which is strapped into the seat. But your head moves, stretching and also compressing the structures in your neck. It’s not enough force to break a bone-to fracture one of the vertebrae in your neck. But it is often enough force to tear the soft tissues.
These injuries are called “whiplash” injuries because of the whipping action of your head and neck on top of your shoulders. Your torso becomes the handle of the whip while your head is the tip of the whip. Your neck-the whip, is what gets whipped around and stretched.
Soft Tissue Injuries and Whiplash
Tearing of the soft tissues of the neck in a whiplash injury is what is called a sprain and strain. A strain refers to tearing injury of muscles. A sprain refers to a tearing injury of tendons, ligaments, joint capsules, intervertebral discs, etc. Whiplash injuries can also tear and bruise nerves and other soft tissues in the neck.
Whiplash Injury: Neck Pain, Headaches and More…
When the soft tissues in the neck are torn in the faster-than-you-can-remember motion of whiplash, they become inflamed. Once inflamed they stimulate pain nerve endings and you start to hurt. The most common symptoms of whiplash injury are neck pain and stiffness, headaches, upper back pain, and upper extremity complaints like radiating pain, numbness and tingling.
A non-whiplash injury, a neck strain from sitting in front of the computer too long, sleeping on your neck wrong, or running into a door are quite different from whiplash injuries. A non-whiplash, simple sprain strain resolves itself quickly unless there are complicating issues. Complicating issues might be pre-existing osteoarthritis of the neck. With underlying arthritis a simple sprain strain might take a while to heal. But generally speaking simple sprains and strains get better in weeks to a couple months.
Whiplash injuries to the neck and back are different. These injuries are more serious, with more damage to more soft tissues. It is not uncommon for pain from these injuries to linger for years. Researchers have found that the soft tissues continue to remodel themselves (undergo self-repair) for 2-5 years after an injury.
What’s the best treatment for whiplash injury?
A whiplash doesn’t require a trip to the Emergency Room, but it does require treatment. That is, if you want the best outcome-no chronic pain after the injury. And what is the best treatment for whiplash injury? A study published in the medical journal, the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine researched the issue. 93 patients who suffered whiplash injury and were treated by chiropractors were evaluated. 69 of them reported and showed improvement following chiropractic care.
The authors of the study went on to say that “conventional [medical] treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing.”
Chiropractic treatment options.
Chiropractors use a variety of treatment modalities to promote healing of whiplash injuries. Some of the most common treatments used by chiropractors are chiropractic adjustments, physiotherapies (electrical muscle stimulation, hot packs, cold packs, traction). Some MN chiropractors also utilize acupuncture, cold lasers and nutritional supplements (natural anti-inflammatory herbs) to promote healing naturally without drugs.