We are always amazed when we see an automobile accident which annihilates the car, but the driver emerges from the wreckage unharmed. By the same token, when there is an accident in which the vehicle is barely scratched, it seems incongruous to see the driver hauled away on a spine board.
But the truth is, even a minor fender bender can leave a passenger in debilitating pain, for a number of reasons.
How whiplash occurs
In order to understand back and neck injuries, it’s essential to remember that the average adult head is of a similar weight to a bowling ball. The head, perched on the neck, it can be thrust forward in the event of an accident, and put enormous strain on the neck and back muscles.
The damage can be compounded even further if the individual has their head turned at the time of impact since this results in a thrust with a twist. Various tissues can be damaged as a result, but, as we’ve mentioned before, the shock can mask physical symptoms. The adrenaline and cortisol released as the result of the accident can mask pain.
What is shock?
Shock can cause the victim to be numb, have feelings of fear and disbelief, and later, anger, guilt, and anxiety. Meanwhile, being in an accident can make the damage seem painless at first because the body may feel numb.
The victim can also become confused, forgetful, and have a difficult time concentrating.
Getting medical help
At the moment the accident occurs, the clock begins ticking for the victim, as it’s essential that they get immediate medical treatment.
Neck and back damage can be significantly exacerbated by simple movements after the fact, which is why spine boards are used. When medical treatment is required, the insurance company will be immediately involved, even if there isn’t much damage to the car. Here’s the problem: sometimes insurance companies believe that the amount of whiplash a passenger sustains is directly commensurate with the amount of damage to the vehicle. Nothing could be further from the truth.
When a patient is in shock and possibly suffering from the emotional effects of the accident, they may not be making sound decisions. If the partner or family member of an accident victim notices the victim is not responding normally, a free consultation with an accident lawyer should
be considered, as the insurance company or other parties may try to take advantage of the victim, who might be unable to protect themselves.
Far too many whiplash victims initially have little pain, but as time progresses, the pain continues and may worsen due to lack of treatment. A patient can go from having only minor neck pain to not being able to turn their head at all without excruciating pain. This, in turn, can further damage the neck and spine. An insurance company may consider the case closed and refuse responsibility later.
The most natural thing to do is to obtain relief as soon as possible after impact and continue treatment for as long as is needed until permanent relief is obtained. Sometimes in the case of this type of injury, the best possible outcome is obtainable when treatment is sought sooner rather than later.
When you’re injured in a car accident, there is no reason to delay treatment due to lack of insurance or while waiting for insurance approval. Here at Northeast Portland Chiropractic, we treat car accident cases with zero out-of-pocket cost to the patient. Call 503-493-9730.