Questions and Answers

Questions and Answers

What do you do after an auto accident in Oregon?

Here is a checklist according to the Oregon DMV:

  • Stop at once.
  • Render aid.
  • Exchange driver information.

Report the accident to DMV if there were damages over $1,500 to the vehicles or property, if anyone was injured or killed, or if any vehicle is towed due to damages from the accident.  Fill out an Accident and Insurance Report Form within 72 hours. Accidents on areas open for the use of motor vehicles — premises open to the public — must be reported.  Some drivers who are in accidents offer to fix the damage and try to get the other driver not to file a report. If you agree to do this, you are breaking the law if the amount of damage is more than $1500.  Keep a copy of your accident report. Under Oregon law 802.220(5), DMV cannot provide you a copy of your Accident Report.  If you wish to have a complete copy of your report (front and back), you will need to make a copy for your records.

When should I get a “check-up” after an accident? 

Make an appointment immediately for yourself and anyone in the car with you within 48 hours of the accident.  By seeking immediate care you will prevent underlying injuries from rapidly progressing.  It is not uncommon for pain to begin up to several weeks after an accident.  Even if there is no immediate pain, an initial exam will protect you in the future should complications arise.

Do I need to see an MD first?

Chiropractic Physicians are the standard of care for auto accidents and do not need a referral from an MD to begin treatment. Most patients get max benefit from the massage/exercise/adjustments at our clinic and do not need pain medication. However we always encourage a second opinion and often we will refer to an MD if we feel pain medication is needed.

What happens to the human body after an Auto Accident?

The force of an automobile collision snaps your body forward and backward.  This is commonly called Whiplash, though it is technically a Hyperextension-Hyperflexion injury.  The average head weighs about 8 pounds, and the cervical vertebrae are very delicate; the forces that go through the neck are greater than believed.  Common injuries are:

  • Ligament Tears/Sprains.
  • Joint Damage.
  • Rib and Chest Damage.
  • Muscle and Tendon Tears/Strains.
  • Cartilage Tears.
  • Disc Tears and Bulges.
  • Disc Herniations.
  • Nerve Damage.
  • Fractures.

This damage can lead to headaches, muscle spasm, trigger points, neck/midback/low back pain, shoulder/elbow/wrist pain, hips/knee/ankle pain, nerve pain, carpal tunnel, TMJ, etc.

Does the damage to my car equate to the damage to me? 

No.  Research has shown that serious injury can take place at as little as 5 mph!  The amount of damage to your car cannot be directly correlated to the amount of damage done to your body.

Is it just a “soft tissue injury?”

Most injuries from Auto Accidents are soft tissue injuries, however this does not mean there is only a muscle strain.  Soft tissue injury means there was not only damage done to muscles, but also to ligaments, joints, cartilage, and discs.  Muscles have a good blood supply, while these other structures do not, which means it takes longer for these structures to heal.  Occupation has a big role in how long it takes to heal –  most people have to go back to work where there is prolonged sitting/standing/lifting, which dramatically affects healing time.

Why did it take days before my pain started?

25% of Auto Accident pain and symptoms don’t appear until several days after an accident.  This is because there are less pain receptors in the deep soft tissues compared to the skin. All of this means that it takes longer for the inflammatory chemicals and swelling to accumulate and produce pain.

What are the Auto Accident Statistics? 

  • 30-50% of injuries result in permanent injuries that require extended follow-up care.
  • 64% of whiplash injuries that cause impairments are from rear-end crashes.
  • 85% time the struck vehicle was stopped.
  • 4% of those injured will report concussions.
  • 80% of mild head injury cases had chronic daily headaches for several months after injury.
  • Spinal Joints (Facet Joints) are the primary location of neck injury and pain.
  • Male vs. Female:  Women claim about twice the number of injuries compared to men.  Compared to men, women have slower recovery, require more treatment, have weaker neck muscles, and have higher frequency of chronic pain following an auto accident.
  • Those who have a poorer prognosis (treatment takes longer):  older drivers, pre-existing degenerative conditions, prior whiplash, prior neck/low back pain, delayed treatment after the accident.

What is the best treatment for an Auto Accident?

The best studies, along with our clinical experience, shows that Chiropractic combined with Massage, Physiotherapy, and sometimes Acupuncture has the fastest and best long-term results.  Most of our treatments start with Chiropractic Adjustments and Massage, then gradually works into Physiotherapy (therapeutic exercises, stretching, posture training, mechanical traction, ice/heat, etc) to give long-term relief.

The body doesn’t only need to heal, but needs to heal correctly to ensure there is no long-term pain or scar tissue.

Will I need an x-ray/MRI?

Referral for imaging depends on the condition, however most patients are referred out for x-ray as it is a reliable screening for blunt trauma.

Cold Laser

Cold laser, or Low Level Light Therapy, is a physiotherapy modality we use to increase healing time in an injury.  Cold Laser is an FDA-approved use of specific wavelengths of light (red and near infrared) to aid in healing at the cellular level.  It works by increasing ATP (Adenosine Triphosphate – the body’s cellular energy unit) after the light is absorbed at the injured area.  In turn there is increased tissue repair, reduced inflammation, and decreased pain at the injured area.  Treatment lasts around 8 minutes is completely pain-free.

How do I know if I’m covered for treatment?

The best way to confirm that your treatment will be covered is to contact our clinic. Our friendly staff is happy to help you find the answers you’re looking for.