In this blog we will discuss several topics related to automobile accidents including:
•How your body responds to an auto accident
•The first steps after an auto accident
•How to go about receiving treatment
•What a treatment for an auto accident looks like at IHS
How does your body respond to an automobile accident?
Car or automobile accidents are a far too common presentation in our clinic here at Integrated Health Solutions. They are also something that a majority of us will unfortunately experience at least once in our lifetime. The most immediate response to a car accident for most people is fear and anxiety. This is a natural reaction considering the circumstances that just took place. Now there are many different ways that a car accident can occur, and all too frequently the accident is something that comes by surprise.
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, your body begins to secrete things like adrenaline and endorphins to cope with the realization of the situation at hand. These hormones allow you to experience an elevated sense of mood as well as an increased sense of alertness. This is due to the activation of the sympathetic nervous response that takes place through the autonomic nervous system. This is also frequently referred to as the “fight or flight” response. These hormones also help block the sense of pain and stress which is why sometimes, a person in a car accident will actually appear more calm and rational.
The sympathetic nervous system is responsible for removing your body from situations that it interprets as dangerous. It allows your body to function and instigate life-saving reactions like elevating one’s heart rate, increasing one’s circulation and blood flow and even increasing the amount of oxygen admitted into the lungs by decreasing the tension and resistance in airway musculature. This allows the body to function in a state of crisis.
During the accident, the body will attempt to protect you in the best way that it knows possible through a process commonly referred to as “splinting”. This process enables the body to tighten and lock the muscles and ligaments which ultimately protects the more important structures like your bones, nerves and organs. Muscles and ligaments are the most frequently injured regions of the body due to this mechanism. Albeit somewhat annoying, the alternative is much more dangerous and significantly more life-threatening. The healing process for the muscles and ligaments is also much more rapid and has a plethora of treatment options. Depending on what direction the accident occurs and where the car is hit, a different group of muscles will activate in an attempt to minimize whiplash-like motions that can cause more damage. This occurs to prevent your body from hitting different parts of the car, namely the steering wheel, any windows, seats or even other passengers.
Although most people frequently speak about the physical detriment immediately subsequent to an auto accident, there is also a major mental and emotional component. Due to the increased release of the hormones spoken about earlier, after the effects have worn off, there is usually a delayed emotional effect that takes place. Most people usually experience stress and emotional trauma a few hours or possibly even days after the accident has occurred. This is also common with the pain accrued from a car accident, and is why some people will not begin to hurt or state problems until some time after the fact.
Stress is also almost always present with a car accident. Stress comes with the decision making process afterwards ranging from: should you go to the hospital or see a doctor, all the way to how does this impact my job and ability to live normally? This leads us into our next topic of discussion: the first steps after an accident.
The first steps after an accident:
In every accident, the first step should be to call “911” and report what has occurred. Now in minor instances, some might immediately exit the car to assess damages, speak with the other drivers and see if further involvement is required. Given the circumstances that most accidents occur under, it is recommended that you reach out to authorities immediately and discuss the situation.
Whenever it is most comfortable for you, some prefer waiting until authorities are present, the next step is exiting the vehicle and speaking with the other driver either directly or indirectly to discuss the insurance situation and exchange information. Depending on the circumstance of the accident (ie: hit and run, immediate medical attention required, etc) this may be done at a later time. Exchanging information is an imperative part of the process, so that those that are called in to assist you have all the necessary information.
In most cases, it is always recommended to visit a doctor, if not visit the ER immediately, to have a medically trained professional give you a proper examination and determine your potential need for further medical assistance. As discussed above, the body emits certain life-saving entities that can mask how you truly feel and what damage is actually present. Having tests run like x-rays, MRI’s, CT scans, etc can quickly diagnose any pertinent injury and ensure that you are not in further danger after the accident. Especially in cases of head trauma, like whiplash or when any contact with the head or face is made during the accident, it is always better to be safe than sorry and receive the proper medical attention.
Treatment should be the next step, as your health should take the highest priority. Finding a suitable treatment center for your care depends on many factors such as: the severity of your injuries, recommended treatment methods and proximity to you. An integrated office, like ourselves here at Integrated Health Solutions is a phenomenal place to seek treatment. As a car accident is a very encompassing situation, an encompassing treatment option allows for the most successful route to recovery.
Once cleared from further medical necessity, as that is the most important task at hand, then one may begin the process of handling the economic damages like your car, medical expenses and lost wages from time missed at work. This can either be done individually if you wish to handle these things on your own, but some prefer legal help from trained and experienced individuals to take those items off your plate. This leads us into our next discussion point, How to go about receiving treatment.
How to go about receiving treatment:
When it comes to receiving treatment, this can be done in a plethora of ways. Some individuals have a pre-existing facility for their care like Integrated Health Solutions, and choose to pay out of pocket for their care. Others choose to retain an attorney prior, and then receive their treatment at a center that is recommended to them by their attorney. A third way some clients find their treatment is to contact their car insurance through their medical payment or medpay, and rely on the recommendation of them. Any way that a patient chooses to select their facility of treatment, they should be looking for an option that has a wide approach to offers an accelerated healing plan with an integrated approach
The body responds optimally to overall musculoskeletal treatment which includes working not only with the bones and joints, but with muscle tension and spasticity as well as daily function and awareness to accelerate the healing process.
What a treatment for an auto accident looks like at IHS:
A patient who comes in for any first-time visit, let alone an auto accident, undergoes a new patient consultation and examination to determine the pertinent information and diagnose the degree and extent of any injury present. This exam will include information regarding the accident including: if you were driving or a passenger, what side of the vehicle the accident occurred on, testing or medical attention after the accident and even what your representation of choice for the duration of treatment will be. This allows the doctor to have a full range of knowledge to determine the best course of action and begin treatment. Treatment at Integrated Health Solutions includes four key pieces of treatment: medical acupuncture/dry needling, manual therapy soft tissue, chiropractic manipulation and functional/dynamic rehabilitation.
Medical acupuncture is a form of therapy given by the doctors here at IHS in order to affect change at the musculoskeletal system in the most effective manner. This treatment allows for proper healing to take place through increased blood flow and circulation to the restricted or damaged area, as well as decreased inflammation. This process occurs with each filament that is inserted, damaging up to 10,000 cells. This stimulates the biological healing process to truly take place by instigating the same sympathetic nervous system that takes hold during the accident.
Soft tissue manual therapy is the second form of treatment performed that involves a form of lymph flow, fiber alignment and improved circulation immediately after the dry needling is performed. This treatment option allows the splinted muscles after an auto accident to accelerate the healing process and perfuse the region with blood flow. This is typically performed with a Gua Sha tool, or by hand done with manual techniques such as active release therapy. Active release therapy allows for the muscle to be moved in conjunction with the associated pressure for a deeper and more lasting impact.
The chiropractic adjustment is the third piece of the treatment process at Integrated Health Solutions. As chiropractors, the doctors are proficient at assessing for joint and spinal misalignment and are able to give correction where needed. This allows for improved range of motion, decreased pain and improved nervous system communication. The adjustments, or manipulations, given at IHS are of a high velocity, low amplitude variety. This means the doctors are able to affect a great deal of change with lower intensity pressure for a more pleasant patient experience.
The last piece of the treatment process at IHS is the function and dynamic rehabilitation. This therapy assesses the patient as a whole and allows for not only accelerated improved, but lasting and continued improvement long after the treatment has taken place. This treatment empowers the patient to not only perform stretches and exercises to assist in the healing process, but to make them aware of harmful or dysfunctional lifestyle habits that either slow down the healing process or create future damage to the body. This includes core activity with improved spinal stability, assessment of sleeping positions and ergonomic posture and even daily manual therapy with stretches and self-applied tissue manipulation.
An auto accident can be a stressful and frighteningly difficult situation, and is unfortunately one that most of us will have to endure at some point in time. Your body will respond with not only physical, but mental and emotional damages that will linger if not properly treated.
There are several ways to respond and handle the immediate aftermath of a car accident, but physical and bodily health is the top priority. The first step after an accident is to call “911” and confirm that authorities are aware of the situation and help is dispatched. If immediate medical attention is required, it is always required to seek help at a hospital or other medical facility to determine the severity.
After seeking medical attention, dealing with insurance and/or an attorney is the next step to assist with the challenges of fault, economic charges and overall damage control. This entity will likely have a recommendation for a medical facility to seek treatment and begin to recover to pre-accident status.
A facility like Integrated Health Solutions is a great option for care as it applies a specific musculoskeletal treatment that effects change with not only joints, but muscles, ligaments and even ergonomic and rehabilitative levels.
IHS integrates a treatment consisting of medical acupuncture/dry needling, soft tissue manual therapy, chiropractic manipulation and functional/dynamic rehabilitation. This treatment process has yielded a great deal of success with client improvement and allows for the fastest recovery time.
Reach out to either of our offices in regards to questions about the treatment process, scheduling an appointment or getting yourself on the road to recovery. It is our pleasure to assist in the most optimal manner to allow for your exceptional customer experience!
Content provided by Dr. Jordan Miller
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