I recently had a patient come to see me after an auto accident they were involved in who was in quite a bit of pain. As we got to talking though, it became obvious that it was not the pain that they were currently in that concerned them the most, it was if they would be able to run in marathons again following this significant injury. "Will my injuries heal to 100% and allow me to partake in running again like I was able to do before?" The good news is that with appropriate treatment, motor vehicle injuries can heal without leaving you with residual problems. The bad news is that a large percentage of traumatic injuries will have residual problems.
In one study published in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, the authors
followed up on patients involved in motor vehicle collisions approximately fi-
fteen years earlier. The authors wanted to know whether patients, fifteen ye-
ars after cervical injury, had improved or worsened symptoms, and whether
psychological variables played a role in the patient's condition. A group of six-
ty one patients was studied. All had presented to the same emergency depar-
tment in England after car collision-related soft tissue injury to the neck. Forty
were available for the follow-up. Ninety percent of this group had been involv-
ed in rear-end motor vehicle collisions. (From Injury to Action: Navigating Your
Personal Injury Claim, Richard H. Adler, Chapter 31, Page 130)
What the study found was quite surprising. They found that 70% of the patients were still experiencing some sort of symptoms. Of that 70%, 42% of the injured had moderate to severe symptoms. Of the 61 patients 28% of them had actually gotten worse over the years. It was found that the patients who had radiating pain at the time of the injury typically had the worst outcomes. The researchers also found that there was definitely a correlation between the patients pain and depression symptoms.
In my opinion the thing that gives an injured person the best chance for a positive outcome to their injuries is two fold: 1. Know the extent of your injuries via in-depth and thorough diagnostics, including video flouroscopy if involved in a whiplash type injury. 2. Receive the appropriate treatment for your injuries to its completion.
The consequences of not receiving treatment for injuries sustained in a car accident can potentially follow you the rest of your life. I love this video, which shows a neck over time and the degenerative process.
Please do not wait to receive care for your whiplash injuries. The sooner we can start a treatment program the easier it is for the body to heal.
Recently I had a patient come in for their treatment who had recently been in a car accident. We checked their pulse oxygenation levels, which simply put is the percentage of oxygenation found in the blood, and found that their levels were 83%. Now normally I want to see those levels closer to 97-98% so this was extremely low. Low oxygen levels can be extremely common following a car accident as the seat belt typically creates an injury pattern across the ribs, thus decreasing the bodies ability to breathe deeply. Low oxygen levels can slow healing time, increase pain, and decrease your brains ability to adapt to the healing process.
Check out this quick video that describes the importance of oxygen and how you can fix this issue.
This is a question that a hear often, so here is a quick video answering that question...
More than anything, make sure you do SOMETHING following a car accident, and a whiplash injury. After you get that ice on your neck and back, make sure you give us a call at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic at 425-635-0495 to schedule your car accident evaluation.
“I was in a small car accident last month. It was really no big deal, I was stopped in traffic and the guy behind me was not paying attention and rear ended me going 30 miles an hour. Since then, I can’t turn my head to the right, my right arm is numb, and I can’t sleep through the night. I went to my family doctor and he eventually gave me a muscle relaxer, an anti-inflammatory and a pain pill. I can sleep better but I hate that groggy feeling I get in the morning and to be honest, the pain is about the same. Is there anything chiropractic can do for me?”
This type of case presentation is something we see at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic all the time. Often, the treatment options offered by family doctors have side effects that can sometimes be more annoying than the condition being treated. Not only that but there may be underlying injurys as a result of the whiplash that may be creating your pain and leave you with life long disability. So the question is, “what can a chiropractor do for neck pain following a car accident?”
Neck pain following a whiplash injury is frequently caused by one or more of the 7 vertebra in the neck shifting out of alignment and literally, getting stuck – losing its ability to bend and rotate when we move our head and neck. It’s like taking one worker away from a group of 7 and asking the remaining 6 workers to do the same amount of work. This leads to all kinds of over-compensation in the other 6 vertebrae and can even alter function in the mid-back, as well. Depending on which nerve(s) get irritated, problems can include headaches, shoulder blade pain, arm pain, numbness and/or weakness. Another common problem that occurs when neck pain is present are muscle spasms in the neck area. This is due to a reflex reaction where the brain receives the pain signals from the neck and in response, sends signals back to the muscles to tighten in attempt to protect the problem. This becomes a “vicious cycle” and may continue until the joint is unlocked or released, which is the purpose of the chiropractic adjustment.
Chiropractic treatment for whiplash injuries works great because we are using a physical (not a chemical) form of treatment to unlock the joint, which in turns shuts off the signals from the joint to the brain and in turn, the protective muscle spasm discontinues. Sometimes, the improvement is immediate but more often, several treatments may be required to move the body towards healing. In general, the recovery time is shorter the closer to the time of the car accident you are treated, so obtaining an appointment immediately is wise. We can also show you methods of exercising the neck at home between treatments, which also speeds up the recovery time.
If you, a family member or a friend require care, we sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence shown by choosing our service. Being involved in a car accident can be a scary thing, and we appreciate everything that you are going through. We are proud that chiropractic care has consistently scored the highest level of satisfaction when compared to other forms of health care provision and we look forward in serving you and your family presently and in the future.
Almost on a weekly basis, we have come in to see us following a car accident and tell us that they have full medical coverage through their motor vehicle insurance that will pay for all of their care. When we call their insurance, as we do with all car accident patients to find out the details of their claim, it turns out they have no personal injury protection also known as PIP. All to often when we are shopping for car insurance we are looking for the best rate, and in doing so we may be signing up for inadequate coverage. My patients thought they were signing up for full coverage, but in reality were only signing up for liability insurance. This all to often leaves these people between a rock and a hard place, and I have found it is such an easy preventative fix.
Whats the answer? Call up your insurance broker or log on to your online account and make sure you have the full amount of PIP coverage. Washington requires all drivers to have what is called liability insurance at a minimum of $25,000 per person/$50,000 per accident, which means that if in an accident they will cover any damages that you created. Washington law requires that the insurance company offer PIP, but it is not mandatory that everyone have it. If you decline signing up for PIP you must either put it in writing, or sign electronically. The majority of the time this is where most get into trouble, in that they are purchasing insurance online, and the box that you must check to decline PIP blends in with all of the other box's that you are checking.
Personal injury protection pays for any and all medical expense, in some cases even pays for wage loss, loss of essential services like house cleaning, and even funeral benefits. In Washington the minimum amount that you can have is $10,000 and you can buy up to $35,000 worth of coverage. You can see that the difference between having $10,000 worth of essential medical care and potential not having anything can be devastating.
Another reason that some decline getting PIP coverage is that someone told them that their health insurance covers all medical treatment if one is injured in a car accident. While this may be true, it is not the best advise. General insurance typically is bound by deductables that you will have to meet before they will start to pay, capped visit amounts and restrictions on what they may and may not cover, where PIP does not typically have these same restrictions.
I have seen far too much heart ache come from inadequate or no insurance and I would hate for you to be stuck in this same predicament. A great place to go to get a better understanding of what your insurance coverage is, is the Washington State Insurance Commissioner. You can find their common sense, easy to understand website at www.insurance.wa.gov. If you have any other questions we would be thrilled to be able to help in any way that we can. Please call Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic at 425-635-0495 today.
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by, Ryan Pauley
After you’ve decided that you need a personal injury attorney, you have to decide which one to select. Although there are thousands of attorneys practicing personal injury law in the Bellevue and Seattle area, the following should help you narrow your search to the best person who can represent you.
Narrow Your Search – The first step in locating an attorney is to narrow your search to attorneys who specifically practice personal injury law. I know this is a basic step, but it cannot be under estimated because not all lawyers practice personal injury law. In fact, most have no experience in this area whatsoever. I’ll admit that before becoming a personal injury attorney, I, like many others, thought that personal injury was as a basic area that any attorney could practice. However, after practicing in this area for the last two years I can tell you that it is a highly complex area and the attorney must donate at least a substantial portion of his or her practice be effective.
Narrow it Again – Once you’ve narrowed your search to personal injury lawyers, narrow it again and find a personal injury attorney that has experience representing clients who have been injured in the same way as you. For example, if you’ve been involved in a low impact car accident, find a personal injury attorney that focuses his or her personal injury practice on low impact car accidents. Conversely, if you’ve been injured in the course of treatment by a doctor or other health care professional, narrow your search to personal injury attorneys who specialize in medical malpractice. Again, personal injury law is very broad and has many unique practice areas. Therefore, you need to find a personal injury attorney who has experience representing plaintiffs that have experienced an injury similar to yours.
Find out the fee – Personal injury attorneys generally charge a contingency fee. This means that there are no upfront attorney fees, but the attorney will receive a percentage of any settlement he or she recovers for you. In a contingency fee situation, if you recover nothing, your attorney receives no fees from you. The most common amount is thirty-three percent of the total recovered but that could increase if your case requires a trial. If the attorney refuses to take your case on a contingency, I suggest going elsewhere.
Communication not Location – Communication with the attorney is much more important than his or her location. Years ago it was important to have a lawyer that was a few minutes from your work or home. However, thanks to cell phones and email, this is no longer the case. During the course of the representation, you will likely meet with your attorney between two to five times. In contrast, you’ll speak, or should speak, to him or her more than thirty times. Therefore, it should be much easier to contact your attorney than to physically see him or her. In addition, to facilitate communication with your attorney, make sure you have the attorney’s direct line and email address. Also, arrange a time and day to speak every two weeks on the phone so that you can provide one another with updates on the case.
Like the Lawyer and the Person – After narrowing down your choices using the above criteria, it will ultimately come time to meet with the attorney or attorney(s) during an initial consult. First, if you have personal injury case, the initial consult should be free. If an attorney attempts to charge you for an hour of his or her time, take your business elsewhere. Assuming the consult is free this will be your opportunity to learn about the attorney. During the consult I suggest asking the lawyer to explain his or her experience and why he or she believes they are the most qualified attorney to represent you. In addition to these professional questions, make sure to get an idea of who the attorney is as a person. Remember, you will be spending significant time dealing with this individual. Therefore you should have a good idea of who they are before you agree to form this professional relationship.
In addition to learning about the merit’s of your case, the initial consult will serve two other purposes for the client. First, you will learn more about the attorney professionally and personally. Second you will see a glimpse of the attorney’s advocacy skills as he or she attempts to persuade you to retain him or her as your lawyer. If after this conversation, you believe the attorney is the right person from the job, then your search is over. If you don’t feel confident with the attorney, don’t be afraid to keep looking for another “needle”.
Ryan Pauley is an attorney with Pauley Law Group in Seattle Washington, and serves clients in both Seattle and the Eastside (Bellevue, Kirkland). Ryan’s personal injury practice focus on injuries resulting from low impact car accidents. Ryan earned his law degree from Seattle University School of Law in May 2008 where he graduated with honors. During law school, Ryan worked in the legal department at Insightful Corporation where he drafted and reviewed contracts and licensing agreements. Ryan also volunteers as a lawyer at the Ronald A. Peterson Law Clinic where he is working on a clemency petition for a man convicted under Washington State’s “three strikes” law.
If you would like to contact Mr. Pauley you can call his office at 206-684-9454 ext. 9654, or email him directly at email@example.com If you would like more information about Mr. Pauley please visit his web site at http://www.pauleylawgroup.com.
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Dr. Michael Weir is the clinic director at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. We will also be hosting a variety of relevant guest bloggers to help you understand your injuries better.