As you might have read from some of our blog posts about what to do after being involved in a car accident, one of the first steps to take is to call 911 to let them know that there was an accident. If you have never been involved in a car accident though calling 911 for this reason may be completely foreign. Below is an excellent video that was done by a 911 operator explaining exactly how that call will probably go.
Recently I had a patient who had been involved in a car accident ask if the x-rays that we were taking of her neck were safe. I wanted to give a brief summary on what the current FDA statements on x-ray safety are and give you a couple resources where you can read more.The FDA estimates that the radiation from a chest ray is roughly equivalent to the background radiation you are exposed to in 10 days on this planet Earth.
The first consideration is that there is no difference between a chiropractic x-ray and any other type of x-ray. While some x-ray machines do vary by brand, what really matters is the part of your body being x-rayed. Different body tissues absorb radiation in different ways.
To give the public a way of monitoring their radiation exposure across many different sources, the FDA uses whats called an effective dosage scale. Each kind of x-ray has an effective dosage associated with it measured in millisieverts (mSv). Since millisieverts isn't a unit of measure most people are familiar with (like a mile or a teaspoon), having a reference value helps put the numbers in context. The FDA estimates that the average person is exposed to 3.0 millisieverts of radiation per year from naturally occurring radioactive materials and cosmic rays. That's what allows them to state that a 0.1 millisievert dosage from a chest x-ray is equivalent to about 10 days of background radiation exposure.
Compared to a chest x-ray, x-rays of the extremities (arms and legs) have a much lower effective dosage and x-rays of the lower torso have a higher effective dosage. Recall that the effective dosage comes mainly from the body part being imaged not the intensity or duration of the x-ray machine pulse. Here's a summary of effective dosages and background radiation equivalents for the various types of x-rays a chiropractor is likely to recommend:
• Extremities - 0.001 mSv – similar to 3 hours background radiation
• Chest - 0.1 mSv - similar to 10 days background radiation
• Spine - 1.5 mSv - similar to 6 months background radiation
The FDA states on its own website "Don't refuse an X-ray. The risk of not having a needed X-ray is greater than the small risk of radiation."
The FDA website and the excellent radiologyinfo.org website from the American College of Radiology and the Radiological Society of North America both point out that disease risks from radiation exposure are cumulative across time and that patients play a critical role in tracking their own exposure levels. Since you may be working with multiple health care providers in different specialty areas, you should keep a log of your exposures. Here is a link to a site where you can download a personal Patient Medical Imaging Record: http://imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
Note that this article refers to effective exposures and recommendations for adults. If you are pregnant or looking for x-ray safety information for children, visit imagegently.org
Consumer Updates Reducing Radiation from Medical X rays. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from FDA.gov: http://www.fda.gov/ForConsumers/ConsumerUpdates/ucm095505.htm
Patient Safety X ray and CT. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from Radiologyinfo.org: http://www.radiologyinfo.org/en/safety/index.cfm?pg=sfty_xray
Radiology Risks Benefits for Patients Image Wisely Image Wisely. (n.d.). Retrieved 8 29, 2011, from ImageWisely.org: http://imagewisely.org/Patients.aspx
Car accidents are becoming an avoidable epidemic. This infographic shows the effects that these accidents can have.
"Bellevue pedestrian killed in crash with car" was the headline on December 1st of last year. Once again, a completely avoidable tragedy from a car accident. A 77 year old woman was struck and killed by a driver early on the morning of December 1st. The reason? "Icy car windows that were not defrosted and failing to look right for pedestrians contributed to the fatality". If the driver had taken a few more minutes to wait for their windows to clear, odds are they would have seen the pedestrian and this tragedy would have been avoided.
Please, take your time in the mornings, see your surrounding and where you are going before leaving your drive way. For the full story: http://www.kirotv.com/news/news/bellevue-pedestrian-killed-crash-car/njJWp/
On my way into work this morning I noticed, and heard the car in front of me tailgating and honking at the car in front of him. We were on a two lane stretch of residential road where the speed limit was 35 miles per hour and there are plenty of school buses and children around. As far as I could tell the car that the driver was honking ats only problem was that they were going the speed limit (which obviously was too slow for the guy in front of me). As he was throwing up his hands in frustration he whipped his car around and passed the driver in front of him. Thankfully no one was injured, but this is something I see more and more often as a cause of car accidents...impatience and being in a hurry.
Being late for work does not justify putting other people and yourself in danger. Use these simple tips to avoid a car accident.
1. Leave yourself plenty of time to get to where you are going
2. Use http://www.navbug.com/washington/bellevue_traffic.htm to check traffic conditions that may slow you down.
3. Use your smart phone to find alternate routes if you get frustrated with sitting in traffic
4. Take a deep breath!
Largest BlueCross/Blue Shield Study of it Kind---Over Ten Years it Shows Regular Chiropractic Care Would Reduce Overall Healthcare Costs By 50%
This ground breaking study has massive implications in general health care as well as car accident injury's. Done in 2007, and can be summed up with this statement, "“My research, conducted over a ten-year period utilizing clinical and cost outcomes data from one of the nation’s largest insurance underwriters, suggest that the regular utilization of chiropractic could reduce the need for hospitalization, pharmaceutical usage and overall global health care costs by almost 50 percent.”
All too often the thing we think about first after an auto accident is our car, but the damage to your body may be far worse.
Many of my patients are surprised to find themselves in pain days, weeks or even months after having had a car accident.. Obviously, if you have been in a major accident, go directly to the E.R. so you can be treated for cuts, organ damage, broken bones or other serious trauma's. After any life-threatening emergencies have been treated, it is a good idea to visit a chiropractor.
As a Chiropractor I am skilled in addressing the dysfunctions in the musculoskeletal system that so often happen after being involved in an car accident, especially any misaligned bones. The injury suffered in the neck following a crash can be quite bad, even resulting in postconcussion syndrome and what we call TBI's, or traumatic brain injury's, that may keep you from fully healing. An auto accident can pinch nerves and cause damage to your bones, tendons and ligaments supporting the spine.
The most common condition that I treat as a chiropractor following a car accident is what is called cervical acceleration/deceleration injury's, more commonly known as whiplash. Whiplash from being rear-ended can cause a great amount of chronic, ongoing pain. Though the introduction of seat belts has helped save lives, it can contribute to these types of whiplash injury's. When hit from behind, the seat belt keeps your body from being hurled forward, though, there is no such restraint on your head. What first happens is that your chest, while being supported by the back of your seat, jolts forward, but your unsupported head and neck snaps back. This can cause the neck to go too far back, well beyond its normal capacity, tearing the muscles and ligaments in the front of your neck. Then when your car stops moving your body is flung forward, restrained by your safety belt, but there is nothing to keep your head and neck from being sent forward, injuring the muscles and ligaments in the back of your neck and head.
You may not feel much immediately after a car accident, but do not let that fool you that you have not been injured. This is most likely because your body's natural pain-killing endorphins, like adrenalin, are released when you are injured, masking any pain. You may later experience neck pain, headaches, dizziness or pain radiating into the shoulder and down into your arms or hands.
Many of my patients have experienced relief and stability after an caraccident from headaches, lower back pain, neck pain and even jaw pain. A study in the Journal of Orthopedic Medicine found that 93% of people suffering from pain and symptoms of chronic whiplash experienced improvement under chiropractic care. Chiropractic has been shown to be extremely effective in helping with pain after a car accident and lowering the likelihood of it becoming a long term problem.
Car accidents can lead to a host of injury's to the human body. Our current understanding of car accident injury's is that the ligaments of the spine are most damaged during these collisions. Monohar Panjabi is one of the foremost authorities on these types of injury's and what they do to the human body. Below is an article he wrote on this subject. This understanding of the car accident injury, also validates why chiropractic patients respond so favorably following a car accident.
In our last blog post we talked about the first step to take if your are involved in a car accident in Bellevue, WA. In today's post we are going to walk through the second step you want to take.
2. Make sure everyone in your car is OK, then make sure the other driver is OK, then call the police.
Car accidents, especially on the busy streets and highways of Bellevue, can be VERY dangerous things. Head injury's, broken bones, cuts, and a whole host of other injury's can occur during a car accident. Because of this you want to make sure that everyone is OK and does not need any special attention for their injury's. Make sure that no one passed out, or hit their heads and that no one is bleeding. Once you have secured your own car, go and check on the other drivers involved, and ask them the same questions. If someone is seriously hurt make sure to call 911 and stay with them until help arrives.
If everyone is OK, the next thing you need to do is get all cars off to the side of the road as to avoid another collision and call the police. Most experts will agree that if there is any damage or any injury's that an officer needs to take account for what happened and file a report. As a physician I get to hear a lot of story's about different kinds of accidents and recently I have seen a ton of drunk driver accidents and in each situation the drunk driver has asked my patient to not call the police. Another reason that a driver may ask you to not call the police is that they say that they will pay you out of pocket to fix your car or your injury's. Even if you are approached and asked to not call the police it is very important that you still do.
You never know how things will turn out or what story's may be told in the future and for this reason a police report is vital. Also if there are any injuries that need to be dealt with or an unsafe accident scene that could harm your safety a policeman or highway patrol can help manage the accident scene.
If you are involved in a Bellevue car accident please make sure everyone is OK, then call the police. In our next blog post we will be discussing step 3 to take following an accident which is to contact your insurance company.
Driving here on the Eastside can sometimes be a dangerous activity. No one WANTS to get into an accident, but with the amount of traffic, distracted drivers, and irresponsible drivers (drunk drivers, aggressive drivers, road rage, etc...) they do happen. Here is the first step to follow if you are in an car accident here in Bellevue.
1. Make sure to be prepared.
Being prepared for an accident before an accident ever happens is one of if not the most important step to take. It is my experience working with auto injury patients for the last 12 years that the people who are well prepared before they ever get into an accident have a far less traumatic experience. The best example I have of this is if you have ever been pulled over by a police officer. The times that I have put all of my relevant information, licence, title, etc... into one envelope that I hand the police officer, my experience has been very low stress. Its the time that my tittle is buried in the glove compartment and I cant find anything that I am the most stressed. So what does it mean to be prepared?
First off, preparation starts when you are buying your auto insurance policy. Know exactly what you are buying and that you have enough insurance to protect for the worst case scenario. Do your research and make sure you are protecting your health, your family and your car.
Secondly, it means having all of the tangible things you need following an accident at arms length. Have all of your insurance information available, company, policy number, and any phone numbers in your glove compartment and in your wallet in case the glove compartment is damaged. Also, if your cell phone does not have a good camera it is good practice to have a disposable camera to take pictures of the scene and your cars. And lastly, a pen and paper to take down all of the other drivers information.
If you are in a car accident in Bellevue, make sure you are prepared for the worst. In our next blog post we will continue this series on the steps to take following a motor vehicle accident.
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.