Did you know that 20% of car accidents occur in parking lots? This should not surprise me, because if you have ever been to Costco on a Saturday, that parking lot is a zoo! This is a really good video on how to avoid a parking lot car crash, and if you are in one, what to do.
This is a very common thing for me to hear from a patient who was injured in a car accident. Pain down the leg can possibly be something called sciatica.
Sciatica is a term referring to severe pain in the leg. It is often accompanied by numbness, weakness and tingling sensation originating in the lower back and traveling downwards through the buttock. These sensations travel through the large sciatic nerve present in the back of the leg.
The most common cause of sciatica and back pain following a car accident is the sheer force that the seat belt places on the lower back and the associated nerves. When involved in a car crash, your seat belt anchors your hips down to your seat, and the forces of being hit cause the area directly above the seat belt to move forward. This creates a sheering force across the fifth and last bone in the back and all of the nerves associated with it. On top of this sheering force the resultant injury causes the body to spasm and this pinches all of the nerves around the spasm in the muscles
Sciatic pain can be very severe and can be felt in the lower back region, buttocks, and various parts of leg and foot. People suffering from sciatica will find it difficult to walk, or even get up from bed.
Some of the common symptoms of sciatica are:
1. Tingling or burning sensation in the leg
2. Weakness in the leg or foot, difficulty in movements
3. Sharp pain that may make it difficult to get up or walk
4. Pain in one side of the buttock or in one leg
There are 2 cases though in which immediate medical attention has to be sought:
1. Progressive weakness in leg
2. Urinary or bowel incontinence
People with the above symptoms may have cauda equina syndrome and should to directly to the emergency room.
Treatment for Sciatica:
Sciatica is a symptom of an underlying problem such as herniated disc. In order to treat sciatica, the underlying problem has to be determined. There are various ways to treat sciatica. Surgery is only required in severe cases, otherwise this problem can be treated with non-surgical treatment methods.
Chiropractic care has been shown to be extremely helpful with sciatic pain. In fact it is one of the things that we specialize in here at Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic. Back exercises, stretching exercises, healthy diet, and massage can also be extremely helpful in eliminating sciatica. There are numerous natural and home remedies to ease the suffering. Here are a few things you can try:
1. Taking turmeric daily can help in reducing some of the nagging pain because of the anti-inflammatory agents in tumeric.
2. You can apply winter green oil to the affected leg for relieving the muscle pain.
3. You should not be still for extended periods of time. You have to keep moving, but not too fast to aggravate the pain. When you sit or lie down for a long time, the muscles will tighten, thus increasing the pain.
If you are suffering with sciatica since your car accident, please give us a call at 425-635-0495. We would love to see if you are a candidate for the type of care that we deliver for car accident victims.
Every car accident doctor is very different in their approach to treating your spine and body. This is a good thing because not every body was created the exact same and they all differ in how they respond to care. The following are things that I tell my family to look for when looking for a car accident doctor out of state and what you should be looking for in a doctor of chiropractic.
1. Do they have a technique (how they treat you) that is best for your body? Again, remember what I stated above. Not all chiropractors do things the same way and not all ways will work for your individual body. So how do you know? First off if you are queasy AT ALL about the "snap, crackle, pop" that comes from a hands on treatment, then that is not right for you, and you need a more like the Proadjuster or the activator. Next, if you have ever received a "deep tissue" massage and been worse afterwards then a heavier chiropractic treatment is not for you. If you are looking for a call Bellevue Whiplash Center at Back in Action Chiropractic today and schedule a free consultation to discuss your health concerns.
2. Do they have a way of analyzing your ENTIRE body? Yes, from the tips of your toes to the top of your head. It is important to assess you as a whole, because we are one big connected chain. Something in your feet could potentially cause back pain. Something in your shoulders could give you head aches. So, ask if they have a way to assess your feet such as digital scans of the foot, do they have ways to look at your arms and shoulders? Now it may not be necessary to do all of these tests on every person, but it is important that they have the ability to.
3. Does the chiropractor continue his education above and beyond the "required" hours to renew their license? The health care field is changing on a daily basis. New research is coming out all the time, and if every chiropractor does not stay up to date on what is new then they are not giving their patients the best care available. Every chiropractor in the United States has to have a certain number of continuing education each year. What I have found is that this amount is far less than what is necessary to keep up to date.
4. Do they do rehabilitation or prescribe exercises? This is a vital component to getting better. I tell my patients all the time "I can put you back together all day long, but until your muscles can hold you there you are going to have ongoing problems". This does not have to be complex, but it does have to be a part of getting you better.
Each of these things are vital when looking for someone to trust your health and well being with following a car accident. If you live in Washington state, give us a call today and we would be glad to see if we can help you with your injuries. If you live out of state, give us a call and we can help you find someone close by who might be able to assist you in getting better.
photo credit: Cast Aluminum Doctor with Stethoscope (New Kensington, PA) via photopin (license)
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/
Car Accidents can create considerable injury to the human body. All too often these injury's are underestimated and can leave the injured with life long disability, because it was not properly dealt with. Below is a fantastic video showing the stages that take place in the human body following a car accident and how it relates to how long it may take to get better.
One complication that I come across quite regularly when treating my patients for their car accident injury's, is that they still have to fly for work. Flying is one of the hardest activities on our body's and if you are struggling with injury's on top of it all it can make it even worse.
Flying presents many health challenges to frequent fliers. The overall stress, the lack of a consistent healthy diet, the extended periods of sitting, the effects of cabin air and the discombobulation of jet lag, all take their toll on the frequent flier.
To deal with the ever-present stress of flying, avoid the chemical (medication, alcohol, etc.) and aim for more spiritual/physical, such as meditation or deep relaxation. Although some airports offer lounges for frequent fliers, sometimes the best option is a pair of noise-cancelling headphones and a meditation tape.
Medical reports have shown that long periods of sitting are significantly detrimental to health and there have been cases where long-haul flights have caused fatal instances of deep-vein thrombosis due to prolonged sitting. Frequent fliers are well advised to stretch regularly, either by getting up and walking the isles or by performing in-seat stretches. These can include neck stretching (tilting ear to shoulder and slowly rolling the head forward and down towards the other ear), back stretching (holding the armrests while twisting the chest to the left and right) and shoulder/arm stretching (placing the palm of the right hand at the nape of the neck, holding the right elbow with the left hand with the left elbow facing upwards and pulling the right elbow gently to the left, and then repeat the procedure on the other side).
A balanced regular diet is essential for health, regardless of occupation, but can be a challenge in airports due to the demands of boarding times and the temptations of fast food. Avoid processed and packaged foods, opting instead for fresh fruit that can easily be brought onboard. Whenever possible, eat at airport establishments that offer freshly cooked meals with fresh ingredients.
Hydration is very important when flying since cabin air is often exceptionally dry. Drink lots of water even though this might increase your number of trips to the toilet. Think of your trips to the toilet as a plus as it gets you out of seat and gives you another chance to stretch. Avoid in-flight alcohol and caffeinated drinks, as these will exacerbate your dehydration. Do not use the tap water from aircraft restrooms, as these are not meant to be potable.
Jet lag requires preparation and post-flight management in order to minimize its effects. For those fliers who will be returning to their point of departure in a short time, maintaining the same sleeping schedule (as much as possible) is highly recommended. For those staying in the destination’s time zone for longer than a day or so, adapting to the new time zone early by using a light box can significantly improve recovery from jet lag. Avoiding alcohol and caffeine, which alter sleeping patterns, can help to reduce jet lag. Switch to the new time zone immediately on arrival and avoid thinking about the time back home.
As a frequent flier, be sure to treat yourself to any airport facilities that help reduce stress and care for the body in healthy ways (massages, quiet rooms, etc.) and avoid those that provide only short-term pain relief.
"1 person killed, 3 others injured in fiery car crash near Bellevue". This was the headline September 12, 2013, and it could have been avoided. I know this because the majority, if not all car accidents can be avoided. They can be avoided by slowing down, don't get distracted, know where you are going so you don't have to look at your phones map, don't text, preset your radio stations, do not drive angry, DON'T DRIVE DRUNK, DON'T DRIVE BUZZED, if you are physically impaired do not drive, fix mechanical problems in your car, slow down when the conditions are bad, use your headlights properly, and for goodness sakes use common sense!
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.