Regardless of the amount of vehicle damage, we know from experience that even the smallest of collisions can cause whiplash and injury. Yes, we have even received reports sent to an independent medical radiologist confirm substantial ligament damage on patients in collisions with little vehicle damage. We also know that most people involved in auto accidents do not get a thorough evaluation for ligament and spinal joint injuries, which can be present with and without symptoms.
If you or someone you know has been in an accident in the past 6 months, we highly recommend an appointment with an examination and proper x-rays to determine if any ligament damage is present. Left untreated, improper healing and recovery often leads to chronic/long term nagging and sometimes debilitating pain conditions.
As a service to our community, there is no charge for a consultation. In most cases, diagnosis and treatment of your injuries will be covered by your auto insurance policy or that of the insurance policy of the at fault vehicle, with no out-of-pocket cost to you. So please call us today at 317-774-2998 to know for sure the extent of your injuries and options to regain your health.
Frequently Asked Questions
Below is a list of frequently asked questions and answers:
How do you diagnose auto accident injuries?
Comprehensive Exam – This is done to determine to determine the following: what spinal joints may be injured, directs what other exams may be necessary, what other medical professionals that may need to be involved, and used in conjunction with other tests to produce a complete clinical evaluation.
X-rays – Our office takes the recommended x-rays to aid in the diagnosis of subluxations or misalignments of the spinal joints that often occur in whiplash injuries, as well as to rule out fractures or other contraindications that may require more invasive diagnosis and treatment. These x-rays are also used to determine how to specifically treat the patient. Additionally, stress x-rays are taken to determine whether the person has ligamentous damage, which can cause permanent misalignment and dysfunction of spinal joints.
Independent Radiology Report – If ligament damage is noted, films are sent to a medical radiologist for a detailed analysis and report of the exact joints affected and measurements of exactly how much damage is found. This information is instrumental in treatment determination and helpful in giving factual information to insurance companies and attorney’s to substantiate medical necessity of treatment and determine the extent of damages. (see sample report)
MRI – If certain symptoms or exam findings are present, or the patient is not responding to conservative treatment and/or x-ray analysis suggests intervertebral disc damage, the patient will be referred out for an MRI to establish the extent of damage and help to determine other potential recommendations for treatment.
What if I went to the hospital or Med-Check and was released?
At the hospital, the primary priority is to discover if there are any major medical issues, like fractures or internal bleeding. After major medical issues have been ruled out, often the patient is given medication for pain and inflammation and recommended to follow-up with their primary physician if they continue to have any symptoms. The patient often thinks that this means that they are fine and that with time everything will go back to normal. So many times the proper x-rays and examination to determine ligament damage and joint dysfunction is not done. Therefore, it is important to go to a physician trained in whiplash diagnosis and treatment.
What are the Warning Signs or Symptoms of Whiplash?
If you have been injured in an auto accident, you may be suffering from any of the following symptoms that are common with a whiplash type injury that occurs in auto accidents.
DON’T IGNORE THE WARNING SIGNS!
Headaches / Migraines
What treatment is required?
Depending on what is discovered from the exam and x-rays the following treatments and rationale may be recommended.
Chiropractic Care – Chiropractic is one of the most conservative and minimally invasive options for the treatment of musculoskeletal and joint conditions. If spinal joint dysfunction is improved and stabilized, conditions/symptoms routinely improve and delay or prevent the need for more invasive and costly medical treatment.
In Office Therapy – This includes biomechanically tested and approved active rehab to strengthen core muscles of the affected spinal areas and stretching of overly tight muscles/ligaments, electrical muscle stimulation to loosen/relax muscles, axial decompression, intersegmental traction, and ice/heat. The goal of these options is to help in the healing and strengthening of the soft tissues that surround and attach to the injured joints for the most stability and least likelihood of future relapses.
Active Therapy – This includes both in-office and at home rehab specific to the patient’s needs.
At-home Rehab – We strongly encourage patients to take an active and truly important role in their care. We routinely see improvement both symptomatically and on follow-up x-ray imaging, when the patient follows the recommended plan of both in office and at home treatment recommendations. And of course, the patient is very pleased and satisfied to feel better and actually see the change with their own eyes on their x-ray films.
Vertebral Axial Decompression – This is a good conservative option for the treatment of herniated/bulging discs and facet joint dysfunction. It is routinely used for disc issues in the neck and lower back.
There are 5 major injuries that occur from auto accidents according to the insurance research council: fractures (2%), concussions (11%), nerve compression and/or irritation (16%), disc herniations (25%) and spinal ligament injuries (87%). Standard X-rays, MRI and EMG/NCV are accurate tests for the first four injuries, however these tests DO NOT reveal spinal ligament injuries.
It is not uncommon to be injured in an auto accident and leave the ER or other medical facility being told tests are negative, you simply have a sprain/strain soft tissue injury and to simply take some anti-inflammatories or pain medication. If it is a grade I ligament sprain you will more than likely heal quickly without much treatment being necessary.
However, without proper biomechanical testing, there is no way to determine if the ligament tear is a Grade I (transient irritation) vs. a Grade II (partial tear) or Grade III (complete tear) of the spinal ligament.
Many people suffer with ongoing chronic neck pain, headaches or back pain after an auto accident after which they were told all the standard medical tests were negative. Ligament tears do not heal, they wound repair with scar tissue and without proper diagnosis and treatment in a timely manner may leave the patient with permanent pain and even a 25% whole body impairment according to the American Medical Association.
Dr. Ferris has completed extensive post-graduate course work in spinal biomechanical engineering, crash dynamics and medical-legal documentation to properly diagnose, treat and document your auto injuries.
Don’t let your injuries go undiagnosed and turn into permanent problems. A thorough exam including biomechanical imaging can prevent pain, muscle spasms and living with restrictions to your activities of daily living after an auto accident.
Automotive accidents can cause damage to soft tissues not easily diagnosed without a specialist. Many common treatments involve pain medication and muscle relaxers. While these treatments may temporarily alleviate neck pain and back pain, the underlying cause of your neck pain or back pain requires precise and delicate adjustments to properly realign your spine. Elite Spine is the only local central Indiana NUCCA treatment clinic dedicated to non-evasive adjustments to restore proper motion and function of your spine and alleviate the source of pain.
Regardless of the type of accident you were in or the severity of your injuries, we’ll be happy to discuss all your available treatment options with you. All patients receive our full attention during their appointments, and we want everyone to feel completely comfortable while at our office.
What are the consequences of not getting proper and timely treatment?
When ligaments are injured their function of keeping the spinal joints aligned and working properly is changed. The majority of healing to the torn and damaged ligaments occurs in the first few months up to year. If ligaments heal with spinal joints.
Accident and Injuries can tear these ligaments and cause spinal instability, pain, muscle spasm and stiffness.
The body lays down scar tissue to stabilize the damaged area. This scar tissue has 4 negative characteristics:
- More Nerve Endings
- Higher Nerve Sensitivity