FAQ (FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS)
Q) Should I go to the Emergency
Room after the accident?
A) You must make that decision for yourself. It is
the case that in the emergency rooms of a smaller town
hospital, you may not get quite as thorough an examination
as in a larger town. If you feel you are injured enough to go
then you probably should, and if there are EMTs who arrive
on the scene and feel you should be checked out at the ER,
you probably should go.
Q) What should a Chiropractic doctor do to check out
A) Again, it depends on how serious and extensive your
injuries are. For example, if you are burned badly, you
probably should receive wound care at a nearby hospital,
and similarly, if you have fractures of the extremities, you
need immediate attention to those. Often, a patient presents
to the ER and has life threatening, or internal injuries ruled
out at the ER, and is released to follow up with either their
personal physician or personal Chiropractic doctor.
Of course, ANY doctor should take a competent
find out what pre-existing conditions you may have that
may be adversly affected by the trauma sustained in an MVA
(motor vehicle accident) or which may be a complicating factor
in management of your injuries. Based on the physical examination
findings, symptoms, visual inspection, orthopaedic and neurological
indicators, the doctor should obtain those diagnostic imaging
procedures, lab tests, or other elements needed to arrive at the
Any doctor will want to rule out things like internal
brain damage, cord damage, etc., and if they cannot be ruled
out, proper referrals and proper management procedures must be
X-rays (if not contraindicated by conditions such as
are usually appropriate to rule out fractures, or other co-existing
problems which may contraindicate some therapeutic interventions
such as manipulation (extreme osteoporosis and/or cancerous bony
lesions of course may contraindicate certain treatment interventions.
Q) Will I have to go every day for treatment?
A) Your doctor will decide this. I will say that for the first two
weeks, it is not unusual for a Chiropractic doctor to schedule you
daily (5 or 6 times a week) for treatment, and then, after a re-exam,
to spread your visits out more (say to two or three treatments a week).
Q) If I am coming for Chiropractic care for injuries
sustained in a wreck,
should I quit taking the medicine prescribed for me by the emergency room doctor?
A) That is up to the patient, and perhaps, to the ER
doctor. Usually, for
what appears to be uncomplicated injuries such as low level sprains and strains, ER docs may prescribe a combination like Darvocet or Vicodin (Hydrocodone HCl). The Chiropractic manipulations do not interfere with the therapeutic effects of your medications, nor vice versa. There are some things though that you must do if you are taking pain medications.
Most doctors will ask you to "rate your pain" on a "0-10" scale, no pain to extreme pain. If you are asked, but have just taken Vicodin, your pain rating on medication most probably does not reflect your TRUE pain level, and you should advise the doctor if your pain level may be perceived as less due to pain meds. If you discontinue your medications while you are receiving treatment, you should tell your doctor this as well.
Q) How long will I have to go to the Chiropractic
doctor for treatment after the accident?
A) That's like asking "How long is a piece of string?". It varies with each situation. Some situations tend to slow down or prolong healing. Diabetics for example, tend to heal more slowly. If you are working in a very physical job which requires a lot of bending, lifting, etc., it may take you longer. If you are not complying with your treatment plan and not using ice at home or doing the exercises you were asked to do, or overdoing it on the weekend playing sports or doing other physical activities that may exacerbate your pain and problems, it can of course take some time.
It is not unusual for a young person in good overall health, without complicating factors, to achieve good progress, perhaps enough to be released, in twenty (20) visits (that is with an initial regimen of five times a week for two weeks, a re-exam with good progress, switching to three times a week for two weeks, and then placed on twice a week for a couple weeks. So, in around 6 weeks (the time it takes for a bone to heal on a healthy young person) a person could theoretically make sufficient progress for release.
Q) I've heard someone say I only had "soft tissue
injuries". Does that mean I'm not really hurt badly?
A) Well, soft tissue injuries are some of the most serious injuries you can sustain. The late actor, Christopher Reeves was paralyzed due to "soft tissue injuries". The brain, spinal cord, heart, are all just soft tissues (albeit specialized soft tissues). A penetrating injury in which a piece of metal from a car penetrated the abdomen, rupturing the abdominal aorta could result in death in a matter of 30 minutes, and this would be a "soft tissue injury".
Bones heal from uncomplicated fractures in about six (6) weeks. Torn muscles take around 120 days or four months (16 weeks). Which do YOU think are the more dangerous and long lasting?
Q) Do I need a lawyer?
A) Again, that is something you must decide. I will say that since most attorneys who do personal injury work, give people a free consultation,
it would certainly be a good idea to talk with an attorney to see what
benefits there may be to retaining one. Insurance companies usually have their own lawyers, or even entire law firms representing them, so,
if it seems the insurance company for the person who hit you may not want to pay for your losses, caused by their insured, it doesn't hurt to find out what your legal rights are.