Skip to main content

Auto Accident Injuries

What You Should Know If You Have Been Involved In An Auto Accident

Did you know one of the most stressful aspects of living in modern life is dealing with the problems that arise after an auto accident? Were you also aware that some auto accident injuries are hidden and seldom detected for months or even years? The following symptoms can occur weeks or months after the accident. You may have suffered a whiplash injury.


Because once you settle your case you lose the right to have your insurance company pay for treatment if you need it. A good rule of thumb is to get educated on your rights and then make a decision. It is our position that if you were indeed injured, you should get the care you need to get you back to the way you felt and functioned just before the accident.

It is not the responsibility of the insurance company to pay for anything more than that. They are not responsible for pre-existing injuries; only the injuries sustained from the accident. Even if you are just sore, you should get checked out immediately. Because you may experience pain, numbness, headaches, muscle stiffness, fatigue, and other problems including arthritis many months down the road. Remember, Nothing is more important than your health when you start to lose it.

Here's where the problem begins... Most people who suffer from an auto accident have one thing on their mind: Their Automobile!

Common questions include:

  • "Who is going to fix my car?"
  • "What will I drive in the meantime?"
  • "Will my insurance rates go up?"
  • "Who is going to pay for it?"
  • And the last thing on their mind is: "Am I Really O.K.?"

Not only are auto accidents an inconvenience and a hassle, but a common general complaint of auto accident victims is also that they don't feel their normal self. You may also be experiencing obvious pains and symptoms like muscle stiffness or spasm, neck pain, headaches, numbness and tingling, back pain, difficulty sleeping, irritability, memory loss, fatigue, difficulty concentrating, and many other difficulties or worse than that, you may be injured and feel nothing at all.

Either way, did you know that auto accidents can cause post-traumatic osteoarthritis? Osteoarthritis can ruin your posture (giving you a slumped or hump back appearance). Osteoarthritis can cause the discs in your spine to degenerate and create scar tissue formation leading to chronic stiffness and the inability to move properly.

As a matter of fact...

  • Most Doctors Are Not Trained In The Detection Of These Hidden Injuries...
  • If you have been in an auto accident, you need a doctor that is trained in the biomechanics of the human body; someone who treats these injuries every day. In addition,x-rays can be taken to find out if there has been any structural damage. In our office, we evaluate auto accident victims and make any appropriate referrals to other health care providers if needed.
  • Our Primary Responsibility Is Giving You The Care If You Need It, And Submitting The Required Medical Reports To The Insurance Company So Your Rights Are Protected.

If we can't help you we will refer you to a doctor or facility that can.
If you have been in an auto accident recently, there are some important decisions you have to make and if I were you, I'd make these decisions very carefully.

  • Q: Should I See An Attorney Before I See My Chiropractor?
    A: It is important to get checked out by the doctor first, that way the findings from your exam will allow you the information you need in order to decide if an attorney is necessary. If necessary, we can refer you to a reputable and qualified attorney.

  • Q: What If My Car Sustained Only Minor Damage?
    A: Documented studies done by Charles Carroll, M.D., Paul McAtee, M.D. and Lee Riley, M.D. revealed that: "The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine (neck) of the occupants."

    In other words, the damage to the passengers is not necessarily directly related to the damage to the vehicle.

  • Q: If I Need Treatment For This Injury, Do I Have To Pay For It Myself?
    A: No, only in very rare circumstances does the patient pay for their care as they go. Our office provides care "on credit" when patients are represented by an attorney. Some car insurance policies have what is called "med Pay." This means that your medical bills will be paid at 100% up to a certain limit. My office can assist you in obtaining this information.

    Using your medical coverage should not raise your premiums.

  • Q: The Insurance Company Has Been Calling Me And Wants To Settle,What Should I Do?
    A: Do not sign or settle until you have had us evaluate your injury for you. If you settle before your injury is fully resolved, you will be completely on your own and will have to pay out of pocket for your care.

  • Q: I've Been To The Hospital And My Medical Doctor, Do I Really Need to See a Chiropractor?
    A: You need a doctor that focuses in the treatment and diagnosis of auto accident injuries. Usually hospitals will check vital signs, make sure there are no life threatening conditions and release the patient with pain relief medication. They normally do not treat the underlying improper musculoskeletal biomechanics that can and often do lead to future pain. If you are still having problems, you should get a second opinion.

    If your M.D. has given you pills, you must understand that pills do not correct structural or soft tissue damage. There are special therapies designed for that, and we offer these modalities at our office.

  • Q: Does Your Care Hurt?
    A: Absolutely not. The care is very gentle and quite soothing. Most patients can hardly wait to get their care.

  • Q: Is The Care safe?
    A: Yes, extremely. Particularly when compared to the side effects from medication. I urge you to go to the patient testimonial tab to get a feel for what you can expect.


" ... is the acceleration-deceleration mechanism of energy transfer to the neck. The magnitude of the problem is great ... at least one percent of the entire population will experience chronic pain due to whiplash.”
Olson, L. American Physical Therapy Association

The acceleration-deceleration forces which cause whiplash injury are sufficient to permanently disable you. Even in a low speed rear impact collision of 8 mph, your head moves roughly 18 inches, at a force as great as 7 G’s in less than a quarter of a second. The Discovery space shuttle is only built to to withstand a maximum of 3 G’s.

The above definition states that whiplash is the transfer of energy to the neck. What may be surprising is that this energy transfer is not equal. The force that an accident victim is exposed to is generally two and a half times greater than that which the vehicle is struck. A common misconception is that if there is no vehicle damage, there would be equally little or no injury. Manufacturers' use of rigid or stiff motor vehicle bodies and chassis as well as improved bumper systems also produce an increased G force to occupants involved in car accidents.

Minor vehicle damage may actually result in greater personal injury.

Most people experience neck pain either immediately after the injury or even several days later.

Sixty-six to 70% of those suffering from whiplash complain of headaches. The pain may be on one side or both, on again off again or constant, in one spot or more general. These headaches, like neck pain, are often the result of tightened, tensed muscles trying to keep the head stable and, like tension headaches, they are often felt behind the eyes.

Shoulder pain often described as pain radiating down the back of the neck into the shoulder blade area, may also be the result of tensed muscles.

Muscle tears
are often described as burning pain, prickling or tingling. More severe disc damage may cause sharp pain with certain movements, with or without radiation into the arms, hand and fingers, which are relieved by holding your hand over your head.

Other symptoms of whiplash may include the following:

  • Neck pain and/or stiffness
  • Blurred vision
  • Difficulty swallowing
  • Irritability
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Pain between the shoulder blades
  • Pain in the arms or legs, feet, and hands
  • Headache Shoulder pain
  • Nausea
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Vertigo
  • Numbness and tingling
  • Pain in the jaw or face
  • Abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling
  • Low back pain and/or stiffness
  • If you experience any of these symptoms, play it safe and get a chiropractic check-up.

back to top

How Can Chiropractic Help

After a whiplash-like injury, some individuals do nothing, not realizing the damage to their necks and potential future problems. Some will go to the emergency room where x-rays are taken, and since no fractures are found, are released and told to take pain killers or muscle relaxers and they’ll be OK.

Some will go to their MD family practitioner who will tell them about the same thing as the ER Doctors. However, none of these doctors are trained to recognize biomechanical pathology of the spine or understand the critical need for functional rehabilitation after whiplash. Therefore the majority of whiplash injuries will not be treated properly. This injury requires the training and skills of a chiropractor who is specifically trained to diagnose and treat such problems.

A recent study in the "Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine" -1, stated that Chiropractic was the "only proven effective treatment" for chronic whiplash.
This respected medical journal began by saying, "Conventional treatment of patients with whiplash symptoms is disappointing. A retrospective study by Woodward et al., demonstrated that chiropractic treatment benefited 26 of 28 patients (93%) suffering from chronic whiplash syndrome. Our results confirm the efficacy of chiropractic, with 69 of our 93 patents (74%) improving following treatment." -2 "The results from this study provided further evidence that chiropractic is an effective treatment for chronic whiplash symptoms..."

back to top


1. Khan S, Cook J, Gargan M, Bannister G. Asymptomatic classification of whiplash injury and the implications for treatment. Journal of Orthopaedic Medicine 1999;21(1):22-25.
2. Woodward MN, Cook JCH, Gargan MF, Bannister GC. Chiropractic Treatment of chronic whiplash injuries.Injury 1996;27:643-645.