Auto Injury

While whiplash is the most well-known accident related injury, there are a variety of issues that may develop as a result of an accident.  Shoulder and arm pain are also common symptoms after a car crash.  If you have been in a car, truck, or motorcycle accident, it is important to take the time to diagnose the damage.  Some injuries will cause pain immediately, though some may take longer to surface.

After an accident some people will experience tinnitus, ring in the ears.  This may persist for a short time or may become a chronic issue.  Sometimes tinnitus will be experienced in conjunction with BPPV, check out our page on Dizziness/Vertigo/BPPV for more information.  Chiropractic treatment may help reduce or eliminate tinnitus.  Spinal subluxations can affect the autonomic nervous system which can affect the circulation to the inner ear.  Restoring alignment to the spine, especially the upper cervical bones can help because this part of the spine has influence on the sound processing areas of the brain stem.

Trauma to the upper and lower limbs is likely in an accident.  If you are aware of the impact prior to the collision your body will often tense up.  Joints such as the wrists, elbows, shoulders and knees are very vulnerable.  Joint injuries can be very painful and can lead to permanent physical disabilities, for example if you ignore pain in your shoulder you may tend to favor that arm, or use it less.  If you don’t move your shoulder very much for a many weeks your shoulder will lose its ability to stretch, resulting in a frozen shoulder.  The tissue around the shoulder joint will thicken and shrink.

Pain from a joint injury will typically show up shortly following the collision. You may have fractured a bone, bruised something, or strained/sprained some part of your joint.  A strain means that the muscles or tendons have been stretched too far, or are torn.  A tear can occur in the muscle, where the muscle and tendon meet, or in the tendon.  A sprain means the ligaments that anchor to the bone on each side of a joint have torn or stretched.

Shoulder pain is common after an accident.  The shoulder has three main bones, the scapula, the clavicle, and the humerus.  These are held together by ligaments, muscles, and tendons.  Common symptoms include numbness, weakness, tingling or swelling in the shoulder.  You may experience pain in a specific spot that gets worse with exertion.  The shoulder may be stiff or tender and may hurt at night or interrupt sleep. You may also experience intense, sudden pain in the shoulder area.

Because of the great mobility of the shoulder it is more likely to be injured in a crash.  The shoulder may be strained or sprained.   There can be damage to the rotator cuff during an auto accident.  The rotator cuff is a group of muscles at the shoulder, they are typically associated with throwing things.  

Auto related shoulder pain can come in many forms.  The pain that you feel in your shoulders or hands may even be caused by a neck injury.  If the discs or ligaments of the neck are injured they can cause problems in the nerves that go to your arms.  This can cause shoulder symptoms that show up immediately as well as problems that take a while to surface.

The neck and back can become very tense after a collision.  This tension can result in pain along the arms and shoulders, though this may take several weeks or even months to develop after the collision.  It is much kinder to your body to address these issues before they get worse or become chronic.

If you or a loved one have been in an accident in the Saint Louis area call our office at (314) 731-4201.We have the experience and compassion to help you begin to heal.  We’re located in Hazelwood, Missouri and service the entire Saint Louis metropolitan area including Spanish Lake, Black Jack, Florissant and Ferguson.

Every few seconds, someone is involved in a car accident; most suffering some type of trauma. Impacts as low as 5 mph generate enough force to significantly damage a vehicle’s bumper; imagine what type of injury can occur to your spine.  The danger of chronic pain is higher with low speed accidents because people may not “feel” hurt and do not go to the doctor.  Some symptoms of injuries develop slowly and when they surface a few weeks or months later they are not associated with the collision.
It is imperative that you visit your local St. Louis chiropractor after a car accident, even if you don’t feel like you have been hurt.  Your chiropractor will know what to look for, will ask you questions about the accident or any symptoms and will help you determine and treat any damage done.

Unfortunately it is not uncommon to see patients who have suffered 20 years with neck or back pain that could have been addressed with treatment. When reviewing their history, it is determined their problem stems from an auto accident from many years earlier.  Don’t let an accident affect the rest of your life, call our office and make an appointment.

Here’s What to do Next

Come in for an examination.  It is not uncommon to view the x-rays of a patient and tell them they had been involved in an auto accident many years ago. Usually shocked, the patient wants to know how it was determined.  The misalignment of spinal joints from trauma will start to degenerate over time and will prematurely wear out. The truth is it is not a matter of “if” but “when.”

Have you or a loved one been in an auto accident in or around Hazelwood, Florissant, Spanish Lake, or Ferguson? If so, an immediate spinal exam is a must! If you are suffering from any kind of symptoms since your auto accident, it could be due to some type of damage to your spine or nervous system. An examination by a doctor of chiropractic who specializes in treating auto accident injuries is important to your recovery.

Your Rights

It is a requirement to carry car insurance in the state of Missouri. Many insurance policies have med-pay coverage for those who are hurt because of an auto accident. A predetermined amount, med pay covers the cost of medical treatment no matter who is at fault for the accident. This allows you to get the necessary care without it costing you anything.

Along with med-pay, auto policies have liability and bodily injury coverage. Missouri is known as an AT – FAULT state, meaning the person at fault or the one responsible for the accident is responsible to pay for fixing your car or truck and reasonable medical bills.  Visiting your chiropractor after an accident can be helpful when dealing with insurance companies.

Because auto accidents are rarely cut and dry there may be questions about liability.  If you delay seeking medical treatment there may be questions about whether the pain you are experiencing is actually due to the car accident.  Even low impact collisions can cause long term pain, whiplash can be experienced in an accident under 10 miles per hour, so even if the accident seems minor you should schedule an appointment. Having a consultation and evaluation with a chiropractor will help ensure that you receive the proper care for your injuries, as well as establish the fact that these injuries were sustained during the car accident.  Documentation from your doctor of chiropractic can be a powerful tool when dealing with insurance companies. If you develop pain from an auto accident you want to be sure that you will receive the proper treatment.

Can My Rates Go Up if I Use My Med-Pay?

It is a common misconception that using your med-pay to pay for injuries from an auto accident will cause your insurance rates to go up. This is not so.  In fact, by law, your insurance company cannot raise your rates for using your medical coverage. No matter who is at fault, you have a right to use this medical coverage whenever you are injured in a car accident.

Treatment Options

It is common after an auto accident for those that are injured to go to the emergency room. If there are no fractures, concussions or severe lacerations, the standard treatment is a prescription for an anti-inflammatory along with muscle relaxers and pain medication. Sometimes heat or ice instructions are given along with a recommendation to see your primary healthcare provider should the symptoms persists. Sadly, many times the primary provider prescribes the same types of medication, only to refer you another specialist, such as a neurologist or orthopedic surgeon, when they fail to bring relief.

While medication has its place, typically painkillers are not the best way to handle many of the injuries sustained in a car accidents.  Most medications only mask the symptom; they do not cure the underlying root cause of your pain.  Dr. Elsey is familiar with auto injuries, he can help you address the real problem.

To help you understand the damage that can occur in an accident and how we can help, we have a page that discusses some of the most common auto injuries.  The most common auto injury is whiplash, damage done to the soft tissue of the neck when the head is whipped forward and backward on impact.  Injuries to the neck and back are common, both to the muscles and the bones in those areas.

Jaw pain, TMD, is sometimes a painful reality after a car accident.  You may begin to have headaches or feel dizzy after the crash.  Sometimes people develop fibromyalgia after a traumatic incident like a collision. There can be damage to the joints as well, check out the Common Auto Injuries section to read more.

Why numb your body with pain medication when there is a better choice? Chiropractic care and rehabilitation is the right choice! Choosing the right chiropractor, one who has the training and expertise in treating auto accident injuries is essential for your speedy recovery.

Our Approach

The staff of North County Pain Relief Center has extensive experience treating accident injuries. Dr. Adam Elsey has treated thousands of auto accident victims and has the knowledge and training to help you recover from your injuries.  We will take the time to listen and evaluate your personal situation to give you the custom care you deserve.

Contact Us

Have you been in an auto accident somewhere in Saint Louis, Missouri? Call our office immediately to schedule an appointment for an examination.  Take that first step to recovery, call us now at (314) 731-4201.