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Car Accident (Whiplash) Treatment Options

Car accident chiropractor san franciscoWe have been providing effective treatment for car accident victims in downtown San Francisco since 1992. During this time we have managed thousands of cases of whiplash injuries to the neck and back.

Our current Whiplash topic continues
from last month when we reviewed the “mechanism of injury,” the “type of
injury,” and “prognosis.” This month, we will review the “nuts and bolts” of
the whiplash injury or, whiplash associated disorders (WAD). 

Whiplash diagnosis: The diagnosis of whiplash first and
foremost requires a thorough history. Here, we discuss the factors leading up
to the MVC (motor vehicle collision), the angle or direction of impact (front
end, angular, side or T-bone, rear end), whether the head was pointed straight
or rotated, whether the head hit anything inside the car, airbag deployment and
any related injury, seat belt location and effectiveness, the conditions of the
day (weather, road, lighting, etc.), the onset of each injured area including
neck, upper/lower back, headache, memory loss, and radiating symptoms (time
lapse to symptom onset), ER/ambulance involvement, the initial 24-48 hours, the
point of maximum pain intensity, job and non-vocational capabilities, prior
test results (x-ray, CT, MRI, lab, etc.), prior treatment effectiveness, and
more! The physical examination centers on observation (posture, patient
distress, mood); palpation or touching the injured areas; orthopedic tests
(looking for positions that either relieve or increase symptoms); range of
motion (how far forward, back, sideways, and in rotation can the head be
voluntarily moved and its related level of comfort, speed/quality of motion);
neurological exam (sensory, motor, cranial nerves, etc.); and special tests
(x-ray, CT, MRI, lab, etc.) if not previously done.

Course of care: The type and length of treatment will
vary based on the degree of injury (see last month’s “prognosis” discussion),
the initial response to care (improvement vs. worsening), the compliance of the
patient in modifying their activities, performing home-based care (ice, rest,
exercise, etc.), and the patient’s motivation to get better. The latter may be
partially dependant on factors like whether there is litigation planned or
occurring, their belief that they will “get better,” and how the health care
provider manages the care (the use of passive approaches where the patient must
go and see the doctor vs. active approaches where the patient is taught how to
self-manage through diet, exercise, activity modifications, education, etc.)

Treatment options: The patient has the choice of following a traditional
medical model of initial anti-inflammatory medication, patient education, wait
and watch, and/or a physical therapy referral. The chiropractic approach
includes patient education, anti-inflammatory approaches (ice – NOT HEAT,
anti-inflammatory herbs), exercise training and manual therapies including
spinal adjustments. The latter, when applied properly, has been found to return
patients to work faster than other approaches with a shorter recovery time and
is less costly and more satisfying. When comparing treatment options beyond 6
or 12 months, the differences are more subtle. Other treatment options include
acupuncture, massage therapy, and various forms of exercise. When necessary,
injections, narcotics, and other pharmaceutical options exist but are not recommended as initial care
approaches. Behavioral and cognitive therapy can help people cope with chronic,
permanent pain related problems. There are many approaches to the management of
whiplash and the patient needs a “quarterback” or someone to help them with
these decisions. This is perhaps the
most important role of the chiropractor!

            We realize you have a choice in where you choose your
health-care services.  If you, a friend or
family member requires care for whiplash, we sincerely appreciate the trust and
confidence shown by choosing our services and look forward in serving you and
your family presently and, in the future.

To schedule an appointment with one of our San Francisco Car Accident and Whiplash Experts, please call 415-392-2225. Mention this blog post for a complimentary in house or telephone consultation. 

We specialize in Personal Injury Cases


Eben Davis

I am a Chiropractor in the San Francisco Financial District specializing in chronic neck, arm and hand pain. I also treat herniated discs using spinal decompression, whiplash, sports injuries, headaches, and Fibromyalgia. My clinic is certified in the use of Deep Tissue Laser Therapy with the LiteCure LCT-1000 for conditions such as shoulder pain, TMJ and Plantar Fasciitis. I have been in practice for over 20 years.

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