Injuries can occur from any of the different types of motor vehicle accidents:
- Rear impact crashes
- Front impact crashes
- Side impact crashes
- Complex (roll over and multi vehicle crashes)
Adding to the complexity of the different types of car crashes are the different forces that cause injury to your body during an accident. The most important injury causing forces include:
The fact that these forces overlap and then rapidly reverse means that there is a summation effect increasing injury very quickly during a crash. This is exactly why whiplash is such a complicated phenomena. The same tissues that are over-stretched in one instant are then quickly compressed in the next leading to mixed injuries of the soft-tissues.
If you were seen by a paramedic or taken to the hospital, the main purpose of their examination was to rule-in or rule-out fatal and/or life-threatening injuries, brain and or spinal cord injuries, and fractures/dislocations. These tragic and terrifying injuries account for the tip of the iceberg. The mass of the iceberg, and the most prevalent injuries, are whiplash and whiplash associated injuries that are non-life threatening, but nevertheless, affect your quality of life and can become chronic.
The goal of a complete exam, is to ascertain how these forces affect your body during the different types of car crashes and assess the relevant anatomy for injury and pain. The history and physical examination will take into account the soft-tissues (skin, muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, intervertebral discs, and bones), with special attention to regions involved and associated with whiplash injuries:
- Head and neck including the temporomandibular joint (jaw)
- Mid back, chest, and rib cage
- Lower back, pelvis including the sacroiliac joints
- The shoulders, elbows, wrists and hands
- Hips, knees, ankles, and feet
After the history and examination, an appropriate treatment plan can be initiated. In some cases, special tests and/or referrals to other specialists may be ordered such as:
- CT’s (computed tomography)
- MRI (magnetic resonance imaging)
- Electrodiagnostic testing
- Specialists: orthopedists, neurologists, physiatrists or other health care professionals
Injury care can be divided into phases. Each phase represents different goals and benefits.
- Acute phase of care: Usually starts shortly after your accident when the injury is most recent. The main goal at this point, is to properly diagnose your injury, so that the right course of care is initiated. Pain relief and symptom reduction are the aims of this initial phase of care.
- Corrective phase of care: Starts when your symptoms are becoming more manageable, and you’re able to do more of your day to day activities. The main goal is to return you to your activities of daily living. Increasing the load on your body with your daily activities can take a toll, as you are still healing. Therefore, the aim of care is to minimize the exacerbation of pain while progress is being made.
- Rehabilitation phase of care: At this point, daily activities have become more manageable and your body is ready for increasing the load. (explained below)
The body adapts to the stresses it endures. For this reason, during this phase of care, corrective exercises are implemented. The goal is to increase your capacity not only for daily activities, but also more strenuous work and exercises. Our rehabilitation approach will help in this order:
- Strengthen locally – increasing the capacity of the regions of injury
- Strengthen globally – increasing the capacity and integrating the regions of injury into functional movements
- Neuro-reeducation – improving balance and coordination, whether it be task specific or sports specific movement, so you can return to an active healthy lifestyle
Although, it is our aim to completely overcome your auto related injury, some cases do become chronic. We are here to help best manage your condition with in office treatment and self-management recommendations, when ongoing care is necessary.