Whiplash Injury and Post Traumatic Neck Pain:
In the past 32 years of caring for patients, I have taken care of thousands and thousands of patients who were injured in motor vehicle accidents. Many of these patients had been recently injured and I regard them as the lucky one. Not lucky to be in an accident but lucky to have enough persistent symptoms to be in my office right away. Waiting for months or years to properly treat a traumatic neck injury can allow the injury to become permanent. We can be successful in these cases but the sooner it is treated the better the chance of great outcomes. Unfortunately many people never realized until years later that the seemingly mild injuries they sustained would cause them trouble years later. In this day and time, thankfully we have the diagnostic tools (research grade infrared thermal imaging, electromyography, Thermo-electric differential analysis and digital x-ray) to literally map in full color the injuries sustained in these accidents and document them. Once documented, we can use the same instrumentation to verify the correction of the problem objectively. Though not well known this sort of documentation is backed up by over 3000 Indexed studies and 35 years of research. I always like hearing that patients feel better but when it comes to these types of neck and back injuries I want to “see” that it is better!
Questions I have answered in the past:
Everybody is not hurt in car accidents. You chiropractors are just making money on the insurance aren’t you? You guys just love car accidents!
Thanks for that comment. Your apparent “bad chiropractor” experience is regrettable. “They love car accidents” is a faulty generalization and is definitely a mischaracterization of the information presented. I have had the opportunity to care for some of the unique injuries associated with Motor Vehicle Accidents (MVA’s). Especially bad ones where the skull is struck a blow in the accident or the upper cervical joint complex becomes the focus of truly excessive torsional stress. This unique set of circumstances commonly leads to a very unique type of injury that reveals itself with definite signs and symptoms. The injury can be seen objectively on x-ray and para-spinal digital infrared imaging or with thermo-electric differential analysis. In evaluating for substantial injury the objectivity allows me to see whether or not there is an injury outside of the soreness and stiffness you would expect with any strain/sprain. In treatment the objectivity allows me to see if what I am doing is resolving the injury and when that resolution is complete. Again thank you for your comment and the opportunity to address this.
How do you know you may have been hurt? Persistent Pain that Recurs.
While I was being silly with my first comment (not intending to open this up), I actually have a question: How do we know when something like this is happening? I had an experience that made me never want to return to a DC as well. When I was 21 my back kept going out and I saw a gentleman who said if I didn’t visit him 2-3 times a week, I would be paralyzed by the time I was 24. This was before I returned to school and had any sort of knowledge about insurance fraud, etc. Suffice it to say, this was nearly 15 years ago, I didn’t see him again, and I’m still walking. Ostensibly this was an attempt at fraud, but how would I know? I’m a Doctor of Pharmacy now, not of chiropractic, so my expertise lies elsewhere and I still wouldn’t know. I don’t want to report someone that is being legitimately concerned (just as I would not want someone to report me because they didn’t like a copay for an antibiotic or some such). Do you have any advice on this? I am all for removing those from practice that are causing patient harm or abusing the system, but I’m opposed from frivolous attacks that make practice difficult for the rest of us. I can see when an MD or other prescriber is misusing a drug and potentially harming a patient: that’s why my profession exists. But when it comes to other fields such as chiropractic care, I have no basis for judgment.
Good question. I feel the same way when it comes to dentistry. I have no idea what they are seeing in my mouth. One bit of work lasts 40 years and another 2. What’s up with that? One says I need full mouth reconstruction and another says a couple fillings need replacing. Don’t really know that much about dentistry but the anxiety over what I really need is huge. I mean how can I tell? One place I got work done was just a simple little older office, and the work done was great and has held up a decade or more. Another place that was modern plush and scientifically exceptional did the worst work I have ever had and I am looking for someone to redo it all a year later. How do you judge. I mean, who wants to be negligent of their health? Does this mean the dental profession is full of people doing a ton of unnecessary procedures of questionable quality? I doubt it. I think the world is full of human errors, that is being human. A breech of ethics due to error or due to malpractice are two different things. When I go to the next dentist, you can be sure I will need my questions answered in a way I can understand. None of this “my way or the highway” stuff. (1) So I think a reasonable plausible explanation for recommendations and care is a good place to start. Over the years I have heard patients describe the bizarre things some past provider told them. I’m sure I have joined that list for some folks after all these years. When you practice in a small community you get to know most of the local doctors in time and it is hard to imagine how this doctor said this or that to that patient. Life and the future need for a wheel chair sounds kind of unpredictable to me. (2) If I have major questions about a set of recommendations from any provider, I’m getting a second opinion. Since it is “practice” and there is an “art” many of these recommendations are “opinion”. If things are complicated, more than one option may be needed to settle on which is best suited to you. (3) I think we all rely on our State Boards to make sure the practitioners all meet a basic standard. If problems develop, there are channels to direct complaints to. Where these questions of human error verses malpractice can be brought to be bear.
In my daily practice I tend to fall back on objective testing and explanations and comparison values that most people could understand. Threatening someone with so many visits over so much time or you will be in a wheel chair sounds a bit over the top to me. A reasonable approach? Treat and test, treat and test. Hope for a lasting resolution. Good to hear from you.
Treating yourself is easy. Watch this!
Thanks for the comment. My thoughts are along this line: Persistent neurological symptoms (which numbness and tingling in the arms are), deserve at least an MRI to start. X-rays are a bone study that is a fair enough beginning and may be all that is necessary if the patient begins to clear up with treatment. If treatment is ineffective or improvement occurs but symptoms persist and are not clearing, you gotta find out why it is so. I have seen people over the years attempt to self- treat in various forms a common one being the cracking and popping of one’s own neck. If you want a good demo of that go to You Tube (pretty scary in some ways). When I run into these folks they proudly proclaim “I don’t need a chiropractor, watch this, CRAACCCKKK!!!” I always ask “how many times a day do you do that”? The answer is usually multiple times a day. They are self-treating multiple times a day for years! When asked what happens if you don’t do it, typically the report is it gets stiff, sore and hurts. So they self- treat and crack away on it, multiple daily treatments for years. I have never found it necessary to treat at that frequency or duration in the past 30 or so years. One of the problems in this self- treatment program is the very real possibility of inducing instability into the spine. Spines should be mobile but within certain limits. One of the most common reasons for spinal pain is a situation where one plane of movement in a given segment or two has been restricted. Under this influence nature will commonly recruit other segments to “compensate” for the loss of movement. The areas that are compensating typically are the most painful. They can be made to temporarily feel better by “popping” them. Once people discover they can temporarily get relief and loosen those tight spots up, it’s hard to say, “hey don’t do that, you are loosening up the wrong thing and destabilizing your spine”. One of the most difficult things is for patients to stop this activity and deal with it properly because it can become simply a nervous habit after a while. I would be interested to know if your x-rays are bio-mechanically normal or simply normal because you don’t show signs of a fracture or space occupying lesion. Years ago it was not the case but in this day and time, normal movements and responses to load bearing shifts are very well known and documented. Sometimes these factors need to be weighted more in the analysis than is commonly done. I’m not really clear about what you mean by your neck going out and needing to be put back in at night. That sounds terrible and you probably could benefit from some sleep. Well, that’s what comes to mind about your situation as you describe it. If I was having that kind of trouble for that long, I’d look a little further into it. Feel free to leave your comments and good luck with that situation, I wish you the best.
If you have been hurt recently or in the past and you are concerned that you may be carrying the effects now from a past injury, give us a call. Schedule a complementary Pre-Consultation and get your questions answered.
Pairmore and Young: Synergy Chiropractic (907)677-6953