How Soon After a Car Accident Should I See a Chiropractor?

If you are in a car accident, there are several things you must do immediately, and among the most important is seeking immediate medical attention. That is true even if you do not think you were seriously hurt because some injuries are not apparent until hours or even days after the crash. That includes whiplash, a common condition after a car accident, and sometimes internal bleeding.

However, even if you think you have injuries a chiropractor could help, that is not the type of healthcare provider you should initially see. Either go to the emergency room directly from the accident site or visit an urgent healthcare center that day if you do not think you were badly hurt. Your primary care physician is also an option, but some primary care doctors do not treat car accident victims. In some cases, it is because the medical billing insurance system of a primary care doctor is not set up for such accidents.

Finding a personal injury lawyer is also on your to-do list after a car accident, and he or she can advise you where to seek medical attention if you have not already done so.

When to See a Chiropractor

If you are experiencing symptoms of whiplash, you should seek out a chiropractor as soon as possible after your diagnosis, if you would rather have chiropractic rather than traditional medical treatment. Do not wait until receiving a settlement for the car accident before beginning chiropractic treatment. Even if your health insurance does not cover chiropractic, and most insurers do, you may receive reimbursement for your chiropractic treatment in the settlement.  

Ideally, visit a chiropractor within 72 hours of the accident. Chiropractic medicine is a holistic form of treatment that does not rely on medication, surgery, or other invasive procedures. Whiplash is the type of car accident injury most often treated by chiropractors.

At that first visit, the chiropractor will perform a physical examination, take your medical history, and take X-rays. In most cases, adjustments are not made on the initial visit.

Whiplash, formally known as “cervical acceleration-deceleration syndrome (CADS),” most often occurs to those in a car rear-ended by another vehicle. Because the force of the impact causes the head and neck to rapidly move backward and forward, similar to the lash of a whip, significant stress is placed on soft tissues, as well as the intervertebral discs.

Whiplash Symptoms

While neck pain is the most obvious symptom of whiplash, it is not the only one. Car accident victims with whiplash may experience:

  • Arm, shoulder or back pain
  • Blurred vision
  • Burning and tingling sensations
  • Depression
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea

Right after the accident, a whiplash victim may feel fine. Within 48 hours, however, pain starts and continues to worsen. Look for a chiropractor specializing in auto accident injuries, rather than someone whose practice focuses on sports or other types of injury. Your personal injury attorney may know of a chiropractor working primarily with car accident victims to recommend.

Chiropractic Whiplash Treatment

Spinal manipulation by hand is not the only treatment modality used for chiropractors to help car accident victims. Chiropractic treatment for whiplash and other injuries may involve massage, electrical muscle stimulation, ultrasound, and other non-invasive procedures.  

Chiropractic care can actually reduce your overall medical costs because it can prevent you from re-injuring yourself or exacerbating your injury. There is no way of knowing beforehand how long you will require chiropractic care for whiplash. For some patients, it is only a matter of a few sessions, as most people recover from whiplash within a month or so. Others may need ongoing chiropractic care, as whiplash can become chronic in some people. That may mean a long time out of work or the inability to enjoy normal activities. Lafayette personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve for your injuries.

You’re Smart. Get Bart.™

If you were injured in a car accident, your first order of business is calling 911. Your second task, if possible, is photographing the accident scene and obtaining the contact and insurance information of the other driver. The next step is going to the hospital or doctor. Soon after that, you should get in touch with a Lafayette car accident lawyer at Bart Bernard Injury Lawyers. Our compassionate and dedicated attorneys will help you through every step of the process, and there is no fee unless we win.