Car Accident Treatment in Suwanee
Trying to get treatment for your pain and injuries after a car accident can be a difficult process. It’s hard to think clearly when you’re hurting, and an emergency room doctor may have prescribed medication that helps temporarily but makes you groggy. You might be out of work, leading to a loss of income, and to make matters worse, what if your pain doesn’t go away as predicted?
If any of these struggles sound familiar, you’re not alone. Car accidents can cause a wide variety of injuries and symptoms, some of which are more difficult to diagnose. Doctors at the emergency room or an urgent care facility are good at diagnosing broken bones or determining if you have any life-threatening injuries that need treatment right away. However, they don’t specialize in pain management or have many tools to help patients who develop chronic pain after a car crash. Additionally, they now have to worry about the high potential for addiction with opioid pain relievers, limiting options even further.
For these reasons, patients who seek treatment shortly after a car accident are usually given X-rays and possibly other imaging tests. If the doctor doesn’t notice any broken bones or other serious issues, they will probably diagnose the patient with a muscle strain or soft tissue injuries such as whiplash or back strain. They may recommend the patient go home and rest, put ice on the injured area, and take over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or acetaminophen. Sometimes they might prescribe muscle relaxers, or if you are in severe pain, a small number of narcotic pain relievers. These options may be fine if your symptoms are mild and resolve on their own, but none are good solutions if you develop chronic pain from your injuries.
Unfortunately, chronic pain is possible after a car accident. One study found that 55 percent of patients who visited an emergency room with whiplash symptoms after an accident were still experiencing neck pain years later. Another study found that one in four senior citizens who suffer a car accident will develop some type of chronic pain. Although this is more common in older adults, anyone can have persistent pain due to car accident injuries.
How Can You Get Car Accident Treatment in Suwanee?
When the pain doesn’t go away after a car accident, some patients turn to their family doctor or general practitioner, but the treatment options for chronic pain may not work well for everyone, and many patients turn to a chiropractor for alternatives. Typical chronic pain treatments offered by a family doctor or internist include:
- Continuing to use over-the-counter medications. While these are generally safe for short-term use, non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) can cause serious side effects if used long-term, including gastrointestinal problems, tinnitus, and bleeding issues. Excessive use of acetaminophen can damage the liver, and even doses that don’t exceed the daily limit can sometimes be a problem when taken day after day.
- Antidepressants. Because they act on the brain, antidepressants can sometimes help patients with chronic pain. Unfortunately, they also carry the potential for significant side effects, including drastic mood changes, nausea, sleep difficulties (either insomnia or excessive drowsiness), and sexual side effects.
- Anticonvulsants. Similar to antidepressants, these also work on the nervous system and may affect pain signals in the brain. Still, they have many of the same side effects, including nausea, drowsiness, mood changes, and blurred vision.
- Cox-2 inhibitors. These reduce inflammation like NSAIDs but with a lower risk of gastrointestinal side effects. However, they still have a risk of increased bleeding and may cause kidney problems.
- Opioids. Doctors are now very cautious about prescribing opioids, and with good reason – they carry a significant risk of addiction, especially when taken long-term. Additionally, they can cause drowsiness, nausea, confusion, and other symptoms that could make it difficult to work or do typical activities.
- Surgery. In some instances, doctors may recommend surgery for chronic muscle or joint pain. Some patients benefit from surgery, but others do not, and some may even have worse symptoms afterward. Any surgery has risks, and many patients want to explore other options before agreeing to an operation.
How Can a Chiropractor Help with Car Accident Treatment in Suwanee?
At Optimum Health Rehab, we offer a number of therapies to treat pain and injuries following a car crash. Because we are experts in pain management, we will carefully diagnose the source or sources of your pain using a full diagnostic suite of X-rays, CT scans, and nerve conduction studies. Depending on the results, we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:
Chronic pain after a car accident can have many causes, but one common issue is a misalignment of the spine. The spinal cord contains 33 vertebrae stacked on top of each other, which move along with you. They can become misaligned for many reasons, including the impact of a car crash. As a result, you might experience back or neck pain and sometimes referred pain in other areas of the body. Misaligned bones might also press on nerves, causing more discomfort.
A chiropractor treats these misaligned vertebrae by spinal manipulation or quickly shifting the bones back into alignment. This process is fast and painless, and some people feel better shortly after. Others may need a few adjustments and other treatments before their pain improves. We commonly use chiropractic adjustments for back or neck pain, but in some cases, we can adjust other joints in the body if needed.
Physical therapy is often used in conjunction with spinal manipulation or other therapies. Frequently, patients with chronic pain see a reduction in their range of motion or their ability to move and do everyday tasks. For example, if your back hurts, you may not be able to stretch as far to reach something on a high shelf, or you may struggle to lean down and tie your shoes. This would be considered a limited range of motion.
Physical therapy can help you strengthen your body and improve your range of motion, in addition to multiple other benefits. Many patients see a reduction in pain and other symptoms while learning to help keep their spine in alignment through various exercises and other activities. Your physical therapist will craft a plan based on your diagnosis and treatment goals, which may include the following:
- Heat or cold therapy. We often use heat before a therapy session to help the muscles relax, which reduces pain during exercise. Following your session, we may apply cold to reduce inflammation and soreness.
- Electrical stimulation. Using a low-voltage current can help stimulate muscles that are weak or aren’t working well. It is also used to reduce pain and improve blood flow.
- Proprioception exercises. These help retrain your body to sense where it is in space. They’re often useful for patients with balance issues or difficulty walking or moving.
- Stretching. Often the physical therapist will walk you through a series of stretching exercises to both strengthen the muscles in a targeted area and improve flexibility. They may help you by providing resistance as you stretch.
- Weight work, core stability exercises, or other exercises to build and strengthen muscles. Improving muscle tone reduces the risk of future injuries and may also help to keep the spine in alignment. In particular, a strong core supports a healthy spine and keeps the vertebrae in position.
Several kinds of massage therapy may be advantageous to car accident treatment:
- Deep tissue massage. This is regularly used to help patients with chronic muscle pain or injuries. The massage therapist will apply uninterrupted pressure on the deeper muscles, increasing circulation and even breaking up scar tissue to promote healing.
- Myofascial release. Myofascial tissue is everywhere – covering organs, muscles, tissues, and bones. When you experience a car accident, the stress can cause knots to form in this myofascial tissue, which puts a strain on nearby muscles and joints. As a result, you may have limited movement and referred pain. Your massage therapist will treat this problem by locating knots or stiff areas in the myofascial tissue and massaging them until they become soft and flexible again.
- Massage therapy is also sometimes combined with physical therapy. In other words, your massage therapist will work on sore areas from physical therapy, helping to improve blood flow and healing between physical therapy sessions.
Sometimes pain originates with a pinched or compressed nerve, such as sciatica. After a car accident, you may have several different causes of pain that work together. For example, misaligned vertebrae can put pressure on a nerve. In this case, chiropractic treatment to correct the misalignment and physical therapy to prevent it from recurring and relieve stress on the nerve can be effective. If the nerve damage proves permanent, we can also use electrical stimulation to mask pain signals and help you feel better.
Get Treatment for Your Suwanee Car Accident Today
The sooner you receive treatment after a car accident, the better. Not only will you feel better sooner, but it will be easier to seek compensation from the at-fault driver’s insurance if you have well-documented medical records of your injuries. Please contact Optimum Health Rehab today by calling (678) 546-0550 or by filling out this form to learn more about how we can help with car accident injuries.