I feel all right. Do I still need to see a doctor?
If you have recently been in a car accident, it is important to seek medical care as early as
possible. The severity of injuries sustained from a car accident may not be immediately noticeable
either due to shock or to the particular nature of the injury. The damage done to the vehicle is also
not a good indicator of the severity of the passengers' injuries. ( The type of car that best protects
passengers is made to absorb the impact of the collision instead of transferring the force of impact
directly to the passenger.)
What should I be doing before my visit? For instance, should I stretch, or take medications?
The injuries sustained in a car accident can affect every system the body. One of the most
common injuries I treat following a car accident is whiplash. The symptoms can vary from mild
tingling and numbness in the fingers to severe nausea and headaches. The types of exercises and
treatments I prescribe are individual and based on a complete neurological examination of the
spine. I do not recommend taking pain medication until you have been evaluated. The medication
can often mask important signals the body is trying to send. Stretching, especially after taking
pain medications is not a good idea. In a car accident the joints in the neck and other areas of the
body shift significantly applying severe stress to the stabilizing muscles and ligaments which may
no longer properly support the spinal column. It is dangerous to attempt any stretching or
exercises until the stability of the spine has been properly evaluated.
Should I see my General Practitioner/Internist?
I recommend immediately seeking the care of your primary care physician to have your basic
health evaluated. Chiropractors are primary care physicians in Oregon and can be the first doctor
you consult for treatment, but it is often advantageous, given the complicated nature of injuries
sustained in a car accident, to coordinate care with another physician, preferably someone who has
prior knowledge of your health history which could be your G.P. Internist, or chiropractor.