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Car accidents are one of the most common sources of short and long term disability in the United States and can present a complex healthcare challenge. In Pima County, of which Marana, Oro Valley and Northwest Tucson comprise a large component, there were 2,600 motor vehicle accidents in 2016 which equates to 216 per month. Injuries sustained in these crashes can range from minimal stiffness/soreness to more severe muscle strain, ligament damage, head injuries and occasionally fractures/dislocations. These conditions are often described as soft tissue or Whiplash injuries.
The degree of injury is highly variable. Interestingly, there is no correlation of vehicle damage to the degree of injury sustained in the crash. Most of us have heard of people who walked away unscathed from a rollover accident that totally destroys the vehicle and yet there are people seriously injured from a relatively minor collision with low vehicle damage. Insurance companies will commonly use the argument that you cannot possibly be injured because your vehicle sustained only minor damage.
How can you determine if you have sustained a significant injury from a car wreck? You can’t! It is common for people who are in a car accident to go to the Emergency Room (ER) or Urgent Care (UC). What you may not realize is that in ER/UC, you are evaluated for serious and potentially life threatening conditions such as internal bleeding or skull/spinal fracture. Once you have been screened for these conditions, you are generally diagnosed with Whiplash or soft tissue injury and released with the assumption that it will heal on its own without treatment. People often will see their Primary Care Physician (PCP) following an accident. They may or may not be evaluated or x-rayed and generally will be given medication for pain, muscle relaxation, and/or inflammation. There is nothing wrong with this except that most PCP’s are not skilled and up to date in the evaluation and treatment of Whiplash injuries and it usually takes more than medication for proper healing to occur.
The truth is that most soft tissue injuries will heal without treatment but not to its optimal state. Some injuries, if not properly evaluated or treatment correctly, will have long term consequences such as lingering pain, stiffness, and/or headaches. Additionally, if these injuries are not documented correctly, the injured party may not receive the compensation they are due for the on-going symptoms that may permanently impact their quality of life. The most commonly missed injuries are closed head trauma and ligament damage. Closed head injuries include concussions which must be evaluated and monitored by a neurologist if symptoms persist beyond the first few weeks after the trauma. Ligament injuries can only be properly evaluated by specific x-ray techniques which identify the laxity (looseness) so that bones are not held together firmly. This is not part of the ER or UC evaluation. These injuries are permanent and, using the American Medical Association’s Guide to Permanent Impairment, can be rated for permanent impairment which qualifies for a larger insurance settlement if you are involved in a motor vehicle accident that was not your fault.
What type of treatment relieves pain the quickest and allows for optimal soft tissue healing? It may surprise you to hear that a high percentage of car accident patients are treated by Chiropractors! It is important to be evaluated as soon as possible following an injury so that the injury is properly documented and appropriate treatment rendered early on. Medication from the ER/UC and PCP can be helpful to ease the symptoms and allow an injured person to return to work/school/daily activities sooner. It is necessary to understand the severity of the injury and start appropriate treatment to decrease pain, decrease inflammation, and support optimal soft tissue healing. The goal is to return a patient to their pre-injury state. Chiropractic, massage therapy, rehabilitation and physical therapy are useful to decrease pain, reduce muscle spasms, and restore range of motion and strength to the injured areas.
We have worked with medical providers, imaging centers and attorneys over many years who have expertise in the personal injury field which we can confidently recommend. The medical-legal arena of personal injury is complex and the offending party’s insurance company will do about anything to minimize the injury and their financial liability. It can be easy for a legitimate claim to be sabotaged by something that a patient may inadvertently say or do. That being said, it is our opinion that not every injured party is in need of an attorney, especially if the attorney is inexperienced in Personal Injury law.
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Been going to dr weasterman for over 15 yrs,every time i think its hopeless he gets me better,amazing place,amazing staff,i love this place, thank you.
Dr. Westerman is the finest, most skilled chiropractor I've ever visited. He is gentle, well-trained, a good listener, and never cajoles a patient into more treatment than is absolutely needed. He is generous with advice on diet & exercise, when asked. His office is pleasant, relaxing and always immaculate. His staff members are kind and efficient. In seven years of visiting NW Health Solutions, I've had only positive experiences. Though I've needed his services less frequently as the years go on - a testament to the long-term benefits of good chiropractic care - the office staff is still great about working me into the day for a quick adjustment whenever I feel I need it. I gladly give NWHS and Dr. Westerman my highest recommendation!