“Whiplash” is a common term used to describe a Cervical Acceleration – Deceleration Injury, which is one of the most common injuries suffered in an auto accident, especially a "rear-end type crash." When an auto (or anything) crashes into another auto (2nd auto) from either direction, the impact forces from the 1st auto tries to shove the 2nd auto out from under the person sitting in the 2nd auto (similar to pulling the table cloth out from under the dishes, glasses and table settings on a table, without disturbing the items sitting on the table). The person’s body is forced by the seat belt or surrounding structures to move in the same direction as their auto. Like a whipping action, the head and neck lag behind.
Then, as the auto suddenly stops by braking or by hitting another object, the person’s body suddenly stops by the restraint of the seat belt or surrounding structures, but now, the head and neck attempt to continue in the direction of motion and, while unexpected and out of control “whips” beyond the normal ranges of motion, which results in over-stretching and injury to the soft tissues, especially in the head, neck and upper back. The symptoms associated with this “whipping motion” is commonly described as “whiplash,” and can be a very serious injury with long term effects, if not treated properly. This type of injury can result in head, neck and upper body pain and stiffness, plus headaches and symptoms in the upper extremities (arms and hands).
In auto accidents, where only minor damage occurs to the auto, whiplash injuries can have a lingering effect on the cervical spine (neck). Even if pain is not an immediate symptom, the damage done to the spinal cord and nervous system can go undetected (sometimes for years), but eventually, this whiplash damage will result in a chronic conditio, if not treated appropriately and at the proper time.
Q: Should I See An Attorney Before I See Dr. Dunn?
A: You should be examined by Dr. Dunn before consulting an attorney. The exam findings will help you determine, if it is necessary for you to consult an attorney, and if it is necessary, the attorney will have your exam findings, when evaluating your case. If you need an attorney, we can give you names of reputable and qualified attorneys, whom other patients have worked with in the past.
Q: What If My Car Sustained Only Minor Damage?
A: Documented studies done by Charles Carroll, M.D., Paul McAtee, M.D. and Lee Riley, M.D. revealed: "The amount of damage to the automobile bears little relation to the force applied to the cervical spine (neck) of the occupants."
In other words, the damage to the passengers in an auto is not necessarily directly related to the damage to the vehicle.
Q: If I Need Treatment For My Injuries, Do I Have To Pay For It Myself?
A: No. Only in rare circumstances does the patient at Dunn Chiropractic & Rehab pay for his/her care, as he/she receives it. Although each case must be determined on an individual basis, as a courtesy to our patients, Dunn Chiropractic & Rehab provides care to most auto accident patients on an “open account,” which means you do not pay for your care, until you settle your auto injury claim. In addition, some auto insurance policies have "Med Pay" and/or “Uninsured Motorist” coverage. If you have either or both of these types of coverage on your auto policy, your policy may pay for your care (up to the limits of your policy), while you are waiting for the settlement with the “at fault” insurance company. More good news, if you use your auto medical coverage, it should not raise your auto insurance premiums.
Q: The At-Fault Insurance Company Has Been Calling Me And Wants To Settle...What Should I Do?
A: Since I am not an attorney, I can not give you legal advice. However, based on my experience as a doctor, I would recommend you not settle your injury claim, until I give you a thorough examination. In my opinion, if you settle your injury claim before you are examined or before your injury is fully resolved, you will release the "at-fault" insurance company and their insured from all future liability. Which means, you will be completely on your own and will have to pay for any necessary future care out of your own pocket. Be sure to check with your attorney for his/her official legal opinion.
Q: I have been to the Emergency Room and my Medical Doctor...Do I Really Need to See Dr. Dunn?
A: Yes. An Emergency Room physician is usually very good at his job, but his job is to make sure you do not have a life-threatening condition. So, with non-life-threatening auto accident injuries, the ER doctor often gives the patient pain, muscle relaxant and anti-inflammatory medications, which helps to decrease the symptoms, but does not restore the normal biomechanics of the spine. The patient is released from the Emergency Room, and the ER doctor has done his job.
Unfortunately, many auto accident injuries (example: whiplash) have “soft tissue” components, which are not life-threatening, but result in serious abnormal biomechanical movements of the spinal motor units. This type of injury can be very painful and result, often years later, in serious chronic conditions (such as, spinal degeneration) with a lifetime of debilitating pain. Studies have shown, these chronic conditions are occurring at an alarming rate. Thus, any person, who has been in an auto accident, even a minor auto accident, should be examined by Dr. Dunn, who has had advanced training in the diagnosis and treatment of auto accident injuries. Dr. Dunn has participated in research projects and has received advanced training with the Spine Research Institute of San Diego and the Texas A & M University. He understands the abnormal biomechanics of the spine, which can result from auto accidents. This is what makes Dr. Dunn an expert in diagnosing and treating auto accident injuries.
If you have received treatment, but are still having problems, you should get a second opinion examination from Dr. Dunn.
Q: Does Chiropractic Care Hurt?
A: Although most of our patients would answer, “absolutely no pain with our care.” The truth is...every patient is different. Everyone has a different threshold, where they experience pain. The care at Dunn Chiropractic & Rehab is very gentle and quite soothing, and most patients can hardly wait to get their care, but occasionally, a patient may arrive in very severe pain or just have a very low pain threshold. For this patient, we modify the treatment to an even more gentle intensity so it will not exceed this patient’s pain threshold.
Q: Is Chiropractic Care Safe?
A: Yes, chiropractic care and management is extremely safe, particularly, when compared to the side effects from medications and surgery.
What Should I Do If I Am Injured In An Auto Accident
NOTE: Make a list of the following directions and put it in the glove box of all of your vehicles.
First, call 911 for the police and an emergency squad, if you (or anyone else) are possibly injured. While waiting for the first responders to arrive, take photos with your mobile phone of the accident scene, including photos of all autos and their license plates, plus photos of the other driver’s insurance card and driver’s license.
Write the following information on a piece of paper or call your mobile phone voice mail, home voice mail or office voice mail and record the following information:
State on the recording:
- Your Name
- Recording Date & Time
- Date & Time of the Accident
- Road Condition (Dry, Wet, Damp, Ice, Snow, Gravel)
- Location of the Auto Accident
- Reported to Police (Yes or No)
- Injuries (Yes or No)
- If yes, who
- Describe Accident (while fresh in your mind)
- Person at Fault: Myself, My Driver, Other Driver
Other Driver’s Information:
- Street Address, City, State & Zip Code.
- Phone #
- Driver’s License #
- Auto Make – Auto Model – Auto Year
- License Plate #
- License Plate State
- Insurance Company Name
- Insurance Policy #
- Police Officer’s Name & ID #
- Police Department (City - Sheriff - State Patrol)
If you are injured, have the paramedics examine you. Follow their advice, go to the emergency room, if directed. Be examined, receive care, and follow the ER doctor’s advice.
After you are released from the ER or the hospital, TAKE CARE OF THE EMERGENCY HEALTH SITUATIONS, first.
As soon as possible, within 1-2 days, call Dunn Chiropractic & Rehab and schedule an exam with Dr. Dunn, so you can be evaluated for “non-life threatening” injuries, especially abnormal biomechanical injuries in the spine. If you did not experience any significant injury, you can turn your exam bill into your or the at-fault insurance company, settle your claim and return to a normal pain-free life, without worry of future complications. If you were injured, the exam will document the injury, you can undergo appropriate treatment for your injuries, especially abnormal biomechanical injuries to the spine. You will have the best chance of receiving optimal results, and avoiding chronic pain in the future.