The Chiropractic Appointment: What to Expect After a Car Accident

Even if you’re in the tiniest auto collisions, your concerns shouldn’t end with a final interview with the police before leaving the scene of the accident. Your car may not show any signs of damage in crashes up to 12 miles per hour, but it’s very possible for your body to sustain an injury at this speed. In fact, more than half of all whiplash injuries happen in instances where there is no damage to the vehicle. This is why your upper cervical chiropractor should be the first line of treatment after any car accident—regardless of the severity of the crash.

It’s possible that you may not feel injured after a minor crash, but you should always make an appointment with your chiropractor right away. Not only is it important to have your spine examined to ensure no trauma has occurred, but if you don’t see a medical practitioner immediately after an accident, your insurance company may be able to separate your accident from your injury.

At the first chiropractic appointment after your accident, your chiropractor will ask what happened during the crash. He’ll want to know how the car was hit and at what speed, but what is particularly important to him is your body’s reaction to the accident. Make sure you tell him what hurts (if anything), if there are any particular movements or positions that are painful and the severity of the pain.

Your chiropractor may use MyoVision technology to measure muscle tension in your neck and along your spine. This graphic representation will show any injured areas that you might not even realize exist, which will allow him to begin treatment so that your condition doesn’t worsen into something that may become increasingly difficult to correct. A MyoVision measurement is also important because if you need to go to court due to injuries from the auto accident, this data will strengthen your case.

After an evaluation, your chiropractor will recommend a course of treatment. Perhaps you’ll need to return on a weekly basis for a while to ensure your body is able to readjust correctly back to its normal state. Your upper cervical chiropractor may also suggest that you refrain from some movements for a certain length of time to help expedite the healing process.

The bottom line is this: Your chiropractor should always be consulted after a car accident. Don’t hesitate to make an appointment, even if you feel the incident may be minor or insignificant. When it comes to your health and wellbeing, nothing is trivial.

Use of Kinetic and Static EMG in Chiropractic, Interview with David Marcarian

David Marcarian is the president of MyoVision, a wireless physiological monitoring system that allows chiropractors to measure the effectives of treatment over time with quantitative, objective data. In the event of a car accident and resulting whiplash injuries, this technology may be your best defense. We took some time to chat with David about MyoVision, how it works and why the technology is credible.

What is MyoVision, and where did the technology come from?

 I was with NASA from 1983 to 1986, and I was evaluating hand controllers that were going to be integrated into the helicopter cockpit. We were comparing different hand controllers, and one of the things we were looking at was whether one of these hand controllers was creating more muscle fatigue than the other. I put together my own million-dollar lab at NASA and I completed a master’s thesis on evaluating hand controllers using this technology called Surface Electromyography. Very simply, the device measures muscle tension, in the same manner as an EKG. I wrote a grant proposal to the National Institutes of Health to develop the MyoVision device. There really was no place for it with chiropractors at the time, but we found out that when people have neuromuscular injuries, or spinal subluxations, the device is able to detect the muscle firing which occurs to compensate for the injury. For example, in a whiplash the device can establish whether injuries are real or not, and how severe they are by evaluating the muscle firing patterns and amount of “spasm” or hypertonicity.

What does the MyoVision device look like, and what does it measure?

 There are two devices. The static EMG is a handheld device that is more of a screening tool. It gives you a quick reading of the muscles around the spine. It provides a graphic image of the back, showing levels of muscle tension as bars extending from the center of the spine outward. You can see how much muscle tension there is and the pattern of muscular bracing and guarding. The new patented 3G Wirefree device performs the test in only takes thirty seconds due to its unique design which allows it to take two measurements at a time instead of one.

The second tool, which is called the dynamic EMG or DynaROM, simultaneously measures range of motion along with surface EMG and graphs them over time. It allows you to document not just how far the patient is able to bend, but if muscles guard and brace in response to limited range of motion, it allows you to document the presence or absence of injury. It is more of a functional test as the patient performs all the ranges of motion during the test. DynROM sEMG is a wonderful add-on to Static sEMG because some individuals are used to the pain they are in while standing still (the position the Static sEMG is measured in), but when we move the patient, we then elicit abnormal muscle firing patterns which don’t always appear in the static test. It is a definite requirement when documenting any type of personal injury or workers compensation case.

The current MyoVision is called the 3G Wirefree System ™ , and it’s revolutionary not only because it measures how far you can bend and muscle guarding simultaneously, but does so in a wireless fashion with a range of up to 50 feet. This range allows you to walk out to potential patients at a screening and not have to convince them to come to you to be tested, increasing your ability to “connect” with potential patients without them experiencing the fear of commitment that comes with having them come up to your booth.

What is it like to have the MyoVision technology used on the body?

 There are no sensations at all when MyoVision is used as it simply measures and does not stimulate at all. It is so safe it can be used on pregnant women and children and is completely painless.

How can Dynamic or Kinetic sEMG be used if a person is in a car accident?

 The state of Florida stated that there was no validity to this tool for evaluating injury in car accidents, so I filed suit against the state of Florida. Three-hundred insurance companies joined the state of Florida, making it a true “David vs. Goliath” case. It was myself and another chiropractor against all of them. By showing the scientific literature in the courtroom, we were able to establish that the technology is valid for evaluating injury from auto accidents. The case went all the way to the supreme court of Florida and was upheld.

Why does it work? It is the body’s natural defense mechanism to respond to subluxations and/or soft tissue injury by bracing and guarding to immobilize the region of injury. Research studies have shown clearly that when someone has an injury from a whiplash, for example, that their muscles not only fire to brace and guard, but fire with significant irritability. When you have that sudden acceleration and deceleration that occurs in a whiplash, you damage the ligaments. The muscles have to then take over and do the job the ligaments are supposed to do and keep the spine in place. What happens in whiplash, then, is that the muscles have to tense in an extreme fashion to compensate for the instability created by the ligamentous damage caused by whiplash.

The unintentional response to injury is to tense those muscles. What is different is that we’re measuring this and documenting it accurately, objectively and very quickly. That’s what makes MyoVision unique. We’re able to show a jury data in a visual form using graphics establishing that, yes, indeed, when a person goes to move her head, her muscles fire in an abnormal fashion.

The reason I’ve never lost a case in 23 years is that I provide objective, graphical data while the opposition provides opinion. Objective data wins over opinion ninety-nine percent of the time.

How long after a car accident should the MyoVision technology be used?

 If an injury is not treated properly, we can still see it two to five years later, but, in general, it’s optimal to use it in the first four to six weeks. This tool can then be used to see how well the treatment plan is going, so you might do another test six or eight weeks after that to track progress and either continue or alter the treatment plan if needed.

Do most chiropractors have MyoVision?

 It’s something that most upper cervical practitioners have not quite adopted unless they do personal injury work. It is now recognized as a standard tool for evaluating injury by the American Medical Association, the American Chiropractic Association’s Fitness and Rehabilitation group and the International Chiropractic Association so more people are beginning to accept it. Chiropractors who use MyoVision are always amazed at how patients respond, as the toughest job as a chiropractor is “selling the invisible,” or what is going on inside the body.  MyoVision does this job for them so they can focus on adjusting and not convincing patients to stay with them for care.

Do I Need an Attorney After a Car Accident?

As if being in a car accident isn’t stressful enough, after such a crash you need to decide if there’s any reason to hire an attorney. Whether to hire a lawyer after an auto accident may not always be obvious because it really depends on what happened and what injuries occurred to whom.

After any car accident, you should make an appointment with your upper cervical chiropractor to ensure you are injury-free. You may feel fine, but it’s always a good idea to be checked out right away. If the accident was simply a fender bender and no one was injured, you probably don’t need a lawyer, and you can handle everything through your insurance agent. However, if you or anyone in your vehicle was hurt in the car accident, especially if there is a permanent injury, or if you lose significant time from work, school or household duties, you should seek out a lawyer to represent a claim against anyone who might be responsible for your injuries.

There are some instances where you absolutely should hire a lawyer after an accident. For example, if there’s been a serious or permanent injury, or a death has occurred. In this case, make sure your visit to the chiropractor is well documented so that any evidence of your injury is backed up with data in court. In addition, if fault is an issue, you have no insurance or are having insurance problems, the accident happened in a construction area or something is inaccurately described in the accident report and you’re put at fault, you should consult an attorney.

Knowing when to involve a lawyer is not a clear science, however, and there may be other instances where legal counsel could be appropriate, depending on your situation. For example, if fault may be an issue, a lawyer can help demystify the situation. If your insurance agent doesn’t seem to be looking out for your best interests, you’re confused by your policy or you’re not sure how to handle negotiations with an insurer, it may be time to find a lawyer. In addition, if you don’t know your rights or you’re unsure how to handle all the paperwork and forms (and you don’t understand what they all mean), consider hiring an attorney.

After a car accident, the first thing you need to focus on is your health, safety and wellbeing. You won’t always need a lawyer to help mitigate the waters after an accident, but if your case is complicated and your health has been compromised, it’s important to do what you need to in order to return to a sense of normalcy. If hiring an attorney helps you navigate the complications of a crash, then do what is best for you.

What to do After a Car Accident

After a car accident, it can be hard to keep your thoughts straight and your actions rational. Adrenaline is pumping through your body, your mind is going in a million different directions and there is an incredible amount of stimulus to take in. Going through the trauma of a car accident can be a lot easier to manage if you take a few simple precautions and know what to do once an accident has occurred.

Before you find yourself in this situation, the first thing to do is simply be prepared. Keep information with you that notes relevant medical information for you and frequent passengers of your car. In the event of an emergency, everything anyone would need to know is documented and handy. In addition, keep a small notepad and a pencil (pen ink may freeze in the winter) in your glove compartment to take down any pertinent information at the accident scene.

Though your gut reaction may be to panic, the most important thing you can do after a car accident is stay calm, focused and attentive. First, check for injuries. If in doubt, call an ambulance. Your safety and health should be your top priority.

If you’ve had a relatively minor accident, move the cars to a safe place out of traffic to prevent any further crashes. Call the police to document the accident, even if it appears minor. It is important that every step of the crash is documented in case you need to make insurance claims or resolve any problems in court.

At the scene of the accident, don’t sign any documents unless they are for the police or your insurance agent. Take note of everything about the accident—who saw it (get their contact information), what specifically happened, what damage occurred to each vehicle, any specifics about the road or environmental conditions, etc.

When asked about the accident, state only the facts. Don’t tell anyone that the accident was your fault, even if you think it was. Talk only to the police and your insurance agent. Stay at the scene of the accident as long as possible, and try not to leave before the police and the other drivers do. It’s important to know what happens from the time the accident happens to the time it clears.

Once the accident is behind you, it’s time to take care of yourself. Even if you’ve only been in a fender bender, you may have sustained injuries such as whiplash and back strain without even realizing it. Make an appointment to see your chiropractor and doctor right away because not discovering any minor injuries can have serious long-term effects on your health.

If you don’t see a doctor immediately after your accident and you are injured, your insurance company will want to know why you waited so long, It will argue that the injury wasn’t all that severe even if symptoms don’t show up for a few days afterward. The more time between an accident and a doctor’s visit, the easier it will be for the insurance company to separate the injury from your car crash. This can become very costly, so do yourself a financial—and wellness—favor by making it a priority to seek medical attention after your car accident.

Certainly no one ever hopes or thinks they’ll be in a car accident, but preparing for the possible will make it a lot easier to deal with if you ever are in a crash. Keep cool, document what happened and take care of yourself, and you’ll be back on the road before you know it.

How to Prep Your Car for Safety

It’s hard to predict if or when you’ll be in a car accident, but there are things you can do physically and mentally every time you get in the driver’s seat to minimize the severity of a crash. Your health and safety—and the health and safety of your passengers—depend on you being alert, aware and prepared in the unfortunate event of a car crash. Every time you get in the car, there are things you should be doing to prevent such accidents.

Before you even get in your car, make sure you are mentally ready to drive. Avoid driving if you’re tired or particularly upset as you won’t be able to completely focus on the task at hand. Some medications cause drowsiness, and you should avoid driving if you are taking them.

In the car, don’t allow kids to fight or climb around the car. Use car seats for children and make sure everyone is wearing their seatbelts before you even leave the driveway. Keep distractions to a minimum. Avoid talking or texting on your cell phone (which is against the law in several states), and keep your hands free so they can stay on the steering wheel.

As for the car itself, make sure you maximize its safety features to ensure the best possible scenario in the event of an accident. Front airbags, which have been required since 1999, will help keep your head from hitting the steering wheel and windshield. Adjust the headrest on your seat to align with the back of your head, not your neck. The headrest should also be as close to your head as possible. This will help support your head from being snapped back and forth and the neck from folding—and minimize any chance of whiplash—in a car crash. Side airbags, which are not required, are a great addition to any vehicle, so consider adding this feature if you’re in the market for a new car.

In addition to airbags and taking the initiative to adjust your headrest properly, consider investing in a vehicle with a sound structure. Anything with crumple zones, shock absorbing interiors, reinforced roofs and protective pillars are all good safety features to have in a vehicle. Electronic stability control and an anti-lock braking system offer ways for your car to control itself in dangerous situations.

It is important to do what you can to prevent car accidents, and paying attention to the condition and features of your car as well as your driving environment are key to keeping injuries to a minimum in the event of a crash. Nonetheless, accidents do happen, so if you are in one, seek medical advice right away to ensure you haven’t been injured. Most cars can withstand a crash of 8 to 12 miles per hour without any damage, but more than half of all whiplash injuries happen in these crashes. Your car may not sustain any lasting damage, but always check in with your upper cervical chiropractor and medical practitioner to make sure that you, too, are as healthy as possible before getting back in the driver’s seat.

Whiplash 101

One of the most common injuries that occur as a result of car accidents is whiplash. Known clinically as an “acceleration/deceleration injury,” whiplash may not appear to be a serious problem right away.

 Consider this: A rear-end collision that happens at five miles per hour delivers the same force as catching a ten-pound bag of sand dropped from two stories. If catching that bag sounds difficult, consider the force put on your neck and spine during a whiplash injury.

Whiplash most commonly occurs to the occupant of the vehicle that is hit from behind. The actual injury itself happens in fractions of a second when the lower part of the neck (or cervical spine) moves into extension and is bent backward while the upper part of the cervical spine moves into flexion and is bent forward. In this scenario, the lower part of the cervical spine moves beyond its normal range of motion, which can cause injury to the ligaments and discs in that part of the spine. In the event of a whiplash accident, the nervous system responds quickly to protect the body from injury. The muscles surrounding the cervical spine contract to help stabilize the head and minimize impact on the ligaments and discs.

Though we often affiliate whiplash with car accidents, recent studies have shown that whiplash injuries can also occur within the normal range of motion. This is because whiplash isn’t isolated to the over extension or flexion of tissues. The injury doesn’t happen simply because of the stretching of the tissues but is rather a result of the speed at which that tissue is stretched and released.

Think of it like this: Silly Putty has viscoelastic properties. This means that, like the spine, it exhibits time dependent strain. If Silly Putty is slowly stretched out, it can maintain its properties without damage, but if the Silly Putty is pulled quickly out of its normal shape, micro tears occur due to the speed at which it was pulled. The same is true with the tissues in the cervical spine. If those tissues are slowly pulled within the normal range of motion, which is what normally happens, no damage is done, but if they are pulled within a normal range of motion at a high speed, injury (i.e. whiplash) may occur.

There are a number of tests that can be done to check for whiplash, and an upper cervical chiropractor will be able to detect such an injury even if it seems as though no injury has occurred. In fact, it’s common not to realize whiplash has happened the day of a car accident. After all, with adrenaline pumping through the body and other things on the mind, it’s possible to overlook a seemingly minor bodily injury. Nonetheless, symptoms may pop up later including join dysfunction resulting in a limited range of motion, disc herniation, strange movement patterns, chronic pain and, in some cases, a hindrance to mental functioning such as difficulty concentrating.

The best solution to managing whiplash is to address it if it occurs right away—whether the injury happens as a result of a car accident or through some other jerky, sharp movement that forces an unusual impact on the cervical spine. Optimal health is only possible when the nervous system can respond properly and promptly. Don’t second guess what the body has to say.

Watch out for these common ingredients

Your body is being exposed to many synthetic chemicals that are added to products you use every day. Look for these common ingredients in your skin lotions, deodorant, makeup, and sunscreen.

  • Proplylene Glycol – Main ingredient in anti-freeze and airplane de-icing agents. Toxic to the central nervous system, causes organ damage, skin dryness, erythema, and even blistering.
  • Dimethicone – Creates a barrier on the top of the skin, not allowing anything to pass in our out of the derma. Chronic exposure could cause itching, burning, and stinging of the skin, and acne breakouts.
  • Diazolidinyl Urea – Prolonged and repeated exposure may cause eye and skin irritation, dermatitis, gastritis, could affect adrenal glands and metabolism.