The NHTSA estimates that nearly 27 million people were involved in injury-only (nonfatal) car accidents around the United States over the last 10 years. There are many injuries that can be sustained from a car accident, including head injuries, facial injuries, neck injuries, back injuries, spinal cord injuries, and outer body injuries. Depending on the type and severity of your injuries, your symptoms may range anywhere from minor to debilitating pain.
Injuries sustained during a car accident undergo similar care to non-car accident injuries, such as an evaluation, physical therapy, imaging, surgery, etc. Below you’ll find the average time it takes to complete chiropractic treatment for the most common car accident injuries we treat. Since there are many factors that go into determining the kind of treatment you’ll need after an accident and how long it will take you to recover, your personal treatment timeline may differ from the below information.
Whiplash is one of the most common injuries that can result from a car accident. It occurs when your neck experiences a sudden, forceful back-and-forth movement, such as the force created by the impact of two vehicles. Whiplash can cause neck strain, herniated discs, and other issues. The best way to treat whiplash is to visit an auto injury doctor who can evaluate your specific injuries and help you begin your recovery treatment.
Neck strain occurs when the muscles and tendons that support your head and neck are injured by being stretched too far and tearing. Depending on the extent of your neck strain, you may need to see a chiropractor for 2 to 6 weeks in order to complete your treatment and resolve your neck pain.
Shoulder pain can be anything from an occasional irritation to excruciating pain. It can affect you while you sleep, drive, eat—essentially anytime you lift your arm or put pressure on your shoulder. As long as there are no tears, non-invasive shoulder pain treatment can last anywhere from 2 to 6 weeks to heal and be free of your pain.
However, if you have a rotator cuff tear or a labrum tear, physical therapy without surgery could last 3 to 6 months. If conservative (non-invasive) care fails for a shoulder injury with a tear and you need surgery in order to fully heal and recover from pain, it could take up to a year after your surgery to complete your recovery treatment. The typically lengthy amount of time it takes to recover from a rotator cuff or labrum tear is the reason professional Major League Baseball pitchers are not allowed to return to the game for so long after sustaining this type of shoulder injury.
A disc in your spine can become herniated when there is a rupture in the outer layer of the disc and some of the inner filling escapes and reaches a nerve. The process of healing a herniated disc through chiropractic care, without surgery or injections, typically lasts 2 to 6 months.
Unfortunately, herniated discs are permanent injuries. However, having a herniated disc does not necessarily mean that you will be in pain for the rest of your life. As long as you receive proper therapy for your injury, it is possible that you will never feel pain with a herniated disc. This can happen because the nerve behind the disc is the reason you feel pain, and if that nerve is not being irritated by the ruptured disc, the pain you feel should be minimal or nonexistent.
There are other common injuries from car accidents that many physicians overlook, including:
While one of the more rare injuries resulting from a car accident, we typically see sexual dysfunction in patients who have a low back nerve that is impinged upon, causing a decreased nerve transmission to their sexual organs. Hearing loss is a common consequences of airbag deployment or hitting your head during an accident.
An auto injury doctor can help you determine the extent of your injuries and create a treatment plan that will help you make a full recovery, if possible. If you’ve been in a car accident in Florida, you need to seek medical treatment within 14 days of your accident so your treatment can be covered by your PIP insurance. Contact your local auto injury doctor to schedule an appointment for your initial consultation and begin your road to recovery today.