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Shortening the Road to Recovery After an Automobile Injury: Your
Chiropractor Can Help.

It’s a great success story that most of
us probably haven’t heard very much about. 
America’s roads have become far safer across the past 20
years.  By just about any measure, travelers
are much less likely to be injured or killed in a motor vehicle accident than they were in
the late 1980s and early 1990s. 

Fast Facts:  Motor Vehicle
Accidents by the Numbers

Vehicle Miles Driven. 
Americans traveled 2,172 billion miles in 1991 and 2,979 billion miles in
2009.  That’s a 37% increase.

Motor Vehicle Accidents. 
During the same 1991-2009 period, the number of accidents on U.S. roads actually
decreased by 10%, dropping from 6,117,000 to 5,505,000.  So even though we’re traveling more miles, we’re having
fewer accidents.

Occupant Fatalities.  The number of motor vehicle occupants killed in accidents
during 1991 was 31,934. That number declined by 23% to 24,474 in 2009.  The fatality rate per 1,000 accidents dropped from 5.2 to
4.4 persons.  That means that when we do have an
accident, it’s become less likely that someone traveling in the vehicle will be
killed.    

Occupant Injuries.  The
statistics show an even more positive trend with respect to injuries.  The number of occupants injured in accidents fell 29%
from 2,850,000 in 1991 to 2,011,000 in 2009. 
The injury rate per 1,000 accidents declined from 465.9 persons to 365.3.  Simply put, our motor vehicle accidents seem to be
injuring fewer drivers and passengers when they do occur.


It’s likely that this general trend toward safer roads is being driven by a combination of
factors.  It could be the way we’re driving that’s
producing fewer, less serious crashes.  It could be
the way our roads are designed, maintained or policed.  It could also be the active and passive safety features now
included in many of our vehicles.  But whatever the
reasons, we can all agree that this is good (if under-reported) news for our nation’s
travelers.


But What if I’m One of the Two Million Unlucky
Ones this Year?

As encouraging as this trend is, it obviously means little to you if you or
someone you care about is actually injured in a car accident.  Even in cases where drivers and passengers walk away from
a wreck believing they’re “uninjured”, accidents can have profound, long-lasting health
consequences for those involved.  It’s not
uncommon for some types of symptoms to appear only gradually days or weeks after the event
itself, delaying effective diagnosis and treatment.  Symptoms may also come and go intermittently, making it
more difficult to associate them with the accident.        

Fortunately, there are things you can do to safeguard your health and
improve your chances of a more rapid, complete recovery following an auto
accident.  Clinical studies have demonstrated
that chiropractic care can shorten recovery time and decrease the amount of permanent
physical damage sustained in a collision.

Take Care of First Things
First. 

Always address any life-threatening injuries first.  If you experience (or have reason to suspect) significant
bleeding or bruising, broken bones, internal pain, difficulty breathing, loss of
consciousness, or shock, you should seek immediate help from healthcare professionals who
specialize in treating trauma injuries.

Recognize Signs that You May Be at
Increased Risk of Developing Chronic Problems. 

Be sure to tell your doctor if any of the following warning signs apply:

  • A prior history of back, neck or shoulder problems (including previous injury).
  • Distinct numbness, tingling or pain immediately following an accident.
  • Increased muscle tension or reduced range of motion after the crash.
  • You were involved in a rear-end collision.
  • Your head was turned at the moment of impact.
  • You have symptoms that don’t resolve or that become generalized.

Visit your Chiropractor as Soon as
Possible After an Accident. 

Do this even if you don’t think you’ve been hurt very badly.  Research has shown that early intervention in the form of
chiropractic adjustment, massage and supervised exercise and stretching programs can make a
big difference in longer-term function.

Stay Active. 

Activity encourages blood flow to the injured area and promotes
healing.  It also helps prevent or reduce scar
tissue formation and maintain range of motion.

Strengthen the Affected Area(s) as
Directed by your Chiropractor. 

Exercise and stretching programs are designed to help prevent future
injuries and are an important part of a balanced treatment plan.

An auto accident can affect your health (and your lifestyle) for years if
you don’t receive the proper treatment.  So if
you or someone you care about has been injured in a collision, please call our office and
make an appointment today.  Chiropractic care
can help put your recovery in the fast lane! 

References and Resources

A Compilation of Motor Vehicle Crash Data from the Fatality Analysis
Reporting System and the General Estimates System.  Traffic Safety Facts 2009 Early Edition.  U.S. Department of Transportation National Highway Traffic
Safey Administration.  Accessed August 2011.
http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811402EE.pdf

Mayo Clinic Comprehensive Guide to Diseases and Conditions: Whiplash and
Alternative Medicine.  Accessed August 2011.

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/whiplash/DS01037/DSECTION=alternative-medicine

Berglund A, et. al., The influence of prognostic factors on neck pain
intensity, disability, anxiety and depression over a 2-year period in subjects with acute
whiplash injury.  Pain.  December 2006.

Jull G, et. al.,  Does the
Presence of Sensory Hypersensitivity Influence Outcomes of Physical Rehabilitation for
Chronic Pain?  A preliminary RCT.  Pain.  May
2007.


Karnezis
IA , et. al., Factors Affecting the Timing of Recovery from Whiplash Neck
Injuries:  Study of a Cohort of 134 Patients
Pursuing Litigation.  Archives of Orthopeadic
and Trauma Surgery.  October 2007.


Peolsson M, et. al., Generalized Pain is Associated with More Negative Consequences than Local
or Regional Pain:  A Study of Chronic
Whiplash-Associated Disorder.  Journal of
Rehabilitation Medicine.  April 2007.

Rosenfeld M., et. al., Active Intervention in Patients with
Whiplash-Associated Disorders Improves Long-Term Prognosis.  Spine. 
November 2003.


Sterling M., et. al., Physical and Psychological Factors Maintain Long-Term Predictive Capacity
Post-Whiplash Injury.  Pain.  May 2006.