Car Accident Treatment and Rehabilitation in Edmonton
At Enhanced Health & Wellness, we understand that when you’re in a car accident, it can be difficult to know what to do or where to turn for help. Car accidents, also known as Motor Vehicle Accident (MVA), are common and you may have experienced or know someone who has experienced one at some point in their life.
Many of us use a car daily to commute to work, drop the kids off at school, or get groceries.
In Edmonton, AB, there are almost 22,000 car accidents a year resulting in thousands of people being injured, some minor and some serious.
Unfortunately, anyone can be a victim of a car accident regardless of age. Getting hurt in any kind of collision takes time to heal and can leave scars. These injuries can affect a person not only physically but can also have an effect on their mental state as well.
Knowing the types of injuries you may experience will help you understand the different options for treatment after a car accident and the process.
Common Injuries and Pains Seen After a Car Accident at Our Edmonton Chiropractic Clinic:
- Concussion symptoms – dizziness, fatigue, blurred vision, difficulty concentrating
- Herniated Discs
- Headaches – from a concussion or whiplash
- Body Pain – back pain, neck pain, shoulder pain
- Mental Health Issues – anxiety, PTSD
- TMJ Pain
- Limb Injuries – shoulder pain, hip pain
- Sleep Disturbance
- Shooting pain
Other injuries you may experience from a car accident:
- Dislocated joints
- Cuts and bruises
- Brain trauma other than concussion – Intracranial hemorrhages, cerebral contusions
After a car accident, it is important to seek out proper medical care. Although you may not feel any pain immediately after an accident, it does not mean that nothing has been injured. It can take weeks before you start to feel symptoms of pain in your neck or back and even possibly some numbness or shooting pain into your limbs.
To some, the process of going through a medical claim after a car accident can be stressful and confusing. This doesn’t have to be the case. At Enhanced Health & Wellness, we review the process and the treatments that you are entitled to here.
For more information, you can review the DTPR (Diagnostic Treatment Protocols Regulation) which ensures that people who are injured in collisions receive fast and effective treatment to support their recovery in Edmonton, AB.
Why Do You Need MVA Treatment?
Car accidents happen on a daily basis in every city. When an accident occurs, many tissues and structures of the body become injured which leads to pain and suffering. Without proper treatment and care, long standing conditions can occur such as:
- Limited range of motion
- Constant pain
- Decreased ability to perform activities of daily living
- Poor sleep
- Difficulty chewing and talking
- Cognitive deficits
- Other conditions that may be bothersome for the rest of your life.
Often, people do not realize the full extent of their injuries until they receive medical attention. Depending on the severity of your condition after the car accident, you may have difficulty physically performing daily tasks such as chores, work responsibilities, playing with your kids, eating, or sleeping.
Living with pain and injury after an MVA can affect your mental state as well. Concussion symptoms can make it difficult for you to focus or remember simple things. Having a decreased ability to perform daily tasks can make you feel depressed, while driving can trigger PTSD and anxiety.
Proper treatment with the right health practitioner can help you to recover in a timely manner.
Types of MVA Treatments
If you or a loved one has been in a car accident, it is important to know what kind of treatment to seek. Often, people do not realize the full extent of their injuries until they receive medical attention. When you experience a car accident, multiple areas of the body can be affected.
Depending on the severity of the injuries and mental state afterward, most likely a multi-disciplinary approach is necessary for recovery. The recovery process can be long and challenging, lasting a few months up to a few years possibly. This is why it is important to seek treatment sooner rather than later.
There are a few things you should look for when choosing a healthcare provider. First, you want to make sure the provider has experience providing MVA treatment. Second, you want to ensure that the provider offers a comprehensive treatment plan that includes both physical and psychological care.
Finally, it is important for your healthcare provider to be open to co-treatment of your condition and refer you to other suitable practitioners for the benefit of your health and recovery.
Treatments that may help relieve your pain, most of which we offer at our clinic in Edmonton, AB:
The joints and vertebra of the spine are fundamental for daily movements and appropriate function of the body. When we experience an injury, the joints may become restricted and won’t move as much as they should.
The restriction of the joints, coupled with tight muscles decreases our range of motion and is usually accompanied with pain. Spinal manipulation can induce motion into the restricted joint, which in turn releases the tight, protective muscles allowing for a decrease in pain and an increase in range of motion
Soft tissue refers to the muscles, tendons, ligaments, and fascia. After a car accident, soft tissue is commonly inflamed and becomes tight as a healing and protective mechanism of the body.
Loosening up the muscles and allowing adequate blood flow to the soft tissue will help you to move better and with less pain. Soft tissue techniques such as massage therapy, active release, cupping, or Graston can help you function better with your activities of daily living.
Acupuncture is an excellent treatment to help with injuries from a car accident. Acupuncture needles loosen up stubbornly tight muscles by penetrating the muscle belly and stimulating it to ‘release’. Patients that are tender to touch tend to do well with acupuncture treatment.
Acupuncture can also aid in tissue healing by creating an ‘inflammatory response’ that speeds up healing to the targeted area. Different techniques of acupuncture include electro-acupuncture, moxibustion, dry needling, and IMS.
Dry needling, or IMS, is a form of acupuncture that can help with increasing range of motion, decreasing muscular tightness, and decreasing pain.
Unlike traditional acupuncture where the needles are inserted and left in the body for a specific amount of time (usually 15-20min), dry needling/IMS involves manipulating the needles for ~5-10 seconds after insertion to assertively stimulate the muscles. The needles are then taken out and not left in the body.
After a car accident, the soft tissue of our body becomes damaged from the sudden impact. This often creates inflammation, pain, micro tears, and possibly major tears of the muscles, ligaments, or tendons.
Laser therapy uses light at specific wavelengths to stimulate reactions in the body designed for recovery. Three reactions caused by the use of laser therapy are: promoting tissue repair, decreasing pain, and decreasing inflammation.
Certain therapeutic modalities may be used by your practitioner to aid in your recovery or to aid with better outcomes of other treatments. A hot pack or interferential current (IFC) can help to reduce muscular tension temporarily to allow a chiropractor to perform a manual adjustment to the area.
Reducing muscular tension can also aid in the ability to perform exercises with better, quality movement to target the muscles that need to be activated or strengthened. The use of a therapeutic ultrasound machine can also help with tissue healing.
Part of a comprehensive treatment plan is the incorporation of rehabilitative exercise. Strength and endurance building exercises are essential in injury recovery after an accident. The incorporation of exercise should be introduced once the pain has reached tolerable levels to allow for specific movements.
Rehabilitative exercise performed with guidance from a physiotherapist or chiropractor tends to provide the greatest long term results when recovering from injury and helps you to perform daily activities that are important to you.
During a car accident, the impact may cause the head to hit the steering wheel, window, or headrest with enough force that it causes a concussion. A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury (TBI) that causes the brain to move quickly back and forth within the skull causing chemical changes in the brain.
Symptoms of concussions include dizziness, headaches, neck pain, memory loss, visual disturbances, and more. Concussion therapy helps correct these symptoms with exercises for the head and neck as well as specific exercises for the eyes, balance, and adapting the brain to sensitivities.
When treating concussions, it is key to allow for ample rest time as well as strategic exercise to work the brain but not fatigue it too much. Proper nutrition should also be considered.
The TMJ, also known as the ‘Temporomandibular Joint’, is the jaw joint that connects to your skull and allows you to open and close your mouth. During a car accident, the impact can cause increased tension through the joint and the muscles leading to pain.
If you are chewing gum or possibly talking at the moment of impact, the force can shift your jaw and cause the joints to become misaligned leading to popping, clicking, or difficulties opening your mouth.
Common treatments for TMJ pain would be soft tissue work, acupuncture, joint mobilization, and laser therapy. There are incidences where more specialized treatment needs to be done to get the best results.
Complex cases of TMJ are referred to a dentist where a custom TMJ splint will help with relieving pressure through the joint while sleeping, and/or botox injections will be recommended to decrease muscle tension
When imagining injuries that can occur from a car accident, mental health is not initially considered by patients. However, a car accident and the after-effects is a traumatic experience both physically and mentally.
It is not uncommon for a person to show signs of PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) as they may be nervous to drive again or experience sympathetic symptoms (fight or flight response – sweating, increased heart rate, etc.) when driving past the area of the accident.
Patients that are suffering from residual symptoms of a car accident for an extended period of time, may begin to experience signs of anxiety or depression due to their pain or long term prognosis. Seeking help to resolve any mental health issues associated with a car accident is recommended for comprehensive recovery.
Although most injuries from an MVA can be resolved conservatively, there are times when surgery is warranted. A serious tear in the rotator cuff for example would be warranted. In the case of a major crash, facial reconstruction can also be an incident for a surgical consult.
When speaking with your healthcare provider, it is pertinent that all relevant information is given so that they may refer you to the correct practitioner to resolve your concerns.
If you have been in a car accident, receiving quality MVA treatment from your healthcare team is crucial for feeling better. However, there are certain things you can do daily to help yourself heal and recover at a faster pace.
First, it is important to rest and give your body time to recover from the trauma of the accident.
Second, eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids to help your body heal.
Third, exercise regularly to keep your body strong and improve your range of motion.
Finally, follow your practitioner’s recommendations and stick to your treatment plan.
What to Expect at Your First MVA Treatment
To begin, make sure you call your insurance company and mention that you were injured in a car accident and will be seeking medical treatment. Once that has been established, you will need to fill out an AB-1 and the first page of an AB-2 form (your healthcare practitioner will fill out the rest).
In order to receive approval for your medical claim, the initial assessment has to be performed by a chiropractor, physiotherapist, or medical doctor.
If you haven’t completed these forms before your first visit, our clinic will have the forms for you to fill out before your first treatment. A thorough physical assessment and history will be performed to determine injured structures, pain triggers, and if any imaging is needed initially.
At Enhanced Health, treatment will be provided on the same day after your initial assessment unless the physical exam warrants further imaging in order to safely provide treatment. The type of treatment will be determined once the assessment has been completed and based on your comfort levels.
It is good to note that even though you haven’t been approved for your treatments by your adjuster yet, you are still entitled to treatment so you do not have to wait for approval to begin and continue treatment.
Our healthcare team is dedicated to helping you get out of pain and back to pre-accident level. If you have recently been in a car accident and are seeking treatment as soon as possible, our Edmonton clinic offers emergency care and will be able to get you in for assessment and treatment within 24 hours.
Getting Started On Your Journey for Pain Relief
It is important to get an assessment after an MVA has occurred in order to know what structures cause pain when they are stressed (or will be stressed) from daily activity. Our team at Enhanced Health & Wellness will guide you through all the steps and paperwork necessary to get you started with an injury claim so that there is less you have to worry about.
The sooner you start getting treatment, the sooner you’ll start feeling better and on the road to recovery. If you have been in a car accident, call 780-431-1201 to book an appointment, and we will be able to get you in the same day or the next depending on your schedule!
FAQ - Some Common Questions Patients Ask:
I have been diagnosed with 'Whiplash', what exactly is it? How does it happen?
A brief description can be viewed in the following video:
I was just in an accident, should I seek treatment right away?
- You can seek treatment right after a car accident, especially if you are feeling pain. However, it is also recommended to contact the police about your accident to report your collision and inform your insurance company about what happened to start a medical claim. This is a useful website for information regarding an MVA in Alberta
I was in the car during a car accident but I’m not the insured, can I still get treatment if I have an injury?
- Absolutely! All parties involved in the car accident are eligible for medical treatment if you are suffering from an injury.
I was driving for work and was involved in a car accident, why isn’t my insurance approving my medical claim?
- If you are involved in a car accident while ‘on the clock’ (ie. A delivery driver), this would be considered a ‘work-related’ injury and will need to be filed through WCB
Do I need a medical doctor referral to start a medical claim after a car accident?
- No referral is required. Once you have informed your insurance company that you are seeking treatment, you can book with a Chiropractor or Physical Therapist to perform your assessment and begin your treatments.
It’s been 2 months since my MVA and I am starting to feel body pain, is it too late to start a medical claim?
- Not at all. You have up to 2 years after the date of your accident to open a claim for treatment.
After my car accident, my friends and family tell me I should get a lawyer, is a lawyer necessary?
- Since we are a healthcare facility, we cannot advise you on whether you should or shouldn’t seek legal counsel. However, if you are seeking monetary compensation for things like missed work, out-of-pocket medical expenses, missed opportunities due to injuries, etc. then legal counsel may be something you want to consider. We discuss this briefly here.