Dealing With Pain After A Car Accident

car accident injuriesTrauma from motor vehicle accidents can cause significant ongoing injuries. Typically, lingering injuries that require medical care resulting from a car accident include:

  • Lower back injuries
  • Spine injuries
  • Headaches and neck injuries
  • Broken bones and and large lacerations
  • Whiplash injuries to the head and neck

Treatments For Car Accident Injuries

Treating acute pain is done symptomatically. Ice and heat for muscle strains in both the neck and the low back region is recommended. Immobilizing the neck with a brace for several days to rest the muscles may also be helpful. That said, wearing a neck or back brace for more than a week or two is not a good idea as the muscles need to move in order to heal correctly. Restoring normal movements is one of the main objectives in early treatment. In most cases, the muscles are only strained and not torn and will heal within a short period of time. Restoring movement and strength may require assistance and physical therapy. Chiropractic or massage treatments may also be helpful in the short term, but continued passive treatments are usually not helpful for larger issues.

If pain is a significant issue, over-the-counter medications are often very helpful. Initially, acetaminophen and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Advil or Aleve may provide significant pain relief. If the nonprescription medications aren’t providing sufficient relief, it is time to see a physician. The physician may opt for a short course of narcotics along with regular physical therapy. With aggressive early treatment, most people will resolve their injuries within a month or two.

Continued Pain

If your pain has not resolved in two months, at that time, asking your doctor to be referred to a pain specialist would be beneficial. A pain specialist can perform a comprehensive evaluation and determine further tests and treatment that would help resolve your ongoing medical problems. Sometimes injuries such as whiplash cause microscopic damage to the spine and joints, and the use of injections along with other medications and physical therapy will allow for almost complete resolution of symptoms. There are many options in managing pain related to a motor vehicle accident, and depending on the unique characteristics of each person, a program can be found that meets any individual’s needs. A pain specialist is an expert in the complex problems that cause ongoing symptoms and is extremely knowledgeable about all the possible treatment options that will allow you to return to a full life.

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Thomas Cohn, MD

Interventional pain doctor helping Minnesotans manage back, neck, foot, and other pain. Board-certified in physical medicine and rehabilitation with additional board-certification in pain management from the American Board of Anesthesiology (ABA), the American Board of Interventional Pain Physicians (ABIPP) and the American Board of Pain Medicine (ABPM).

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