By William G. Carbary, MBA, DC
Most people who seek health care, after the kind of physical force trauma that often occurs in an auto accident or slip and fall incident, have what is called ‘a soft tissue injury’. What this means is that tendons, muscles, ligaments alone or in combination are injured (stretched and torn). Some also have hard tissue injuries (broken bones). Additionally some have organ damage like concussion to brain or tissue damage to an organ such as the Spleen.
All categories are serious and some are VERY serious, but, for the purposes of this article, focus will be on ‘Soft Tissue Injuries’.
When one has continued pain and changes in function (effects on prolonged standing; prolonged sitting; prolonged walking; sleeping; daily activities), one should seek appropriate healthcare. There are three main choices in soft tissue injury health care: Medical, Physical Therapy, and Chiropractic. If the initial trauma is especially impactful and the immediate body effect is significant, care may start with a visit to the ER. This, of course, will start the health care with Medical. Whether or not one has initially started with the ER, a visit with an MD is generally wise.
Most people have a Medical Doctor that one uses as needed. This is typically very helpful as many, if most MD’s do not take new patients who are coming in solely due to an auto accident injury. Medical Doctors have busy practices, and that they do not want to take assignment on a time-expanded insurance settlement, and/or they do not want to get involved in potential litigation, and extra admin background.
When one does go to an MD, muscle relaxers, and some category of pain relieving pharmacology is generally prescribed. X-rays may be taken and a referral is sometimes given. The referral, based on the severity of symptoms, is mainly to a Neurologist, an Orthopedist, a Physical Therapist, or to a Chiropractor.
Chiropractic is the one specialty that typically does not get the majority of new patients via referrals from other health care professionals. This is because Chiropractic began and remains completely separate from the Medical Health profession in the US.
Chiropractic, and Chiropractors, from the very beginnings had to make it on their own.
Most Chiropractic practices get a significant portion of new patients from marketing. This is understandable and regulated by Chiropractic boards.
Some Chiropractors market exclusively to Personal Injury patients. Many, if not most, Chiropractors take assignment, and, if called upon will be a helpful participant in a deposition and, if necessary, testify in court. Some Chiropractors, especially those who market to Personal Injury patients, have a significantly higher fee, for the same treatment codes, than the medium or average (Chiropractic delivered) code fee.
One does not, in almost all personal injury cases, need a referral to see a Chiropractic Doctor.
In injury related auto accident cases, it is wise to see a Chiropractic doctor. This is because:
- If there are joint restrictions and alterations, Chiropractors are the experts in this area.
- Joint dysfunction left uncorrected can lead to osteoarthritis and disc problems.
- Appropriate in cost, reasonable in time, and will documented Chiropractic care can help a case settle more fairly and easily.
- Chiropractic, among the physical health care categories and professions, considering risk, is among the safest.
It has proven beneficial for most to have a Chiropractic doctor on one’s team. Similar to having a personal or family MD, especially after a sudden trauma, having a DC that you trust, and have experience with, can reduce the hassle and minimize stress.
Thanks to our friends and contributors from Chiropractic Little Rock for their insight into healthcare.