It is an unfortunate scenario to be involved in a car accident in the first place. The trauma of it all is in itself a turning point for most people. To add to this, physical trauma in the form of whiplash injuries as well as impact to the other body parts during the accident, culminating in a series of increased visits to the pain management physician’s office. The most common areas of pain we see secondary to a motor vehicle accident are the neck, lower back and shoulders. Most people are familiar with the term “whiplash injury”, but most incorrectly generalize this term with the entire body. This in fact is a physical re-demonstration of the cracking of a whip, especially in the cervical spine due to accidental impact. This causes progressive as well as chronic neck pain issues, which further radiates down the upper extremities in order to involve the nerve supply down the arm and into the fingers. Lower back and lower extremity pain issues are also a major area of either a new pathology that is generated as a result of that accident or aggravation in a pre-existing condition such as age-related degeneration or a slipped disc that was already affecting the patient, but now gets even worse in terms of pain presentation and neurological deficit. It is important that in the event of a motor vehicle accident, to seek immediate medical care depending on your situation. Regular follow-up with your primary doctor, and the need to see a specialist should be a priority. Most of these incidents end up in legal cases, to which the physician also has to be informed promptly. Interventional pain management techniques in addition to medication management are part of the treatment plan that is laid out for patients suffering from injuries they received during an MVA impact.
Imaging of the body part involved can include x-rays, MRIs or CT scans that show the amount of injury caused to it and the best pain management technique to be used. In most cases, if there was a pre-existing condition for which the patient was previously treated, and after the accident there was aggravation in pain or weakness, it is important to get a comparison of the imaging from before the accident in order to see progression or change in pathology of the affected body part. The physician’s office diligently documents every detail that the patient presents with, and answers he/she provides during the intake of history. This in combination with physical examination findings, physician recommendation and observation are the deciding factors for the length of care the patient will require, how much conservative management including physical therapy, dose and duration of medications that will be needed in parallel to interventions. Some patients even end up in surgery upon failing interventions. At Northwest Suburban Pain Center, we accept auto cases with open arms and guide the patients through their journey of pain caused as a result of these accidents in a stepwise manner as well as working alongside attorneys. If you think your pain started or has gotten worse as a result of a motor vehicle accident you were recently a part of, it is time you called us to take care of you !