How to treat a, “whiplash injury” is often frustrating for doctors and discouraging for the patient. Most of our clients at Barry Regar APLC who have been involved in Palm Springs auto accidents have suffered some form of “whiplash “injury as a result of the accident. The term, “whiplash” is really not a medical term. It is a word that merely describes a mechanism of injury. The medical term for this kind of injury is actually called a flexion-extension injury. When the driver or passenger in a car that is stopped is suddenly, “rear ended”, the heads of this occupants, “whip” forward and backward in a whipping motion to cause stretching and or tearing of the soft tissue structure of the neck causing pain, muscle spasm, and a limitation of motion. These symptoms often persist despite medical treatment.
Physicians who treat these, “whiplash” injuries resulting from Coachella Valley car crashes most often prescribe anti-inflammatory medication, muscle relaxers, and pain pills to their patients. The ER doctors order x-rays, CT scans, and other testing depending on the presenting symptoms of the accident victims. Usually physical therapy is part of the treatment regimen. In a recent published article in, The Lancet, a prestigious English medical journal dated 18 December 2012, the authors who included Professor Sarah E Lamb started the article stating that,” little is known about the effectiveness of treatments for acute whiplash injury.” One of the goals of the research study was to determine if a course of physical therapy treatment would be more effective than just one physical therapy advice session in those patients whose symptoms had persisted after the initial ER room visit.
These patients who were suffering from the neck injuries were randomly selected and a group was then assigned to receive 6 physical therapy sessions while another selected group was simply given one advice session. The advice session instructed members of this selected group how to do exercises and stretches. The outcomes of the patient follow ups were obtained for four, six, and eight months and recorded. The physical therapy package of up to six treatments showed a modest improvement in symptoms at the four month mark when compared with a one session of just advice about how to stretch and exercise. However at the eight month and twelve month time period there was no difference in the persistent symptoms in the studied groups.
The interpretation of the study was that a 6 session physical therapy treatment regimen may have provided a modest acceleration for early recovery of persisting symptoms in some patients; but it was not cost effective for the British health care system.
In our Indio personal injury law practice we are constantly asked by our clients for advice about how to treat these lingering neck and back complaints resulting from auto accidents. I always tell my clients that I am not a doctor although I have represented thousands of accident victims with similar complaints. The sad truth is that certain people either because of their individual physical or emotional makeup just take longer to heal. Some never heal if healing means the absence of complaints of pain and disability. We often suggest that our clients with chronic pain seek the services of physicians who specialize in pain management. Pain and disability for these people are real and life changing despite what insurance lawyers argue in court when I have to take my client’s case to a jury for the award of fair and reasonable compensation for their damages caused by a negligent driver.
Contact the Law Firm of Barry Regar for a free consultation about your accident claim. We will also advise you if you are getting the medical treatment that you may be entitled to receive with your available insurance or whether you can obtain this treatment without medical insurance.