Accidents & Whiplash
Dr. Ficara takes injuries very serious and has treated over 400 people involved in accidents over the last 25 years. In order to better serve his patients he has taken post-graduate training in diagnosing and treating whiplash and brain trauma from the Spinal Research Institute of San Diego. He believes in a team approach, therefore he often works in conjunction with medical doctors and attorneys who specialize in treating accidents and injuries.
What is "Whiplash"?
Whiplash is a collective term used to describe the injuries to the cervical spine (neck). This condition often results from an automobile collision, which suddenly forces the head and neck to whip back and forth (hyperextension/hyperflexion).
The symptoms usually result from injury to the neck's soft tissues; the intervertebral discs, muscles, and ligaments. Muscle tears characteristically present with burning pain accompanied by tingling sensations. Ligaments affected by excessive joint movement can cause muscles to defensively tighten limiting motion.
'Wry neck', a condition associated with whiplash, occurs when the neck muscles responsible for head rotation/extension cause the neck to twist involuntarily. These forces result in tearing of muscles, ligaments, and tendons, which if untreated results in the formation of scar tissue and adhesions and loss of mobility.
The impact can also result in a displacement of the vertebrae of the spine (subluxation) which is a dysfunctional joint causing joint and nerve irritation (pinched spinal nerves). The same mechanism affects the back when you fall or over-exert yourself in a lifting injury.
Accidents & Injuries
Chiropractic combined with physical therapy (PT) is the most appropriate approach to these types of injuries. Chiropractic care utilizes specific joint manipulations (adjustments) and exercises to help normalize joint and spinal function and to restore proper spinal alignment.
Physical therapy is also crucial in allowing the body to heal properly . Therapy allows the soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons) to heal more effectively with minimal scar tissue and adhesions that can cause loss of mobility.
At this office we offer all of the modalities needed for proper healing after an injury. These include ultrasound, electric stimulation, traction, exercises, massage therapy, cross fiber and trigger point therapy, etc.
Most people experience neck pain either immediately after the injury or several days later. In some cases it may take weeks to note pain. Other symptoms of whiplash may include the following:
Injuries to the muscles and ligaments (myofascial injuries)
Headache and dizziness (symptoms of a possible concussion)
Difficulty swallowing, chewing and hoarseness (could indicate injury to the throat area)
Abnormal sensations such as burning or prickling(this is called paresthesis)
Arm & Shoulder pain
Lower back injuries result in similar symptoms of stiffness, sore muscles and joints, along with abnormal sensations in the legs, and sciatica at times.
Age and pre-existing health conditions like arthritis, may increase the severity of a whiplash. As people age, range of motion declines, muscles lose flexibility and strength, and intervertebral discs and ligaments lose some of their elasticity. These factors make a person more prone to being injured.
What to do in case
of an accident.
1. STOP - DO NOT OBSTRUCT TRAFFIC
2. ASSIST THE INJURED
3. PROTECT THE SCENE - TO PREVENT FURTHER INJURY
4. CALL AN OFFICER - LOCAL POLICE DEPARTMENT
5. KEEP NOTES - STRICTLY TO YOURSELF
6. ASSIST THE OFFICER - GIVE BASIC FACTS
7. IDENTIFY THE OTHER DRIVER
8. OBTAIN WITNESSES INFORMATION
9. DO NOT LEAVE THE SCENE UNTIL TOLD TO BY THE POLICE
10. SEE A CHIROPRACTOR FOR PHYSICAL THERAPY
11. INFORM YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
12. IF NEEDED, OBTAIN AN ATTORNEY TO PROTECT YOUR RIGHTS
KEY POINT To KNOW
In Florida, the law requires that every car owner must carry $10,000 in PIP coverage to cover their medical expenses.
A new law also requires that you must seek treatment or be examined within 14 days after the accident. If not, then your insurance carrier will not pay for your treatment. So it is critical to protect yourself by at least getting checked out in case you get worse later on.