Auto Injury Treatment Options
Auto accidents can happen to anyone at any moment. In 2022, 395,887 vehicle crashes occurred in Florida, resulting in 162,743 injuries.
Once the chaos of the accident settles, a person is often left in physical and mental distress. If the person obtained any injuries, they may be wondering what happens next.
The first step in physically healing from an accident is seeking out auto injury care. The type of injury and the severity of the injury will affect the treatment plan you need to heal from an accident.
Receiving a diagnosis can be overwhelming, especially with the various auto injury treatment paths a doctor can take. To help make the process a little easier and less stressful, here is a short guide that will outline the various evaluations and treatment options a doctor may recommend to treat your auto injury.
Evaluations and Scans
Before your doctor can create a detailed treatment plan, they will need to complete evaluations to determine the root cause of your symptoms. Your doctor will often perform a range of comprehensive evaluations and digital imaging for your auto injury.
Diagnostic tests help find injuries that are hard to see on the surface. Comprehensive evaluations are timely tests that are performed to identify muscle weakness, joint injury and any spinal cord or brain trauma.
Six common types of diagnostic tests and comprehensive evaluations are:
- Digital X-rays
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
- Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI)
- Electromyography(EMG) and nerve conduction velocity (NCV) tests
- Videonystagmography (VNG)
- Electroencephalogram (EEG)
An X-ray is a quick and inexpensive test that doctors run to detect injuries such as a broken bone or a dislocated joint. They are often more limited than other diagnostic scans such as an MRI. Doctors often use an X-ray for an auto injury as a place to start before they run a more comprehensive scan.
MRIs produce a more precise and detailed image of the body than an X-ray. An MRI can show detailed images of soft tissue. Injuries that MRIs can detect include:
- Herniated discs
- Torn muscles
- Cartilage damage
- Organ injuries
- Spinal-cord injuries
If you are claustrophobic, this does not mean that you cannot undergo a diagnostic scan. Many practices offer an MRI that is open on three sides. Open MRIs offer a relaxed environment for patients while also delivering a quality diagnostic image.
Brain injuries are one possible result of a car accident. DTIs are a variation of the standard MRI technique that allows doctors to create images of internal organs. By isolating water movement within the brain, DTIs create images that allow doctors to see what regions in the brain aren’t functioning properly.
DTIs detect brain injuries such as:
- Loss of consciousness
- Nonpenetrating injuries
EMG and NCV Tests
EMG tests and NCV tests are often performed together. Doctors perform the tests to determine whether a patient has nerve or muscle damage.
A VNG test measures uncontrolled eye movement, called nystagmus. While it is common for nystagmus to occur as you move your head, there are times when it should not occur and it could be a sign of a balance system disorder.
Your doctor will recommend this test if you have any of the following symptoms:
- The feeling that you will fall
- Tinnitus — ringing in the ear
- Pressure or fullness in the ear
During an EEG, a doctor will connect small metal discs or electrodes to your scalp. The test will measure electrical activity in the brain. It can take place when you are asleep or awake. The test can identify:
- Brain damage from a head injury
- Brain dysfunction
- Brain inflammation
- Sleep disorders
Injury Care and Rehab
Once you seek treatment from a health care facility, a doctor will work with you to create a plan of action that treats your injury at its source. As the doctor creates an action plan, the emphasis will be on active care and recovery. The doctor will recommend a noninvasive procedure when possible.
Some of the most common types of noninvasive auto injury rehab options include chiropractic care, physiotherapy and bracing.
Spinal injuries are a common result of an auto accident. If a patient wants to avoid taking pain medicine or going through invasive surgery, chiropractic care is an effective option.
A car accident can cause a variety of spinal injuries, including:
- Herniated or bulging disc
- Muscle, ligament and nerve pain
- Fractured bones and facet joint injuries
Chiropractic adjustments are a non-invasive way to realign your spine to increase motion and function while reducing pain. After proper evaluation and testing, a chiropractor can identify spinal injuries and use specific maneuvers to alleviate your pain. A chiropractor will use their hands to manipulate the joints of the body to restore joint function and reduce joint inflammation.
When people think of treatment options for an auto injury, their first thought is often physiotherapy. Physiotherapy focuses on restoring, maintaining and maximizing your physical strength through a hands-on approach. The exercises performed in physiotherapy increase blood flow, strengthen muscles and widen your range of motion.
Common maneuvers practiced in physiotherapy are:
- Resisted exercises
- Joint mobilization techniques
- Suspension therapy
- Relaxation techniques
- Posture correction methods
- Motor coordination and skill exercises
- Balance exercises
Physiotherapy can be scaled to fit the needs of the patient, making physiotherapy a viable option for injuries of most severity levels.
Braces can be used in your treatment plan to stabilize and support injured joints and muscles. They are often used to support injuries located in the spine, knee, ankle and elbow. Bracing reaps many benefits including:
- Increased blood flow
- Extra support
- Re-injury support
- Reduced pain
Today, you can find braces that are slim enough to fit under your clothes.
Interventional Pain Management
Interventional pain management is a slightly invasive treatment option that reduces pain and strengthens physical function through various non-surgical procedures. After performing a detailed evaluation and reviewing diagnostic imaging, doctors can recommend the best option for your injury. Common interventional pain management techniques include:
Epidural Steroid Injection
If you have a herniated disc or a spinal injury after an auto accident, your doctor may choose to treat your condition with an epidural steroid injection. The injection will deliver steroid medication to the epidural space in your spine.
The powerful anti-inflammatory agents in the steroid will help reduce inflammation around your spinal nerves.
Facet and Medical Branch Block
When performing a facet block or a medial branch block your doctor will inject a small amount of anesthetic into the facet joint or medial branch sensory nerve in your spine.
Your doctor will choose this treatment option as a way to run a diagnostic test and grant temporary pain relief. The numbing agent will be strategically placed around the facet joint or medial branch sensory nerve. If you feel immediate pain relief, the doctor will know that the injected area is the source of your pain.
Radiofrequency neurotomy (RFN) treats joint and nerve pain. This technique uses radiofrequency energy to burn the sensory nerve. When the nerve is burnt only the nerve’s pain signal to the brain is interrupted. The major spinal nerves responsible for strength and sensation are not interrupted.
An RFN is often performed if a medial branch block was tested and there was significant pain relief felt. Pain relief often begins 3 to 5 weeks after an RFN occurs and the relief lasts for an average of 9 to 14 months.
In addition to this procedure, a doctor may also use a steroid medication to aid in the healing process.
Large Joint Steroid Injection
A doctor uses a large steroid joint injection to deliver a combination of steroid medication and local anesthetic to the lining of a joint capsule. Large joint steroid injections are most often delivered to the:
- Sacroiliac joint
In a large joint steroid injection, the steroid and anesthetic will work together to reduce inflammation and flush inflammatory fluids, damaged cells and tissue debris out of the body. The result of the injection is reduced swelling, pain and redness.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger point injections target trigger points or knots that form at any location in the skeletal muscle. Trigger points are most commonly found in the cervical, thoracic and lumbar regions. When they form, they often cause the muscle to:
- Have reduced blood circulation
- Contract and spasm
- Build up excess toxins and waste
To treat the condition, a short-acting local anesthetic, often lidocaine, is injected into the area to shrink the trigger point. Repeated injections are often needed to maintain pain relief.
If a noninvasive option cannot fully treat your auto injury, your doctor may turn to auto injury surgery to treat your bone and joint injuries. Depending on the location of your injury, your doctor may explore orthopedic care options for your auto injury or neurology treatment options.
To help you understand the possible surgical options your doctor may explore, here are some of the most common orthopedic surgeries used to treat auto injuries:
- Shoulder arthroscopy: This procedure will insert an arthroscope into your skin through a small incision. The arthroscope will be used to examine or repair the tissues in or around the shoulder.
- Repair of SLAP lesion: This surgery is used to repair a tear that results from a labrum injury in the shoulder joint.
- Partial synovectomy: In this procedure, the synovial tissue around a joint is removed. If a joint lining becomes inflamed and irritated and medication cannot provide relief, a doctor will often recommend this surgery.
- Limited debridement: Debridement is a trimming or smoothing procedure. A doctor will recommend this procedure to treat limited labral debridement and cuff debridement or for the removal of degenerative cartilage or osteophytes.
- Rotator cuff repair: In a rotator cuff repair, a doctor will reattach the tendon to the head of the humorous. If the injury is a complete tear, the tendon will need to be stitched to the humorous.
- Knee meniscectomy: This procedure is minimally invasive and is used to treat a torn meniscus cartilage in a patient’s knee. The doctor will only remove the damaged segment of the cartilage.
- ACL repair: When a doctor completes an ACL repair, they will replace the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee with a surgical tissue graft. Before the graft is inserted, the torn ligament is removed in an arthroscopic procedure.
- Carpal tunnel release: This procedure is used to treat and potentially heal carpal tunnel syndrome. If a person’s carpal tunnel is injured or tight, it could cause the tissues in the tunnel to swell and press on the median nerve. In a carpal tunnel release, a surgeon will make room for the median nerve and the tendons that pass through the carpal tunnel by cutting through the ligament that is putting pressure on the tunnel.
If you injured your spine in a car accident, your doctor may recommend spinal surgery. Some common procedures your doctor may recommend are:
- Total disc replacement: In this procedure, a damaged or degenerated cervical disc is replaced with an artificial device.
- Spinal fusion: This procedure links together damaged segments in the vertical column of a patient’s neck.
- Laminectomy: A doctor will recommend this procedure to make more room for the spinal cord and spinal nerves by removing the lamina.
- Discogram: A doctor will recommend this invasive diagnostic test to perform an x-ray on the intervertebral discs of the spine.
- Relievant: During this procedure, the surgeon will insert a probe into the basivertebral nerve and use radiofrequency to ablate the nerve.
When to Seek Further Treatment
While some injuries may be apparent right after an auto accident, others may be invisible. The following symptoms are often the result of a greater injury:
- Unexplained numbness and tingling
- Persisting migraines or headaches
- Limited range of motion
- Stiff muscles or joints
- Trouble concentrating
- Trouble sleeping
- Lingering pain
- Blurry vision
- Low back pain
- Balance issues
If you experience any of these symptoms after a car accident seek out medical advice. No matter what the severity of the injury is, it is important to identify an injury early. Once you seek help, you and your doctor can work together to find a treatment plan that fits your comfort level.
Schedule an Appointment with Complete Care Today
If you are looking for care from an auto injury in Florida, look no further than Complete Care. With three branches of multi-specialty clinics, we have the resources needed to design and carry out all aspects of your treatment plan.
At Complete Care, we put the patient at the forefront of their treatment plan. We approach every patient with compassion and use the information we learn about them to create a comprehensive treatment plan induvial to them. To ensure that every patient understands their treatment plan, we offer translation services for most languages.
Our quality service and core values have allowed us to serve thousands of patients receiving countless five-star reviews. We have treated patients with a variety of ailments including:
- Shoulder, back, knee and neck pain
- Carpal tunnel syndrome
- Balance issues
- Traumatic brain injury
- Numbness and tingling
- Auto injuries
- Muscle stains
- Muscle pain
- Sciatica pain
If you have recently been in a car accident and want quality medical advice from professionals who care about you, schedule an appointment with Complete Care today.