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Suggestions for dealing with the aftermath of auto accidents - Synchronicity swirls and other foolishness

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March 9th, 2008

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01:35 pm - Suggestions for dealing with the aftermath of auto accidents
Several people on my f-list have either had car accidents or known someone in a car accident recently, and so I've decided to post some information about dealing with them that teaotter has uncovered, both in the process of reading about all of the many car accidents and the aftermath thereof which she has dealt with in her job, and also as a result of her own car accident in 2000, and watching my parents deal with results of their car accident (that oddly occurred in the same week as hers). In both cases, and in many of the car accidents Becca encounters in her job, no one was seriously hurt, everyone wore seat-belts. There were no broken bones, and in most cases nothing requiring stitches or in fact any significant medical treatment. However, in many cases (as happened with my mother), the person had some pain and stiffness from being shaken around, and this continued, and (as in the case of my mother) caused serious chronic pain that lasted almost two years.

From her own experience and from a bunch of reading about accidents, Becca's advice is:
  1. As soon as possible afterwards, get x-rays, the auto insurance (in the US) will always pay for this.

  2. Equally soon, drink lots of fluids and take anti-inflammatories (aspirin and ibuprofen both work well) regularly and in moderate dosages for at least the next few days).

  3. Get acupuncture &/or a professional massage [[1]] within the first few days after the accident, preferably as soon as possible. Auto-insurance may or may not pay for acupuncture, but it's worth doing anyway. Typically, auto-insurance will pay for a professional massage. In both cases, tell the person providing either one what the acupuncture or massage is for, and among other things they will write out the bill in such a way that it's likely to get reimbursed (or in the case of the massage, certainly will be).

  4. (and most importantly) within 1-5 days, the person will almost certainly have some degree of stiffness and pain from the accident. Make certain the person does not simply ignore this pain and assume it will get better - typically if someone does this (as Becca did not, but as my mother did) the pain and stiffness gets worse and can last up to several years. Taking anti-inflammatories, going to a (good) doctor of suggestions about physical therapy (which will also be covered) or other drugs, and more acupuncture or massage (along with continuing to drink extra fluids) are the ways to keep this problem from lasting more than a few weeks.

[[1]] I specifically do not recommend going to see a chiropractor, because while acupuncture does not work for everyone, I've known and read about many people who have used it and have never encountered a case where it has harmed someone. In contrast, I've both read about and known people who have ended up having severe and occasionally lasting pain that was caused by going to a chiropractor. As a result, I'd never go to one or recommend that anyone go to one.
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(4 comments | Leave a comment)


[User Picture]
Date:March 9th, 2008 09:34 pm (UTC)
Chiropractic is extremely variable; I’ve had good results from it, but many others haven’t, and the profession doesn’t seem to require that its practitioners learn scientific reasoning skills. My impression is that the efficacy drops as soon as you get away from the spine, but the chiropractors’ impression of the efficacy doesn’t.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2008 10:46 am (UTC)
Fair enough. My major concern is that I've know a number of people who've encountered problematic chiropractors who did them significant harm. In contrast, the worst I've heard about acupuncturists and licensed massage therapists is that they didn't do any good. I have no idea if this is because chiropracty is less well regulated or simply riskier to practice.

As far as dubious science, I feel the same way about acupuncture dealing with conditions that don't have to do with various problems surrounding chronic and acute pain and inflammation. It performs better than placebos for such uses, but no so much for treating most other conditions.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
I would add:

Find yourself a personal injury lawyer if you experience any stiffness/pain whatsoever. A decent lawyer will be able to recommend doctors for diagnosis & treatment & you will be fairly certain of having the costs covered.

Note: If you find yourself w/ a sleazebag of a lawyer, your results may vary.
[User Picture]
Date:March 10th, 2008 07:09 pm (UTC)
That's an excellent point.

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