Don’t Believe This Myth About Auto Injuries…
I’m writing this article today, to debunk one of the biggest myths I encounter when dealing with people who have been injured in an automobile collision. There are some myths that are just annoying and harmless. Then there are myths which can be harmful and get in the way of ultimately getting back to 100%. The myth is this: The emergency department doctor told me that if I take muscle relaxers and pain medication, I will be fine after my auto injury.
Now, first of all, understand that this is not a knock on Emergency Department doctors. These men and women are heroes as far as I’m concerned. If you read my post a couple weeks ago, I described an accident where I was ejected from the vehicle. It took a few hours for the emergency doctors to get me cleaned up and stitched up. In fact, I still run into my emergency department doctor (now retired) and I thank him profusely every time I see him.
Here is the issue. When an emergency doctor tells you, “you’re going to be fine” they mean that you aren’t going to die… right now. They don’t do checkups, wellness exams or the like. They are concerned with life and death. So when they send you out the door with drugs to make you comfortable and tell you that you’re going to be ok. They mean it, and they technically aren’t wrong. If that wasn’t the case, they would have you admitted.
Now, you and I are not emergency doctors. We are concerned about long term outcomes for your auto injuries. We are glad you won’t die but we also want to make sure that in 6 months or 6 years you aren’t still dealing with the aftermath of your auto injuries. You may wonder, “Does that really happen? Do people have problems that last that long.” YES. Even in low speed collisions there can be long term injuries if you have what we call a soft tissue injury.
A soft tissue injury is any damage to the muscles, tendons, ligaments or fascia (connective tissue that surrounds muscles). It can lead to scar tissue that will restrict movement, entrap nerves and cause other problems. If soft tissue injuries do not heal well they can be a common source of chronic problems such as loss of range of motion, chronic low back pain, chronic headache or chronic neck pain.
This is where the myth breaks down. Muscle relaxers and pain killers do nothing to ensure that your soft tissue injuries will heal correctly and completely. The way to guarantee the best outcome from a soft tissue injury or an auto injury is to receive treatment. What kind of treatment? Physical problems typically respond best to physical medicine. This means that you probably don’t need Vicodin or oxycodone. You probably need active rehabilitation exercise, physiotherapies, soft tissue therapies and mobilization. Expert help from a chiropractor, massage therapist, physical therapist or other body work professional can help you make a full recovery.
Remember, when your emergency or urgent care doctor tells you, “You’ll be fine” they mean you aren’t dying. Maybe they could also add that your best bet in getting back to your pre-injury status is to seek the help of manual medicine such as chiropractic care and associated treatments.