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Car Accidents and Delayed Symptoms: What You Need to Know

Even if your recent fender bender didn’t seem too serious, there’s still a very real chance that you or your passengers may have been hurt. That’s because even the most minor car accidents can cause hidden injuries and delayed symptoms. And while damage to your car is likely obvious and easy to assess, evaluating damage to your body may be far more difficult. In fact, it’s not unusual for a driver or passenger to walk away from a collision with potentially serious musculoskeletal injuries (such as a concussion or whiplash), without knowing it.

Because of the stress response, right after an accident the body’s defenses are on high alert. Any pain may be masked by endorphins produced by the body during and shortly after this kind of traumatic event. Endorphins help the body manage pain and stress and can create a temporary euphoria or “high” feeling. When the threat of the accident is gone, endorphin production slowly disappears, allowing you to feel pain that may have remained hidden earlier.

Whiplash

Perhaps the most common delayed symptom is that of whiplash. Whiplash consists of soft tissue damage in the neck from the sudden acceleration and deceleration of the head, creating hyperflexion and hyperextension of the neck. This can not only cause damage to the muscles, tendons and ligaments of your neck, it can also occasionally fracture or dislocate vertebrae and cause any of the following symptoms to show up later:

  • Headaches
  • Reduced range of motion or difficulty moving
  • Slowed reflexes
  • Vertigo
  • Muscle spasms
  • Localized weakness or numbness
  • Stiffness in shoulders and arms

Other Common Injuries

Every bit as serious as any broken bones or lacerations, a concussion can prove to be a grave threat to your health. Quite simply, a concussion is the result of the brain colliding with the inside of the skull from a rapid acceleration or deceleration. Not all concussions occur because of bumping the head. If the head is restrained in any way and the restraint suddenly stops or suddenly jerks into motion, a concussion may occur. Symptoms of concussion include the following:

  • Headaches
  • Bad temper
  • Nausea
  • Spasms
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Disorientation
  • Confusion
  • Amnesia
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty concentrating or reasoning
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Tiredness, sleeplessness, or other problems with your ability to sleep

When Did the Symptoms Begin?

The key point with any of these symptoms is to know whether or not you had them before the accident. Someone who knows you or lives with you can help identify any changes in your behavior that may indicate a possible concussion. If you didn’t have a symptom that you’re now experiencing, see your doctor right away.

What Will Insurance Cover?

In addition to the health consequences of car accidents with delayed symptoms, there is also the insurance aspect to consider. Because many accident-related injuries don’t show up immediately, you may have to pay out-of-pocket for the medical expenses from any delayed symptoms if you settle with your insurance company right away. Therefore, consider waiting a few days before signing any release of liability so that any delayed symptoms have an opportunity to reveal themselves.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Your Auto Accident Injury

Seeing a chiropractor for a medical evaluation as soon as possible after an accident is also a good idea, since he or she can help identify injuries and start treatment promptly. In many cases, seeking appropriate medical care soon after an accident can improve your chances of a more complete and more rapid recovery. If you have an auto accident injury Wilmington NC, contact Southeastern Healthcare today! Schedule an appointment for a free consultation to see how we can help solve your pain.

Steroid Injections for Back Pain: Understanding the Risk

Chronic lower back pain is no fun. It is so not fun that many patients who are afflicted with it will try almost anything to rid themselves of the constant pain and discomfort. Increasingly, medical doctors are prescribing epidural steroid injections – anti-inflammatory steroid compounds injected directly into the spinal area – to relieve the pain. While there are cases in which this approach has reduced people’s pain, there are also enormous risks involved with epidural steroid injections. Those who suffer from chronic back pain should be aware of these risks and should discuss them with their physician before considering this treatment.

Effectiveness of Steroid Use

First, there is the question of effectiveness. Some patients have reported an actual increase in their pain level after the injection, not a reduction. The Food and Drug Administration, after all, has still not approved steroid injections for use in lower back pain because no one has been able to demonstrate long-term benefits of the treatment, only short-term pain relief. Second, there are risks associated with the injections themselves, ranging from infection and post-injection headaches to actual nerve damage. Although these types of risks are rare, occurring in only 0.1% to 0.5% of injections, they should still be considered.

Third, there are occasionally negative side effects from the treatment, including an increase in pain level, headaches, anxiety, sleeplessness, fever, reduced immune response and severe arthritis of the hips (avascular necrosis). Fourth, although these drugs may temporarily reduce inflammation, there is increasing evidence that they may contribute to bone loss in older patients. In one study conducted on over 3,000 patients at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, patients treated with steroids were found to be much more susceptible to vertebral fractures, and their risk of incurring these fractures increased by 21% with each round of treatments.

Finally, although it is limited so far to only one supplier of these medications, there is the possibility that the steroid medications themselves can be tainted and cause far more serious diseases than they are used to treat. Several cases of fungal meningitis have been linked to epidural steroid injections using medications supplied by one Massachusetts provider.

The purpose of this article is not to scare people away from injected steroid use. There are cases in which it has been of benefit. But there are questions about whether these medications are useful for treating back pain, and there are legitimate concerns about the treatment’s safety.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for Back Pain Wilmington NC

Therefore, the wisest approach might be to try other, safer, and more conservative treatments before you try epidural steroid injections. These alternative treatments include chiropractic care, massage, safer anti-inflammatory and pain-management medications, and simply allowing time to pass to see if the condition improves on its own. If you suffer from chronic lower back pain, by all means consult your medical practitioner, but don’t be afraid to also consult Doctors of Chiropractic, whose entire practice and philosophy is based drug-free, surgery-free and side-effect-free treatments for spinal problems. Schedule your appointment  for back pain Wilmington NC at Southeastern Healthcare today!