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Automobile Head Restraints Prevent Injuries—Use Them Correctly!

 

 

Many people are under the mistaken impression that the head-sized extension at the top of your car’s seat is a head rest. It’s actually not a place to rest your weary head during a long drive, but rather a safety feature called a head restraint that is there to help prevent whiplash in the event of a rear-end collision. And having it adjusted properly can mean the difference between emerging unscathed and enduring weeks of neck pain, along with the cost and inconvenience of medical treatment.

Whiplash Injuries

Whiplash is the most common type of injury in an auto accident. The Insurance Bureau of Canada has conducted studies showing that the proper use of head restraints can reduce the incidence of whiplash by as much as 40%. Russ Rader of the U.S. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) explains what happens when you are involved in a rear end collision: “The head restraint is designed to work with your vehicle’s seat; it keeps your body and head moving together. The problem comes in if your head lags behind your body and snaps backward. That’s what leads to neck injury, or what’s commonly known as whiplash. Modern head restraints are designed to prevent whiplash, and that’s why they’re so much taller than they used to be.”

One problem is that some people find the newest head restraint designs to be uncomfortable. Some of the common complaints from users at Automedia.com include this one from the owner of a Volkswagen Jetta: “The front headrest points so forward that I get neck pain after just a few miles of driving.” Then there’s this one from a Subaru owner: “Unless you enjoy your face aiming toward your crotch, you may not be able to find a comfortable position for the headrest or your head.”

One of the reasons for the above complaints is that, in order to get good reviews from the IIHS (many people check the IIHS’s ratings for vehicles before they purchase a car) and comply with the regulations established by the Federal Government for head restraints, auto manufacturers must provide head restraints that meet specific criteria. In particular, the head restraint must be no more than 2.2 inches from the driver’s head and it must be two or more inches higher than was previously required.

A head restraint can prevent whiplash only if it is as close to your head as possible when a collision happens. When hit from behind, your head snaps quickly backward, then forward, which causes the muscles and tendons in the neck to overstretch and tear. If the head can’t snap back very far, there is much less chance of an injury occurring.

Most head restraints adjust upward and downward, and some also tilt forward and back. The best position for a head restraint is one in which the head is as close to it as possible, ensuring it is no more than two inches away. The top of the head restraint should ideally be even with the top of your head and should never be any lower than your ears.

Taking just a little time and effort to position your head restraint correctly can save you a lot of pain and suffering if you have an auto accident injury. Your health and safety are worth it!

Visit one of our 6 locations for a consultation to address any back or neck pains you may be experiencing. Call the Southeastern Healthcare office most convenient to you for an appointment for your auto accident injury chiropractor! We also offer a FREE shuttle to and from the office if needed!

At Southeastern Healthcare, we are here to help! Call us at (910) 790-3666

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.

Most Common Auto Injuries Explained

Stationary Vehiclesauto accident injury Wilmington NC

Perhaps the most frequent injury involving automobiles comes from closing the door. Nearly 150,000 times a year, someone is injured in this fashion, and that’s with the car parked or stationary. This includes doors closing on fingers. Another 10,000 are injured by using a jack and 74,000 have been injured by a car or car part falling on them.

Moving Vehicles

But cars also move. Roughly one third of auto-related injuries occur due to an automobile striking someone, particularly pedestrians and bicyclists. Injuries can include anything from simple scrapes to multiple broken bones, dislocated vertebrae and damaged internal organs.

A Forbes magazine article noted that researchers from the US Department of Transportation “estimated an annual total of 1,747 fatalities and 841,000 injuries due to non-traffic crashes and non-crash incidents.” These included back-overs and single-car collisions not on a highway.

What Can Happen?

During a collision, passengers can be thrown about within the car, or be ejected from the vehicle (particularly if not wearing a seatbelt), causing significant injuries. One of the most serious of these is called traumatic brain injury (TBI). This is when the brain becomes bruised or otherwise injured. This can happen when the head is forced into rapid acceleration and/or deceleration from impact with other objects, such as a windshield, the body of the car or objects outside of the car. Such brain injuries can result in brain function impairment or even death.

Why You Need a Chiropractor for an Auto Accident Injury in Wilmington NC

Neck injuries include whiplash and vertebrae disk damage. These can result in a range of effects from persistent, long-term discomfort to debilitating pain and even immobility. Whiplash is perhaps the most common malady, which happens when the neck snaps quickly backward (during acceleration), then forward (during deceleration), causing hyperflexion and hyperextension of the cervical vertebrae. After an accident, the victim may be unaware of any damage, but may experience headaches or neck stiffness hours or days later.

A chiropractor can recognize this kind of damage using a variety of diagnostic tests with and can treat it with multiple adjustments, massage therapy and repetitive exercises performed by the patient at home. The chiropractor may even recommend a traction weight bag to help the neck return to its natural curve. Sometimes the damage is permanent, but treatment can reduce the discomfort and decrease in range of motion that might otherwise plague the patient.

Damage anywhere along the spine can occur during a car accident. This type of injury can range from mild to life-threatening. Dislocated vertebrae can result in excruciating pain that can lead to tight back muscles which intensify the problem. Physical therapy and chiropractic adjustments can help return the patient to health. Rehabilitative therapy can also include hot packs, massage, cold packs, traction, ultrasound, electrical stimulation and other methods.

Contact Southeastern Healthcare for an Auto Accident Injury Wilmington NC

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.

What’s the Difference Between an MD and a DC?

It’s important to know the basic differences between an MD (Medical Doctor) and a DC (Doctor of Chiropractic) so that you understand the unique role that each type of medical professional plays in helping you to maintain or regain your health.

Differences Between MDs and DCs

MDs and DCs are both licensed healthcare providers. They examine, diagnose and treat patients. However, most MDs have more hours of training in physiology, whereas DCs typically have more hours of anatomy training. Their methods of practice may help explain this difference in emphasis. DCs are experts in musculoskeletal health and general wellness. Like an MD, a DC will use diagnostic imaging, lab tests, clinical exams and questionnaires to determine a diagnosis, but the course of treatment will be different. MDs tend to prescribe pharmaceuticals and surgery to treat patients, whereas DCs use a more holistic approach involving a variety of hands-on treatments as well as advice on diet and exercise.

Office Visits

Office visits are also often quite different experiences. On a typical visit to an MD, you will likely be asked by a nurse or assistant to fill out paperwork and provide information about your condition. Then the MD will visit you, look at the information, perhaps perform a brief clinical examination, and quickly prescribe a treatment. In the course of doing this, most doctors will take only a small amount of time to understand your overall health picture. And treatment will usually involve drugs and/or medical procedures.

Relationships

It is not uncommon for patients to have a more personal relationship with their DC than with their MD. Visits to a DC also tend to be more involved. The chiropractor will speak with you at length about not only your physical symptoms, but your lifestyle habits as well. He or she will examine you, perform any necessary tests, discuss possible treatment options, and provide appropriate manual therapies. Together, these treatment methods are sometimes referred to as “physical medicine”.  These may include targeted spinal adjustments, therapeutic massage, disc decompression, laser therapy, electrical stimulation and hot and cold treatments as well as structured exercise and stretching programs. In addition, the chiropractor may also make specific suggestions about your nutrition, day-to-day environment and physical activity.

In general, musculoskeletal problems (particularly those related to back, neck and joint pain) are better treated by a DC. However, many chiropractors have also developed specialized expertise in other areas as well. DCs will refer you to an MD if they believe that diagnosing and treating your specific condition is beyond their scope of practice.

Looking for Back or Neck Pain Relief? Call Southeastern Today!

If you’re looking for a proven, non-invasive way for back or neck pain relief, Southeastern’s team of experienced chiropractors can help. We treat patients like you every single day. All it takes is one visit to discover for yourself the benefits of chiropractic care.

Stop living in pain; call Southeastern Healthcare today at 910-202-4341 to schedule an appointment with one of our experienced and caring Wilmington NC back pain chiropractors. We are here for you. With six locations throughout the Wilmington area, we have an office conveniently close to you.