Personal Injuries and the Damage Not Seen

Woman with Neck Pain

Often the worst type of pain isn’t visible and effects the soft tissue around bones and ligaments where the injury occured.


It’s a telling statistic: although chiropractic care still represents less than five percent of the entire United States healthcare pie, chiropractors by far treat more personal injuries than any other medical specialty. They treat 33 percent of all car accident victims, who are likely to suffer musculoskeletal injuries such as whiplash or cervical, thoracic, and lumbar strain/sprains.

Personal injuries also include slipping and falling on a wet floor, getting hurt playing sports or during a DIY project at home, or even a fist fight.

What all personal injury victims have in common is pain. Ironically, while broken bones can be visually alarming and put someone out of commission for a few weeks, it’s the invisible tissue damage that can lead to a life of chronic pain if not treated promptly and correctly after a car accident or other personal injury.

Most chiropractors will provide a full battery of tests to accurately diagnose a patient’s injuries. These include physical, neurological, and orthopedic examinations; lab tests; X-rays; posture analysis; and a thorough review of their medical history.

If it is determined that the symptoms are associated with the musculoskeletal system, a treatment plan is likely to include spinal adjustments and may also include therapeutic massage, physical therapy, and even acupuncture. Many chiropractors promote an overall wellness regimen, which will include advice on nutrition, stress relievers, and exercise programs, all of which can help minimize the chances of soft-tissue damage from becoming a chronic condition.

Traditionally, it was not possible to definitively diagnose soft tissue damage because doctors and chiropractors could not see it on X-rays. They were forced to rely on anecdotal evidence and the patient’s stated symptoms. That opened the door to potential fraud. As a result, insurance companies were extremely resistant to accept the patient’s word, which led to drawn out fights over coverage. Technology has been a game-changer. Modern digital imaging machines can lead to definitive diagnoses and can help your chiropractic practitioner develop a personalized treatment plan based on your specific injuries.

That said, insurance companies still scrutinize personal injuries claims so it is important to always get checked out immediately after a fall or even a minor collision. If there is any soft tissue damage, it will make it easier to get your claim paid. If you wait too long, the insurance company can claim the injuries might have been caused elsewhere.

The upside to that is lower cost to patients, better long-term managed care, and less reliance of prescription drugs.

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