Top pain treatments for the first 72 hours after an auto accident
Last year in Arizona, there were more than 120,000 auto accidents, and 30 percent of those resulted in injury, according to Arizona Department of Transportation. This means that one person was injured every nine minutes over the course of the year.
If you’ve been in an auto accident, the first 72 hours can be the most critical in addressing any injuries. Even a small fender bender and result in a long-term injury that can be managed and reduced with fast response and careful preventative care.
Your car is fine, but did you take the impact?
Just because there is not much damage to the car, does not mean there cannot be a lot of damage to the occupant of the car. New cars are built with crumple zones to absorb the forces of the crash. When there is no crumpling of the vehicle the forces are directed to the occupants of the vehicle instead and can cause greater damage to the person.
As noted in a previous article, you may be experiencing pain in a delayed response after a seemingly low-impact auto accident. The truth is that auto accidents can have a long-term impact on your quality of life and even small accidents should be taken seriously.
The first 72 hours: What to pay attention to
The 72 hours following an injury is a pivotal stage in determining the long-term pain and effects of auto accident injuries. Identifying and taking steps to manage any signs of inflammation and reducing swelling is very important. Using ice and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs during this time can dramatically reduce scar tissue formation.
After those first 72 hours, it also becomes important to help facilitate the scar tissue process that results from an injury and make sure you promote a strong, flexible scar in the soft tissue that does not restrict range of motion. Scar tissue formation will be greatest in the first 30 days following an auto accident, but studies have shown that the tissue is continuing to remodel up to one year after an accident. Manual therapy, stretching and staying mobile are good ways to keep the scar tissue flexible and reduce the potential for long-term pain.
For more serious injuries, considering a treatment like Amniotic Allograft Injections that work with the regenerative potential of your own body, can help during this phase of healing.
Pain that occurs after the first 72 hours of an accident can impact your day-to-day life, and even seemingly small aches and pains can impair your quality of life.
Often times a “whiplash” injury affects the facet joints on the back of the spine. These joints, especially in the neck, can be forcefully closed during the whiplash which can injure the joint and cause chronic pain issues. While some symptoms of whiplash may correct themselves naturally, there can be ongoing symptoms from neck pain and stiffness, headaches, dizziness, blurred vision and fatigue. Using treatments like Meridian Branch Block, followed by Radiofrequency Ablation can relieve the symptoms for long-term relief.
Headaches are one of the largest problems reported with auto accidents and can develop several months to over a year after the accident as a result of the healing process gone bad without proper care. If you’re experiencing headaches immediately or even months after an accident, using Radiofrequency Ablation as a minimally invasive option can offer chronic pain relief. Occipital nerve blocks are also often used to treat these headaches with an injection of local anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory to reduce nerve swelling and the resulting tension headaches that come with it.
It’s not just your auto-body that deserves care and attention after an accident. Paying close attention to even small injuries and reacting accordingly will be essential to your long-term healing. Working with a qualified pain specialist after an accident to assess your risk and injuries is the most reliable to way to assure that you are going to set up for success after an accident. If you have concerns or are unsure what to do after an accident, set up a consultation with a pain management clinic to be proactive about your long term health.
Dr. Alex Bigham is the owner and CEO of Novocur Pain Management Clinics and has over 20 years of healthcare experience in private practice and Ambulatory Surgical Center settings. Novocur offers advanced treatment options in a concierge type practice without the concierge price tag. Dr. Bigham appears frequently on local TV and radio programs to discuss the latest in Pain Management or related health topics.
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