Treatment After Auto Accidents

guy holding neck after auto accidentHouston Chiropractor Comments: Unfortunately there are more than 6 million auto accidents every year. Of these 6 million accidents, 40,000 people will be killed and 2 million will have some form of permanent injuries. The most important aspect of treatment is being seen by a doctor who regularly treats these types of injuries. The best treatment is knowing what to do and, just as important, knowing what not to do.


The best treatment is to begin with what is called “passive” therapy. These are therapies that are done to you and don’t require a doctor or therapist in attendance. This would be things such as ice, electrical stimulation or manual traction. These treatments are rendered to help reduce inflammation, ease muscle spasms and help minimize your pain. This type of care will typically be used for the first week or two before the patient is transitioned to the second type of care, called “active” care. Active care is care that is done with the assistance of a doctor or therapist.  This would include therapeutic exercises, massage, mobilization, rehabilitative exercises, cold laser or ultrasound. These are usually done for the next two to 6 weeks to strengthen the muscles and minimize scar tissue. At the end of care the patient should be given home care exercises and stretches to help prevent any re-occurrences of pain and give them the tools to maintain their corrections.


What not to do is just as important. The patient should not be told that all accidents lead to permanent pain or that they will be disabled for life. The patient should be told that pain after an accident is normal, but it will go away. The patient should not be told to put heat on the painful area as this will only increase the swelling around the damaged tissue. The patient should not have an MRI performed during the first couple weeks unless they are having bowel or bladder issues. It is quite common to have referred pain down the arms or legs that are not related to any disc damage. This pain will typically go away in 1-2 weeks with the correct treatment. Often patients will get an MRI of the neck or low back that shows a bulging or protruding disc and the doctor will tell the patient that it was caused by the accident and that they need spinal injections or surgery. Unfortunately, these discs are quite common and found in large portions of the population that don’t have back pain or were not involved in an accident. The patient now thinks that he/she is permanently injured with a “blown disc” and they limit their activities and become “mental cripples”. Too scared to do any activities for fear the pain will return.


After being a doctor of chiropractic for 30 years and treating approximately 10,000 patients, I have found that with the proper treatment most patients involved in auto accidents are symptom free after 2 to 8 weeks. If they are given the correct home based exercises and stretches to perform after they are discharged, and they do them, they rarely have any future problems associated with the accident. It is a matter of the proper treatment and having the patient’s best interest at heart.


Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!


The Benefits of Chiropractic Care After an Auto Accident.

driver suffering from whiplash after traffic collision

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: Unfortunately 20 – 50 million people a year are injured or disabled in auto accidents. The majority of these injuries are what is called “soft tissue” injuries. Soft tissue injuries are injuries that occur to muscles, tendons & ligaments, not hard tissues like bones.

After an accident, one of two things will happen. The accident is either severe enough that you are taken by an ambulance to the hospital to treat your injuries or you will go home to see if your discomfort gets better. If you go to the hospital, when you are released from the hospital you will be told to follow up with a doctor. If you go home to wait and see if the discomfort will go away, give it a couple days for the pain to go away. If the pain is still persisting after 2-3 days, then you should have a doctor look at your spine to see what has occurred.

The type of doctor you see will determine what type of care you receive and the long term results you will get. If you go to your average medical doctor, he will treat you with medications and if that doesn’t work, then refer you out for physical therapy. If you go to a spine doctor, either an orthopedic or neurosurgeon, then they will typically order an MRI to see if you need surgery or epidural spinal injections (ESI’s). The best doctor to see is an experienced chiropractor. Chiropractors see musculoskeletal injuries every day. Because they see a variety of spinal and extremity (knee, shoulder, wrist, elbow and ankle) complaints on a regular basis, they are able to see injuries that are not obvious to doctors that don’t regularly treat them. A quality doctor of chiropractic has a variety of techniques and therapies to help reduce the inflammation quickly and minimize the formation of scar tissue. By minimizing your need for drugs, you can understand how you are truly healing and prevent the chance of injuring yourself by possibly being over medicated. Medications can also have adverse side effects that lead to other problems. A good chiropractor will also give you home based exercises and stretches to help increase your range of motion (ROM). These exercises and stretches will help you quickly return to how you were before the accident.

If your doctor of chiropractic does not see an improvement in your complaints in 2 -4 weeks, he or she can order an MRI or make the appropriate referral to another doctor to help co-manage your condition.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!

The Body & Mind and Connection of Whiplash?

Clear Lake Chiropractor

Clear Lake Chiropractor Comments: The term “whiplash” refers to an injury to the neck muscles, the muscle attachments (tendons), ligaments, and sometimes the disks that lie between the vertebral bodies of the spine.  In a rear-end collision, the cause of whiplash occurs from a sudden, rapid acceleration of the body and neck as the car is pushed forwards.  In these first moments following impact, the head remains in the same place while the body is propelled forward.  This is followed by a “crack-the-whip” movement of the head and neck when the muscles in the front of the neck stretch like rubber bands and suddenly spring the head forwards, all occurring in less than 1 second.  The force on the head and neck is further intensified if the seat back is too springy, or angled back too far.  Also, if the headrest is too low, the head may ride over the top and more injury can result.

Treatment of whiplash

Neck x-ray flickr photo by TSayles shared under a Creative Commons (BY-SA) license

The treatment of whiplash varies from “watchful waiting” to a multidisciplinary team approach that includes neurology, physical therapy, chiropractic, psychology, and possibly surgery (rare).  In an article published in the American Journal of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, the relationship between clinical, psychological and functional health status factors was investigated in a group of patients with chronic whiplash-associated disorder (WAD).  A total of 86 patients with chronic WAD participated in the study and outcomes were tracked using questionnaires that measure pain, disability and psychological issues including depression, anxiety and catastrophizing.  Physical examination factors included measuring the cervical range of motion.  An analysis of the degree of neck disability and the relative contribution of physical vs. psychological factors revealed catastrophizing and depression played greater roles than did cervical range of motion.  This suggests psychological factors play an important role in the outcome of whiplash.

Finding a Chirpractor

The importance of this is that more than just the physical factors like range of motion should be focused on when treating chronic whiplash patients.  Answering the patient’s questions, explaining the mechanism of injury and how that relates to their specific condition, and addressing depression, anxiety, coping, and other psychological issues is very important. Discussing treatment goals with patients is also very important.  For example, making light of the injury by stating something like, “…you’ll be fine after the treatments,” may harm the patient as anything short of “fine” may be interpreted as failed treatment by the patient.  It is also important not to paint too dismal of a picture as that can have negative psychological effects as well, as this may suggest that they will never improve.  Explaining the difference between “hurt” and “harm” is of great value to the chronic whiplash patient as they are often told, “if it hurts, don’t do it.”  This sends an unfortunate message to the patient that any activity where an increase in pain occurs is “bad” when in fact, that activity may help the patient get better in the long run.  This can make or break an acceptable outcome as many may feel like they shouldn’t do anything and this can lead to unemployment, boredom, and the many psychological issues previously described.  The best advice is to remain active and try to ignore discomfort by staying within “reasonable activity boundaries.” Reasonable activity tolerance is learned as time passes and trying different activities for different lengths of time.  This type of coaching should be at the center of chronic whiplash management rather than over focusing on physical factors such as range of motion. If you would like to know more about whiplash or would like treatment, please contact your Houston chiropractor, Beecher Chiropractic!

Car Accident Insurance: Are You Covered?

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Houston Area Chiropractor Comments: Most states require drivers to carry various types of insurance to protect themselves as well as others who may be involved in an unfortunate accident. Drivers, and the banks that may carry the car’s loan, generally think of the vehicle first when deciding on appropriate coverage. While it’s difficult to think about, you need to also consider injuries to you and your passengers, and potentially other drivers and passengers, should you be determined to be at fault. Some drivers also carry medical insurance (med pay) or personal injury protection (PIP), which can be accessed for care in the event of an accident.Car Accident Insurance

Some items to consider are that vehicle repairs can be quite costly, as can health care. If you are the cause of a multi vehicle accident, minimal amounts of insurance may not cover the costs of repairs for expensive new vehicles. In terms of health care, an ambulance ride with minimal interventions could cost $1000-$1,500 dollars. If you spend a few hours or a day in an emergency room, this could run into the thousands, especially if advanced imaging such as MRI or CT scans are needed. This is just the beginning of your evaluation in a severe accident. Then, there are the costs of care over perhaps months, disability from being able to work and other costs. If a few passengers are involved, the costs can soar.

It’s important to discuss these issues with your insurance agent. Is your med pay / PIP adequate? Sometimes med pay premiums are a cost-effective way to get some additional piece of mind. A $1,000.00 med pay allowance will not last long in today’s health care environment.  Clear lake chiropractor care, while very cost effective compared to medicine or surgery, can still run into the thousands if severe injuries have resulted from the accident. You may also need to consider uninsured and underinsured coverage should another driver be at fault and not adequately insured.

If you’ve been involved in an accident, our clinic can assist you in getting well. Most patients have a lot of questions about how chiropractic care works and the treatment techniques used in our office. It’s important to get evaluated right after an injury to get you feeling well as soon as possible. Doing self-care when the trauma is substantial can lead to more problems if a serious injury is not discovered.

Dr. Ward Beecher practices at Beecher Chiropractic Clinic at 1001 Pineloch, Ste 700 Houston, TX 77062. You can schedule an appointment at or by calling (281) 286-1300. If you have any questions regarding this blog, please comment below!