Should You See a Chiropractor After an Auto Accident?
Experienced Atlanta chiropractor speaks about auto accident injuries, treatment plans, tests used to diagnose injuries and working with other healthcare providers to give patients the very best care.
Every year, millions of Americans seek chiropractic treatment. Car wrecks are often the reason for these visits due to injuries like neck and back pain, headaches, and dizziness.
According to Harvard Health, ‘chiropractic‘ can be defined as “a system of therapy focused on the structure of the body, particularly the spine”. Chiropractors specifically manipulate the body’s alignment to relieve pain and improve function. Proper alignment of the body’s musculoskeletal structure, in theory, will allow the body to heal itself without surgery or medication.
HS Law recently sat down with Dr. Geoff Tanner, owner of Tanner Chiropractic, located in Dunwoody, Georgia. Dr. Tanner is a third-generation chiropractor and native of Atlanta, earning his degrees from the University of Georgia and Life Chiropractic University. Although he is an expert in identifying and treating injuries after a car accident, he also specializes in atlas adjustments, full spinal adjustments, extremity adjustments, and acupuncture.
When asked how frequently he treats car accident victims, he replied, “Every day! I’ve had my own private practice since 2001, so with the Atlanta traffic and daily commuters, it’s unfortunately hard for our patients to avoid car accidents.”
From seeking spinal healing and correction after an auto injury to payment options and a comprehensive treatment plan, Dr. Tanner chats with HS Law about a typical chiropractic experience.
Seeking treatment after a car accident
HS Law: Why is chiropractic treatment necessary after a person suffers an injury?
Dr. Tanner: It’s important to get checked by a chiropractor after an injury to make sure you haven’t suffered any short or long-term damage. With injuries such as a car accident, there is a possibility of broken bones or injury to soft tissue – such as muscles, tendons, and ligaments (the rubber bands that hold everything together). Such injuries lead to inflammation, tightness, soreness, and pain.
HS Law: May people assume that if they don’t have health insurance, seeing a doctor will be too expensive. What are some options for people injured in a car accident that do not have health insurance?
Dr. Tanner: There are two options – medical payment coverage and attorney liens. Medical payment is a part of your own auto insurance that pays for your health care immediately following an auto accident. If our patients don’t have medical payment coverage on their auto insurance policies, we can treat them immediately with an attorney lien. This lien is a written agreement between the patient, attorney, and doctor that guarantees payment once the case has been settled.
Both medical payment coverage and attorney liens allow our patients to receive the necessary care without having to pay out of their own pocket and get back to a normal, pain-free life.
Types of Treatment
HS Law: What types of conditions do you treat at your office and what is a “soft tissue” injury?
Dr. Tanner: We frequently see neck and back pain, headaches and dizziness, pain that shoots down your arms and legs, and extremity pain (such as shoulder, arm and/or hip, leg pain). It’s hard to be involved in an auto accident and not have some sort of “soft tissue” injury where the muscles, tendons, and ligament get inflamed, strained, and even torn. Common types of car accident injuries include bulging discs, herniated discs, whiplash, broken ribs, and internal bleeding.
HS Law: How long does treatment typically last for most patients?
Dr. Tanner: After an auto accident, most cases take between 18-20 visits. These visits are spread out over time, as we need to make sure the pain and condition don’t return. There are several factors, though, that can extend or change treatment plans. Occupational stresses such as manual labor, sitting at a computer, and travel can complicate and extend the recovery time. Also, if the patient doesn’t respond as expected, we will change the treatment plan by either increasing the consistency of care or adding other healthcare providers to the mix – like orthopedic care, physical therapy, and massage therapy.
Determining Treatment Plan
HS Law: What types of tests do you use to diagnose injuries?
Dr. Tanner: I always start with a physical evaluation that focuses on areas of pain, then muscle testing and orthopedic testing. The next step is X-ray, which shows the bones and hard tissue and is used to confirm no broken bones. It also shows the position of the skeletal system after the accident. If the evaluation leads to possible soft tissue damage, then I refer out for an MRI that shows all the muscles, tendons and ligaments, and any possible strain and/or tear.
HS Law: Do you work with other healthcare providers?
Dr. Tanner: I absolutely work with other healthcare providers. I’ve always said I’m a piece of the pie…not the whole pie. Depending on the severity of the injury, it’s important to get a proper orthopedic evaluation for possible fracture or dislocation and physical therapy for treatments such as ultrasound, dry needling and spinal traction, and massage therapy for muscle tension and trigger points. There are many areas of healing that are outside my scope of practice and this is why I surround myself with a great referral network so our patients get the best care from trusted sources.
HS Law has partnered with Dr. Tanner on a number of cases with the ultimate goal of helping people recover financially and live an injury-free life after a car accident. If you have been in an auto accident and suffer from soft tissue injuries, consider contacting HS Law. The first consultation is free. Click here to schedule your free case consultation with HS Law.
Want to learn more?
What To Do Immediately After a Car Accident?
Medical Care and Gathering Evidence Following a Car Accident
Navigating the Insurance Claims Process Following a Car Accident