Additional Medical Specialists To See After a Car Accident
Neurologists can often be an important part of your post-accident treatment plan. Neurologists are highly trained medical professionals that specialize in diagnosing and treating conditions involving the entire nervous system. This can include issues with the brain, nerves, and spine.
It is not uncommon for certain injuries sustained during a collision to have delayed symptoms. These symptoms may not present themselves for days, weeks, or even a month after your accident. Often these delayed injuries can be neurological in nature which is why seeing a neurologist after a car accident can be so important.
Symptoms you should be wary of that could indicate a neurological issue following a accident include:
- Headaches or migraines
- Weakness or loss of motor function in an extremity
- Tingling or numbness in an extremity
Any symptoms you experience after a car accident should not be ignored no matter how insignificant they may appear at the time. Reporting these symptoms to your primary care physician or chiropractor quickly can help them refer you to a neurologist and get you the treatment you may need as soon as possible. It is important to remember that the longer you delay, the worse an injury could become.
Because of the seriousness of injuries that can occur during a car crash, your chiropractor or primary care physician may recommend you to an orthopedist. Orthopedic specialists may use surgical or nonsurgical methods to treat injuries to the musculoskeletal system. Common injuries sustained during car accidents that an orthopedists may be called upon to treat include:
- Herniated spinal discs
- Torn ligaments such as a torn ACL or MCL
- Hand, figner, foot, or toe fractures
- Fractured hip
- Tendonitis of the shoulder
- Broken ribs or clavicle
It should also be noted that you do not need a referral from your chiropractor or primary physician to see an orthopedic specialist. If you believe your injuries may require orthopedic care, it is best to seek out the help of an orthopedic specialist right away.
However, if you go to your primary care physician or your chiropractor for an initial diagnosis and they recommend a surgical treatment, you will typically be referred to an orthopedic surgeon. If your orthopedic surgeon agrees with the recommendation for surgical treatment, they can develop a treatment plan for you in collaboration with your other doctors.
Physiatrists are physicians who specialize in physical medicine and rehabilitation. They help develop treatment plans for patients to carry out with a physical therapist. Although not always necessary after a car accident, you may be referred to a physiatrist in order to help treat injuries such as:
- Muscle strains
- Spine or neck injuries
- Chronic headaches
- A sprain in an extremity
A physiatrist can play an important role in managing your rehabilitation. They will work closely with neurologists and orthopedists to help develop a comprehensive treatment plan for your specific needs following an accident. They can determine whether or not you are well enough to begin a physical therapy treatment.
Pain Management Specialist
As the name suggests, pain management specialists help car accident victims develop a plan for dealing with accident-related pain. You may be referred to a pain management specialist if your other health care providers believe your injuries will require an extended period of pain management.
In order to help treat and manage accident-related pain so that patients may continue living as comfortably as possible, pain management specialists might use the following treatment methods:
- Prescription pain medication
- Physical therapy
- Steroidal injections to treat inflammation
- Meditation and relaxation
- Therapeutic nerve blocks
- Injections into muscular trigger points
- Implanted pumps or stimulators
Your pain management specialist will work closely with your other physicians over the course of your recovery to provide a complete treatment plan. They may even refer you to a neurosurgeon or orthopedic surgeon if they believe surgery could help alleviate some of the pain symptoms you are experiencing.
Although not a physician, a physical therapist specializes in helping patients gradually recover range of motion, regain strength, and manage pain and inflammation due to physical injuries. Once your chiropractor, orthopedic surgeon, or primary care physician has diagnosed your symptoms and developed a treatment plan for you, a physical therapist will help you carry out that plan.
An important part of a physical therapist’s job is to make sure you do not overexert yourself during your recovery and worsen or aggravate your injury. Physical therapy has been shown to help reduce the recovery time patients require following neurological or orthopedic surgery due to an accident.
Any of the doctors listed above can help you following an accident. Even if they may not be the right doctor for your specific needs, these health care professionals will have a network of reliable specialists to address any injuries you may have suffered.
Other health care professionals you may consider visiting after a car crash include:
- Massage therapist
- Surgical specialist
Should You Go to Urgent Care After a Car Accident?
One question many people have in regards to a car crash is whether or not they should go to urgent care following an accident even if they do not feel hurt. The simple answer is yes. Car accidents flood the body with adrenaline and can leave you in a state of shock. Because of this you may be injured and not even realize until days later, but don’t wait to get medical help.
It is important to get evaluated for potential injuries within the first 72 hours following an accident even if you feel no pain or symptoms so that any injuries are documented and on record, and injuries you may not be aware of yet can be addressed before they become serious. Filing for a personal injury claim becomes trickier the longer you wait after an accident.
However, if you have sustained a serious injury during a car accident you should go to an emergency room as soon as possible. You should go to an emergency room instead of urgent care if you have suffered any of the following injuries during a collision:
- Major broken bones
- Severe burns
- Severe trauma
- Difficulty breathing
- Uncontrollable bleeding
If You’re Not In Immediate Pain, Should You Still See a Car Accident Doctor?
As mentioned above, it is important to see a car accident doctor quickly after an accident even if you are not in immediate pain. Often injuries suffered during a crash do not present symptoms right away. If these injuries are not medically documented shortly after a crash, you may have difficulties getting your personal injury claim approved through your insurance company.
You should not wait any longer than 72 hours to see a car accident doctor. Most insurance companies consider 72 hours a “reasonable” amount of time to seek medical attention after you have been in a crash. After 72 hours have expired, your insurance company could deny your claim, preventing you from getting the financial assistance you may require.
How Do You Get Checked Out After a Car Accident?
Being in a motor vehicle accident can certainly shake you up and leave you not thinking clearly. However, it is important to try and take as many detailed notes about the incident as you can for insurance purposes. If you do not need the immediate services of an emergency room, the next step you should take following an accident is to get medically checked out within three days of the accident.
But how should you go about getting checked out? The first step is to schedule an appointment to see a car accident doctor. You may want to see your primary care physician and that is perfectly alright. However, they may refer you to a specialist in diagnosing and treating car accident injuries such as a chiropractor.
By getting checked out quickly, you can attain documented proof of any injuries to help with a personal injury claim and be referred to the appropriate specialist to treat your injuries. The sooner your injuries are diagnosed, the sooner a treatment plan can be created and you can begin your path to recovery.