Hidden Auto Accident Injuries

Advance Health Blog

Hidden Auto Accident Injuries

Chris Goetz - Thursday, January 21, 2016

These Auto Accident Injuries Do Not Always Reveal Themselves Immediately

Goetz with CaptionAuto accident injuries are not always immediately apparent. Part of the reason is the hormones and endorphins that the body produces during a stressful event like a car accident. These natural chemicals can make one unaware of the pain from their injuries and make them feel as if nothing is wrong. To further complicate matters, some injuries may not even show up on X-rays or MRI’s. For these reasons it is important to be aware of how your body feels for days and even weeks after an accident, paying attention for any pain and discomfort that reveals itself later.

Here are some of the most common types of injuries you could suffer in an auto accident that sometimes do not reveal themselves immediately:

  • Whiplash
  • Concussion
  • Spinal Injury
  • Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

Whiplash

Whiplash is a neck injury that is caused by a forceful and rapid back and forth movement of the neck. The name comes from the movement’s similarity to the cracking of a whip. It is most often seen occurring during auto accidents that involve a rear end collision. Whiplash is sometimes referred to as a neck strain or sprain, but there are other types of neck injuries that fall under those descriptions.

A victim of whiplash may experience neck pain, stiffness, numbness, and spasms as well as headaches and dizziness. Left untreated whiplash could develop into chronic neck pain. The reason this type of injury is not immediately recognized is because some of the symptoms may not appear for a few days and those symptoms can be mistaken as being caused by another type of injury.

Concussion

A concussion is categorized as a mild traumatic brain injury. It can be caused by a blow to the head as well as a violent shaking of the head or upper body. Most concussions are temporary and can be treated with rest. Concussions are often hidden injuries because most of the symptoms can be caused by other injuries. On some occasions concussions can cause loss of consciousness. Here are some of the symptoms that may point to a concussion:

  • Headaches
  • Memory Loss
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Irritability and mood swings
  • Fatigue
  • Loss of balance and coordination

Spinal Injury

One would think that a spinal injury is not likely to go unnoticed. In most cases that is true. However, facet syndrome is a type of spinal injury that could easily be mistaken for something else. Facet syndrome is the irritation of the joints on the back of the vertebrae. These joints are responsible for many of the twisting movements of the body. They can be impacted in an auto accident. Often the pain from facet syndrome is a dull ache which can easily be attributed to soreness from being in an auto accident. More serious symptoms could appear later and include chronic pain and loss of mobility.

In other cases spinal injury symptoms are simply confused for different injuries. Pain or numbness in the extremities, for example, is not uncommon.

Post-traumatic Stress Disorder

PTSD is a mental health condition that can be triggered by a stressful or frightening experience. It is not caused by an actual physical injury to the brain and is therefore not apparent immediately following an accident. Instead, the symptoms will develop over time and sometimes continue to worsen for weeks or months. Some common symptoms of PTSD include:

  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares

PTSD is treated with counseling or psychiatric care.

The reality is that you should see a doctor after being involved in any kind of auto accident, no matter how seemingly small. At Advance Health Services we work to heal accident victims every day. Our doctors and physical therapists employ a range of tests that could reveal hidden injuries before symptoms appear, allowing us to begin treatment right away. If you are involved in an accident call us to make an appointment.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.

Massage Therapy

Advance Health Blog

Massage Therapy

Chris Goetz - Tuesday, September 22, 2015

The Incredible Benefits of Massage Therapy

Goetz with CaptionMassage is more than just a relaxing indulgence. The use of massage therapy to treat pain and ailments is as old as civilization itself. It is among the oldest healing techniques still in use today. In the present day there are close to one hundred different massage modalities used throughout the world. It is recognized as one of the most powerful non-invasive therapies available to treat ailments like pain, fatigue, stress, poor circulation and a variety of other physical problems.

Massage therapy involves the application of pressure to, and the manipulation of, different parts of the body. Many massage therapists use several different techniques like tapping, stroking, kneading, friction, vibration, and compression during a single session. It all depends on the needs of the patient. At times, mechanical devices are used to supplement the therapist’s manual techniques. At Advance Health Services we encourage the use of massage for overall health and wellbeing. Its uses are many.

  • Stress Relief – This is probably what most people associate massage therapy with. A single massage can lower insulin and cortisol levels as well as one’s heart rate. Massage therapy has also been shown to reduce blood pressure.
  • Pain Relief – Neck and back pain are the most obvious conditions to benefit from massage, but it could be used to relieve pain throughout the body by relaxing tense muscles. Sufferers of chronic headaches and migraine can also benefit from massage therapy.
  • Relaxation – A good massage therapist can put a patient’s body and mind into a restful and relaxing state which can last well after the massage session is over.
  • Posture – This goes hand-in-hand with massage’s relaxation benefits. Tense muscles and muscle pain lead to poor posture. Massage works to combat that.
  • Increased Circulation – The pressure a massage therapist applies to the body encourages better blood flow which in turn increases the flow oxygen throughout the body.
  • Increased Flexibility – Massage promotes fluidity in the joints and increases range of motion. Greater flexibility decreases the change of injury.
  • Immune System – Massage naturally increases the body’s immune system.
  • Rehabilitation – For all of the reasons listed above, massage therapy plays a major role in many rehabilitation programs, especially were an injury has occurred.

If you suffer from any ailments, or just want to improve your overall health, consider giving massage therapy a try. It will likely provide benefits beyond those you are seeking. At Advance Health Services we employ massage therapists who are experts at various techniques which will provide tremendous health benefits. Call us today to schedule your massage session.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.

Herniated Discs

Advance Health Blog

Herniated Discs

Chris Goetz - Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Herniated Discs Can Affect the Back, Neck and Extremities

Goetz with CaptionOf all the injuries one can sustain in an automobile accident, a herniated disc in the spine is one of the most potentially serious. Left untreated a herniated disc can cause a lifetime of pain and disability. It is important to recognize the signs of a possible herniation after an accident, and to consult with a doctor if any of the symptoms occur. Luckily, there are effective treatments to treat a herniated spinal disc including non-surgical methods that can produce excellent results.

The vertebrae, or bones that make up the spine, are separated by the spinal discs, called intervertebral discs. These discs act as cushions between each of the several vertebrae allowing the spine to bend and move. A herniated or slipped disc happens when all or part of the disc protrudes from its place between the vertebrae. Very often the protruding disc comes in contact with one or more of the many nerves that branch out from the spine. This contact causes pain and other problems in the back and other parts of the body, depending on which disc and nerves are affected. The lower back, also called the lumbar area, is the most common site of herniated discs, but they can also occur in the neck, or cervical portion of the spine. Slipped discs in the thoracic, or middle part of the back, are rare.

Any of these symptoms following an auto accident may indicate the presence of a herniated lumbar disc:

  • Low back pain
  • Pain radiating to the hips, legs or buttocks
  • Pain in the calfs or feet
  • Numbness in any of these areas

A herniated cervical disc presents itself a little differently.

  • Pain in the shoulder blades
  • Pain radiating to the arms, hands or fingers
  • Pain when moving the neck
  • Numbness in the shoulders, arms, hands or fingers

Additionally, a herniated disc can cause weakness in the arms and legs. Patients who have suffered a slipped disc after an auto accident may have trouble performing common daily tasks. Pain from a herniated disc can worsen by sitting, standing or walking for prolonged periods of time, by coughing, sneezing or laughing. The pain is often worse at night.

Spinal Decompression Provides Effective Non-Invasive Treatment

There are many options for car accident treatment in Miami and for herniated discs including pain medication, physical therapy and surgery. A relatively new form of treatment that has provided excellent results is spinal decompression therapy. This treatment seeks to relieve pressure between vertebrae in order to allow the disc to recede to its normal position.

The DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Unit uses spinal decompression to painlessly and effectively repair herniated intervertebral discs. Through a slow and methodical separating of specific vertebrae, the DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Unit reduces the pressure being applied to the injured disc while simultaneously encouraging blood flow to the area. This release of pressure allows the disc to regain its proper shape and position over time, while the increased flow of oxygen rich blood helps the disc heal more rapidly.

The DRX9000 Spinal Decompression Unit applies computer controlled, gentle pulls to specific vertebrae to provide relief to the affected discs. The thirty to forty minute process is repeated two or three times a week, gradually relieving pain over time. However, some patients begin to experience pain relief after only one or two treatments. Contact us at Advance Health Services today to find out if you are a candidate for spinal decompression in Miami.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.

Whiplash

Advance Health Blog

Whiplash

Chris Goetz - Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Whiplash Injuries Respond Favorably to Physical Therapy

Goetz with CaptionThe term whiplash has often caused confusion because it is used interchangeably to describe the process which causes an injury and the pain caused by that injury. Whiplash is a traumatic event that causes the head to move suddenly, or extend, in one direction, usually past its normal range, and then back in the other direction, or flex, just as suddenly. This abrupt extension and flexion of the head beyond its usual range of motion can cause serious injury to the muscles, joints and the discs of the spine.

Whiplash happens most commonly when one automobile is struck from behind by another, but can also occur anytime an automobile comes to a violent stop by hitting something head-on. Suddenness is often a factor, finding victims unprepared for an impact and with their muscles relaxed, causing more intense force to be applied to the muscles, discs and joints. This relaxed state is the reason why whiplash can occur in a seemingly small accident. 

A whiplash injury manifests thru pain in the shoulders, neck or base of the skull. In most cases the ligaments in those areas have been strained and are inflamed and tender. The list of possible associated symptoms is long and their appearance is common:

  • Headaches
  • Shoulders, arms or back
  • Dizziness and fatigue
  • Blurry vision
  • Loss of concentration or memory
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Irritability or depression 

In the majority of cases, and with proper treatment, whiplash patients can expect a full recovery within four to six months of the date of the injury. Unfortunately, for about 20% of patients this is not the case. Chronic whiplash pain is often seen in older patients and those who had a history of neck pain or headaches before the whiplash injury. In addition, patients who experienced a rotation of the head in their whiplash incident are more likely to encounter chronic pain.

For years the treatment of whiplash injuries has included the use of a neck collar along with bed rest and immobilization of the neck. However, studies have shown that the collar may, in fact, prolong symptoms or even encourage the condition to become chronic. It is believed that keeping the area immobilized prevents blood from flowing there and hinders the body's natural healing process.

A regimen of physical therapy, exercise, medication and chiropractic is the most effective treatment plan available. Physical therapy can help alleviate associated pain and will reduce swelling and tenderness in the muscles. Exercise involves strengthening exercises. Range of motion exercises should be performed often and begin as soon as the condition allows. Range of motion exercises will encourage mobility and have been shown to allow for a more rapid recovery. These exercises should be performed several times an hour. Medications prescribed for whiplash injury treatments include pain medications and anti-inflammatories. Chiropractic is most effective when there has been movement of the spinal discs.

As with any immobilizing injury, patients may develop psychological symptoms such as anxiety, depression or anger about their condition. It is not uncommon for whiplash patients to receive psychological treatment in conjunction with their physical care. 

Although whiplash injuries can be quite serious and have a powerful impact on one's well being, it is important to remember that in most cases the patient will experience a full recovery. Diligence in keeping doctor and therapy appointments, as well as persistent exercise, will insure a rapid recovery.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.

Car Accident Injuries

Advance Health Blog

Car Accident Injuries

Chris Goetz - Friday, March 01, 2013

Beware: Car Accident Injuries May Not Be Immediately Apparent

Goetz with CaptionBeing involved in a car accident can be a frightening experience, and the aftermath can be disruptive to your life and health.  A number of issues could arise including vehicle repairs, loss of your primary mode of transportation, missed work, dealing with insurance companies and, of course, discomfort, pain or possibly a serious car accident injury. Even in the absence of an obvious injury, a victim of a motor vehicle accident could experience:

 

 

  • Upper and lower back pain
  • Neck pain
  • Whiplash
  • Shoulder pain
  • Numbness
  • Muscle stiffness
  • Brain injury
  • Chronic pain
  • Leg, knee and foot injuries
  • Headaches
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Memory loss
  • Fatigue

It's also possible to feel nothing at all. In some cases your own body may block the sensation of pain immediately following a stressful event. Another common pitfall is the fact that pain medications prescribed after an accident may mask underlying problems.

For these and other reasons it is important after any accident, no matter how minor it might seem, to be examined by and doctor that specializes in the treatment of injuries sustained from auto accidents. Once it has been determined that injuries are not life threatening, the next step should be a visit to a pain management clinic, a chiropractor or a physiatrist.

Without the right evaluation and treatment, the conditions listed above could surface weeks or months down the road.  Spinal injuries that go untreated will not heal correctly and could lead to future chronic pain and discomfort.

A doctor that specializes in pain management and physiotherapy is more familiar with the types of injuries that result from motor vehicle accidents, in particular those that the patient may not yet be aware of.  Through x-rays and other orthopedic and neurological tests, a pain specialist can determine if structural or soft tissue damage has occurred and if muscle strength, range of motion or nerve function have been compromised.

Even after a hospital visit, is it important to visit a doctor who will treat your injuries and guide you through rehabilitation. It is important to understand that a hospital will insure that injuries are not life threatening and possibly prescribe medication to manage pain. But medication is not treatment for underlying muscular-skeletal issues. Only through rehabilitative therapies such as chiropractic, massage, physiotherapy, electric stimulation, ultrasound, traction and other techniques  can structural and soft tissue damage be corrected. In some cases surgery may be an option.

Make sure to consider all of these issues after any accident. Most importantly, seek the advice of a health professional to insure your continued health and wellbeing.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.

Back and Neck Pain Treatment

Advance Health Blog

Back and Neck Pain Treatment

Chris Goetz - Monday, February 11, 2013

Back and Neck Pain Treatment Should Consider Severity and Cause

Goetz with CaptionMost people are familiar with back and neck pain in their own lives but may be surprised to learn that the two are among the most common reasons for doctor visits, and they are a major cause or disability, lost work and high healthcare costs.  About 80% of adults experience moderate to severe back pain at some time in their lives, and 50% suffer from neck pain.  Back and neck pain can be caused by a variety of conditions ranging from the life threatening, like heart attack or trauma, to the more benign, such as strains and sprains.

The neck and back contain many muscles, bones, nerves and veins.  The most common cause of pain is soft tissue injury to the muscles, tendons and ligaments.  Whiplash, which can be caused be a strike to the head, a fall, or an automobile accident, even a small one, is a type of injury caused by a sudden distorting extension of the neck muscles.  Other common causes are arthritis of the spine, degenerative disc disease and nerves pinched by a herniated disc.

Back and neck pain can lead to other debilitating conditions like stiffness, immobility, decrease of range of motion as well as headaches and pain radiating to other parts of the body.

In some instances back and neck pain is not severe and can be treated at home.  In those cases the methods below may be enough to alleviate the pain until the injury heals.

  • Resting the neck and back, moving them as little as possible followed, after a few days, by light exercise of the affected area.
  • Applying cold, usually from a plastic bag of ice, for 15 minutes every hour.
  • Medication such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen.

Severe or persistent back and neck pain, or worsening symptoms, should prompt a visit to the doctor’s office.  Also, if the source of the pain cannot be determined a doctor can rule out anything serious.  Often medical history and a physical examination are enough to diagnose the cause of back and neck pain.  If not, there are many tests that can be employed to localize an injury including x-ray, CT scan and MRI.

There are many back and neck pain treatment options available, and which are used depends on the severity and cause of the pain.

  • Massage therapy is among the oldest healing techniques, and still one of the most effective.  There are more than 80 forms of massage for treating different sorts of pains and ailments.
  • Ultrasound uses sound waves to create heat in the affected muscles.  This heat promotes blood flow and loosens muscles.
  • Electric muscle stimulation uses low currents to therapeutically stimulate muscles and nerves.
  • Traction is the use of mechanically created force to stretch and mobilize the spine.  It alleviates pain by stretching muscles that have suffered from spasm.
  • Chiropractic care involves manual therapy and manipulation of the spine.  It is particularly effective for treatment of back and neck pain.
  • Non-surgical spinal decompression is performed with a precision, computer controlled system called the DRX-9000.  It works at relieving pressure on nerves, and repositioning spinal discs to allow rehydration and oxygen and nutrients to be more easily absorbed.
  • Surgery, although considered a last resort, can be extremely effective in reversing back and neck pain.

Since most back and neck pain is caused by sprains or strains, one can expect to recover fully with proper care and treatment.  When dealing with back and neck pain it is important to bear in mind its severity and cause.  A carefully considered treatment plan is the best path to a quick recovery.

Dr. Chris Goetz was an offensive lineman with the San Diego Chargers and New York Jets from 1990-1992. Having seen the benefits of therapy as he recuperated from his NFL injuries, he decided to enroll in Chiropractic Medicine school and dedicate himself to bringing relief and wellness to others. He has been Owner/Director of Advance Health Services of Miami since 1999.