One of the most common things I treat in my practice is pain. That is pretty common as an Acupuncturist because pain is one of the things that Acupuncture has been widely researched to treat successfully, though it is far from all we can do. Interestingly, a significant portion of the pain and arthritis I treat is EXACTLY in the area of an injury 10-15 years before. To me, this speaks to mild injuries left untended and surprisingly, mild auto accidents are the culprit of much more than we realize in the moment.
SO the question becomes - if you’re in an auto accident and have mild (or major, frankly) whiplash, back pain or headaches, what can you do to resolve the immediate pain, return to function and PREVENT lasting pain and complications? Sans drugs and surgery, you know, if you're not into that stuff.
Here are three easy actionable steps I’ve put together based on my medicine and experience that you or someone you love can take immediately to help your body restore and repair as quickly and successfully as possible:
Three Easy Steps to Kick Pain To The Curb
I’m keeping it short and sweet today because more than anything, I want you to act if you have an accident or injury! Not waste time reading all the (wonderful, of course!) things I have to say. If you want to know more about back pain after a car accident or whiplash and what to do, please search through my blog for more information using the search bar at the top or contact me. You can comment in the comments section below or email me using the contact form HERE. You can also book in for an appointment or a free consult online anytime - I’d be overjoyed to see you or answer your questions with a phone consultation!
Until next time, thanks for tuning in!
I often send patients to WebMD if they want a relatively reliable perspective from “Dr. Google” on an injury or illness as they seek to be proactive in their care (yay!). As I was reviewing some of their information on whiplash, I was very surprised to read that from a Western research perspective, the two most important indicators of recovery from neck pain after a car accident, are pain level on a scale of 1-10 at 3 weeks past injury and a patient’s expectations of recovery.
Did you know that patients who expect to recover fully are 4 times more likely to do so than patients who do not according to over a dozen research studies? Fascinating.
The reality of these findings does not surprise me, however - research confirming them and being published on WebMD does! I often tell my patients that even if they feel fine, they should come in for treatment immediately after any car accident and continue for at least a month because in private practice, I have always found that the worst pain from a car accident hits between the 10-15 day mark. This is often unexpected for the patient, but reliable to me as the practitioner.
Inspired by this article, however, here is how I believe Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine can help you whip the whiplash for good and help you, and those you love, ensure that you are in the group of people who fully expect to recover and therefore do!
Whiplash - Why Acupuncture?
Whiplash is a horrible experience. The neck pain, stiffness, headaches, impact on your home and work life - you don’t fully realize all the things that a pain-free neck allows you to do until you have a painful one. When even washing your hair or putting on a shirt hurts, it becomes rather eye opening.
Acupuncture as part of Chinese Medicine is an excellent treatment for whiplash and car accident pain for a whole host of reasons. Here is the short list:
In short - Acupuncture is part of Chinese Medicine which includes Chinese bodywork therapies. Typically, when treating whiplash or any car accident pain or injury, Acupuncture is combined with Cupping, Gua Sha, Tuina and heat therapies such as Moxa or a heat lamp to treat the injury from as many angles as possible towards generating effective and efficient pain reduction and functional improvement. Truly, an arsenal of modalities are available and a competent practitioner will use as many as possible to help you feel better fast and maintain that feeling long term!
Whiplash - How to Whip it for Good!
Okay - Acupuncture is good for pain, whiplash included. How do we use it to its best ability to make sure that the collective “we” are in that upper eschalon that rates their pain low at the 3 week mark and believes they are going to recover fully? It goes right back to the first statement I made at the beginning of this article: GET IN IMMEDIATELY.
There is no such thing as too much Acupuncture. Traditionally in China you would come in for 10 treatments in 10 days and then reassess for any illness or injury. Furthermore, you would continue getting regular “maintenance” treatments for general health and wellness every month, so even if you are perfectly fine Acupuncture is good to help you prevent colds and flus, reduce stress and manage pain. So when you are injured, there is no reason not to come right away - even if you aren’t experiencing a highly increased level of pain immediately after an accident.
If you experience the “whiplash wave” motion, there is a chance whiplash pain could hit anywhere from 10 days to 2 weeks after the accident - be proactive and come in for treatment as soon as possible after a car accident, and continue weekly for at least one month. By getting ahead of any possible pain that might settle into your body post treatment, you will be highly likely to be part of that group that (A) experiences a low level of pain at the 3 week mark and (B) believes they can make a full recovery because hey, if you’ve been coming in for treatment this whole time, by 3 weeks you should be a long way towards recovery already!
As you’ll already be well on your way and be in the hands of an experienced provider, you will be in an excellent position for your whiplash to truly be a thing of the past in a reasonable period of time! I also strongly advocate for all my motor vehicle accident patients to pursue Physical Therapy in conjunction with Acupuncture because they make such an excellent tandem treatment. The Acupuncture helps to reduce the pain of the injury and the pain sometimes associated with working through constricture and injury with a PT, meaning that recovery on all fronts goes that much faster and lasts that much longer!
In a Car Accident? Book in immediately!
So if you or someone you love has been in a car accident, book in immediately! I generally prefer to see my car accident pain patients for 90 minute sessions because it gives us more time to incorporate cupping, gua sha and Tuina massage techniques - and your PIP insurance will cover the treatments 100%, so if time allows it is worthwhile to do 90 minute sessions for at least the first 3 weeks if not 4. If time doesn’t allow, however, that is just fine - all treatment will do its work to help you recover on many levels at much faster rate than going it alone or pursuing Acupuncture-free recovery.
If you have questions or want to know more please don’t hesitate to call or email me any time. You can book online 24/7 and if you’re in an accident, you should book it for the first appointment available of any length you can find. Faster treatment = faster recovery, I guarantee!
Until next time,
If you’ve ever been in a car accident you know how traumatic they can be. Even a relatively minor auto accident is shocking to the system. This shock can take 10-14 days to wear off, actually, and often times even if you walk away from a car accident feeling okay, after a week or two the back pain and the whiplash we typically associate with auto accidents makes itself known. This is what prompts us to seek Acupuncture for auto accident recovery, or Chiropractic and Physical Therapy.
What many people don’t realize is that car accidents often cause more subtle effects that can last beyond the typical treatment and claim cycle. In particular, headaches and insomnia.
Headaches and Insomnia After a Car Accident
Headaches are relatively common and can be part and parcel with whiplash and neck pain after an auto accident. Treatment for headache is a typical part of car accident treatment, but often times the immediate neck pain related headache can give way to a dull recurrent ache that feels reluctant to disperse. Subtle, recurring and annoying, it can feel like background noise to your life that just doesn’t want to go away. In the worst case scenario, migraines can ensue and become long lasting and intractable.
Insomnia can also come on insidiously after an auto accident. At first it is hard to sleep due to the pain, and then after the majority of the pain is relieved sleep will improve, but often sleep difficulties can return 6 to 12 months later. Difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep are both common, as are lucid dreams that make you feel less than rested. I personally feel like true insomnia is one of the most difficult symptoms to experience - feeling continuously tired, on edge, sluggish and dull can make every aspect of life from work to personal enjoyment difficult.
Acupuncture for Auto Accident Recovery
Acupuncture is an excellent choice for auto accident recovery and offers hope for both the immediate and subtle effects of a car accident. In Acupuncture for car accident treatment, many of these subtle effects can be headed off at the pass - since Acupuncture is a holistic treatment that cannot completely divorce symptoms from underlying causes, be they immediate or long term, we often see not only reduction in pain and an increase in physical relaxation, but also improvements in
Addressing these things together and immediately as part of auto accident treatment can decrease the likelihood of the more subtle effects of a car accident to rear their ugly heads.
Even if you do not seek Acupuncture treatment until long after an auto accident, Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine together can offer relief for these symptoms by addressing the body holistically from both a physical and energetic perspective.
Want to Know More? Ask Rebecca.
I have been on the receiving end and giving end of auto accident treatment and I can tell you, that few modalities encompass the whole of the car accident recovery picture as well as Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. It can treat the body, the mind, the spirit, the emotions, even help to balance your hormones and your blood flow, addressing many aspects of car accident treatment which can be complex based on many factors.
If you’re curious about knowing more, you can comment here and I’ll respond as quick as I can. Remember that for supplementation, acupuncture, general health or facial rejuvenation questions you can always book a free consult or a full acupuncture session online. Thanks for tuning in!
Until next time,
Car accidents, whether minor or severe, put significant force and tension through the body. Something as simple as looking straight versus looking right or left when you are hit can be the difference between minor whiplash and severe pain leading to months of migraine headaches. No matter the force or position, its a smart move to get acupuncture treatment immediately to resolve any pain or tension quickly and efficiently, and to lay the groundwork for a successful long term recovery.
Furthermore, you actually have a right to acupuncture for auto accident treatment without a referral regardless of your regular health insurance coverage. Your Personal Injury Protection or PIP coverage through your auto insurance will cover up to $15,000 in medical treatment in Oregon, $10,000 in Washington. Acupuncture, Massage and Physical Therapy are all included. If you live outside Oregon or Washington, check with your state transportation department or with your specific insurer to verify benefits.
Show Up, Get Treatment, Get Better;
At All Ways Well, Rebecca excels in billing insurance for car accident treatment. You know how some people like to say or imply that they “wrote the book” on things sometimes? Well… I actually did. I have been successfully billing insurance and instructing other Acupuncturists in billing insurance since 2006, and in 2010 I actually wrote a book about it!
Auto accident acupuncture insurance coverage is a little different from standard health insurance coverage, and I am well familiar with the process including:
Early Treatment = Early Recovery; A Cautionary Tale
I had a patient this week who was experiencing back and neck pain that had been creeping up with increased activity and age. The locations of the pain were pinpoint specific areas that had been injured in a minor car accident 20 years before. She’d been in her early 20’s at the time, the injuries were minor and seemed take care of themselves without treatment, but now the pain is back and it surprised her. As she’s aging and trying to maintain her health with exercise, these areas are making themselves known.
This is a common story - a minor accident years before, aging sets in, old injuries start to ache. Osteoarthritis, afterall, is degeneration in areas that have experienced more wear and tear over time. Even minor car accidents can predispose certain spots to inflammation and pain when not treated early and aggressively.
Acupuncture is an ideal tool to employ in successful and lasting auto accident recovery. It is gentle, effective, works on both energetic and physical levels including directly affecting muscles, fascia, tendons, ligaments and joints and is proven to increase endorphin release reducing pain, and cause the body to release natural anti-inflammatories.
Have questions? Want to know more about auto accident treatment? Click here to read a testimonial from a recent car accident patient, or HERE to book an appointment or consultation now. Its never too early or too late to pursue treatment head off the short and long term affects of auto accident injuries.
Until next time,
According to the Oregon Department of Transportation there were 49,798 car accidents reported in 2012 and 36,085 people were injured in those accidents. That is an average of 136 crashes PER DAY in Oregon alone! And did you know that the highest incidents of crashes occurred on Fridays and in October? [Note to self; try not to drive on Fridays in October!]
All levity aside, a car accident is no joke, as the 36,000 injured people in 2012 can attest. The force of impact that the body is made to endure in even a minor car accident causes a ripple effect of muscular tension which can result in whiplash, headache, back pain, decreased range of motion and sciatica to name just a few.
None of these things should be left untreated and the sooner you get in for treatment, the sooner you can head off pain and injury in the early stages and avoid major problems down the line. Some of these effects such as whiplash are immediate, but others occur due to compensation over time and the best remedy is to get treatment early - within the first two weeks of an accident ideally.
Acupuncture for auto accident recovery is highly effective, and if you combine acupuncture with Physical Therapy and Massage your recovery is expedited even more.
Acupuncture by itself gives great hope for recovery. It can:
Testimonial from an Auto Accident Treatment Patient
After my auto accident, my pain levels made it hard for me to both concentrate and to physically sit long enough to do my work. My acupuncture treatments with Rebecca were and continue to be a critical part of my recovery from the accident, as they provided immediate relief for the acute pain and gave me three or four days of respite from it after treatment. Of all the healing modalities I tried - massage therapy, chiropractic treatment, physical therapy, and acupuncture - acupuncture proved to be the one that was the best at keeping pain to manageable levels, thus allowing me to get back to the work I love doing.
Combining Modalities in Car Accident Treatment Gives Best Results
Massage or foot reflexology is something I add into all of my acupuncture treatments for at least 5-10 minutes, but I encourage all patients who come in for auto accident treatment to come in for 90 minute acupuncture + massage sessions so we have more time to spend on bodywork (massage). It helps that if you have an auto accident in Oregon, acupuncture and massage are covered 100% by your auto insurance without a referral!
I often incorporate Cupping and Gua Sha - traditional Chinese myofascial release techniques to relieve pain and stagnation - into car accident treatments as well. This too, I find, helps patients recover faster after an auto accident or MVA (motor vehicle accident) by helping the body relieve tension and flush out toxins that may be associated with tense guarded muscles.
Lastly I always recommend patients see a Physical Therapist as part of their car accident treatment plan, because while acupuncture can help balance the body, reduce and often completely relieve pain from whiplash, headache, back spasm, sciatica and certainly helps to increase range of motion, it can’t assess your posture or potential repetitive motion injury sources in your daily life that could aggravate your pain and delay healing.
In my experience as both a motor vehicle accident treatment patient AND a provider, no one is a better mechanic for the body than a Physical Therapist, and when you combine the pain relief and Qi balancing of Acupuncture and massage, with the mechanical reprogramming of physical therapy exercise, your results are quick and long lasting.
The most important message here is that no matter what you do, get treatment early. Ideally within those first two weeks of having a car accident. Sometimes it takes 10-14 days for the full effects of a car accident to “wear in” to the body, so if you can get in before your body really sets into the pain, you have a much better chance of heading it off and avoiding the worst effects the injury has to offer.
If you have questions please don’t hesitate to contact me via email or book a free consultation anytime. If you’ve had a car accident and are looking for treatment, please book in for a new patient 90 minute appointment so we can assess your situation and we will take it from there! I have excellent Physical Therapists in SW, SE and downtown that I refer to for auto accidents regularly and I would be honored to help coordinate your care.
Until next time,
Rebecca M H Kitzerow is a Licensed Acupuncturist practicing in La Center, Washington. With over a decade of experience she has won 10 Nattie consumer choice awards from Natural Awakenings Magazine since 2014.